John 16:16-33

Praying from the Father's heart

John 16:16-33
"Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete"
John 16:24
We are working our way through the gospel of John. John has led us through Jesus’ ministry over three years, and then concentrates on the last week and we have now reached the last evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. John shows us that Jesus is the Word made flesh and that Jesus brings God close and is God. But here in this passage, he demonstrates to us that Jesus brings us to the Father, and that we can have direct access to the Father because Jesus takes away the barrier of sin through his death and his resurrection and he is now ascended and at the Father’s right side, and makes it possible for us to approach the Father with confidence. (See Hebrews 4:16 and Hebrews 10:19-22). It’s so encouraging that we get to come straight through, even if we’ve messed up – definitely when we’ve messed up! (Romans 8:1). We can come, knowing that our sins are forgiven and we are adopted as sons and daughters (Romans 8:14).

When we pray in Jesus’ name we are praying according to his will, we are wanting to do what the Father does and say what the Father is says, just like Jesus did but it is also that we have open to us as, we pray, all the riches of Christ. We have his inheritance. And so, as we pray in Jesus’ name we pray from a place of identity, authority and inheritance.

Now, because you have taken the trouble to complete this devotion, I would like to give you some really practical ways to pray to God as Father and also open up other ways we can pray.


  1. The most important thing about praying to Father God is that it’s simple and intimate. Jesus called God Abba and invites us to do the same and to come and to be close to Father God, and he makes that possible. It’s also the Holy Spirit who enables us with that cry – ‘Abba, Father’ (Romans 8:14). We need to make space for this, even when we are very busy. Can you think of times in your day when you can make space? You may want to use music to help turn your thoughts to your Father, so that you can enjoy time with your Father, receiving his love, resting in him. You may find yourself praying simple prayers like ‘I trust you’, ‘I lean on you’, ‘I worship you’ etc. Get into the habit now so that in times of distress your Father is the one you run to, he brings us near and holds us regardless of our mess. Come to your Father, come just to be with him and know him and know that you are loved. We need to make space to be with our Father, think creatively how you can do that.

  2. Jesus also taught us that we can pray to him as a friend, in Luke 11:5-8 he talks about being persistent in asking a friend for something. Jesus is a friend ‘who sticks closer than a brother’ (Prov 18:24). Jesus calls us to pray to him, again we can be creative in different seasons of our life and put in good habits of praying and listening. Praying in tongues, talking with our Father, talking to Jesus. He leads us and enables us to intercede and stand in the gap for people. Think about how you can put in some good habits that allow you space to pray (there are some resources below). Start small and make it achievable and be gracious to yourself.

  3. Probably our biggest challenge is making time to listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you create time in the middle of busy schedules. I have found walking, running and car journeys to be helpful as well as short or extended times with my bible, journal and worship music as my daily/weekly rhythms allow (The Holy Spirit can also help you to fast as part of a prayer season). Again, start small but be intentional. It is about aligning ourselves to the Kingdom of God, aligning ourselves to the will of God. Jesus says we pray in his name, we don’t take that lightly and so it is that praying looks like yielding, it looks like surrender. Sometimes it looks like dying to our ambitions, dying to our plans – our Father knows better. He’s the God of the universe, he loves us and has good plans for us, but he’s also drawing us into things we can’t do like salvation and healing. We can ask and keep on asking, we can step in and listen to the Holy Spirit.

  4. Praying always looks like being dependent on the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit who helps us pray. In our weakness we can never pray enough or pray well enough, but Paul says ‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions’ (Ephesians 6:18). We get to partner with the Holy Spirit, when we pray, we get to partner with God himself! And so, we get to pray for things we didn’t even dream of or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) we get to see the Kingdom advance that Jesus, through his birth, death, resurrection and ascension, announced and brought in, from a small mustard seed. But we also get to see and step in to what God is doing, saying what God is saying, through partnering with the Holy Spirit in prayer and dependence. From this place of God’s presence and dependence on the Holy Spirit we get to step into the prophetic. Why not ask the Holy Spirit to show you what he is doing? Often this is through the bible, pictures, prophetic words, dreams etc. We pray in that tension or pressing in and being thankful in faith in what God is doing and that he will answer our prayers even as we wait for that answer.

Are you able to make some space to enjoy your Father? Enjoy his love for you, enjoy receiving from him. Consider making space to walk and talk with Jesus as a friend who comes close, space to listen to the Holy Spirit in dependence. Consider writing down your prayers and what God says in a notebook, it will build up your faith.


 Dear Father,

Thank you that Jesus makes a way for me to come close to you, the Holy Spirit tells me I am your child and I can call you Abba, Father. Help me please to grow in prayer, to enjoy your presence and experience your love, to pray in dependence on your Spirit and hear and see what you are saying and doing. Help me to listen to your heart and, in compassion, stand in the gap for people and nations just as Jesus stood in the gap for me.


Resources for helping you with your prayer life:
This Everyday Devotions was written by Amanda Featherstone who, together with her husband David, leads our Sutton Venue.

If you would like to listen to the whole of this week’s sermon on John 16:16-33 why not download the Everyday Church App or visit our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Follow our Everyday Devotions Playlist for some songs to help you worship God in Spirit and truth this week.
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