7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
In the previous verse Jesus warned the apostles that there would be consequences if they did not keep their connection or fellowship with Him. In this verse He reiterated what it means to maintain fellowship with Jesus. One consequence is a vital prayer life.
Verse 7 moves from fruit bearing to prayer. The condition of prevailing prayer is to abide in Christ.
7 If you abide in Me,
Those who genuinely abide in Christ and His words or teaching will pray properly—that is, in God’s will. The first condition to the promise of answered prayer is to “abide in Me” or to keep fellowship with the Lord active.
and My words [teaching by utterances] abide in you,
The second condition for answered prayer is to let the words of our Lord abide in us. Jesus changed the idea of abiding in Him to abiding in His words in this phrase (Jn 14:21,23). Praying with the “words” of Christ “abiding” in us keeps the prayer conformed to the will of God. Jesus’ disciples needed to absorb His teaching to pray properly.
The plural of “words” may indicate many principles the Lord taught in His public ministry. The words of Christ that “abide” in the believer are the principles that constantly grip our souls. This is no sporadic or occasional exercise of God’s word in our lives.
you will ask what you desire,
God answers prayers that conform to Jesus’ words. His words will regulate our requests. We can be sure of that.
and it shall be done for you.
Genuine believers can pray effectively (1 Jn 5:14-15). Authentic prayer enjoins harmony between our wishes and the teaching of Christ, making them consistent with the will of God.
God answers prayer consistent with His will.
People draw many false conclusions from Jesus’ words in this verse. Many unworthy claims on prayer have been drawn. Some believe that if they ask anything at any time, then God is obligated to answer their prayer. The promise here is no blank check to the believer to assume sovereignty and demand anything from God that he may wish.
We must pray in God’s will (1 Jn 5:14). God answers prayer done in His will, so we must subordinate our will to His will. If God answered anything we requested of Him, then He would answer prayers inconsistent with His person. There is the possibility of asking “amiss” (Ja 4:3). There is a condition to answered prayer: the phrase “it will be done for you” is qualified by “My words abide in you.”