It’s a personal preference of course, but most meaningful to me in the Gospel of John are chapters thirteen through seventeen.
It’s the last night of Jesus’ life. He knows he is going to die. In his gospel account, John reserves Jesus’ teaching to these chapters, Christ’s final seminar with his disciples so to speak. In view of the cross, here is a focused presentation of Jesus’ concerns for his disciples.
There’s lots here: Take care of one another. Love one another. Don’t be afraid. Trust. Remain in me. Obey me.
And in chapter sixteen, Jesus says: “Pray.”
Please note that these words are not addressed to the world, but to Jesus’ disciples. As such, John directs them to Christians. We have a unique relationship with God. He loves us because we have put our trust in His son. Our relationship with Jesus gives us direct access to the Father, and it is an access only we possess.
Two issues arise:
First, Jesus promises that the Father will give us whatever we ask. But our experience is that God does not. Surely you’ve had prayers go unfulfilled.
No one should expect that God is here indebting Himself to do our bidding. In that case, He’d be abdicating His role as God. But like a parent, God promises us access to His wealth and power, and as our Father, we can trust He will do what is best for us.
The second issue is timing. Did you notice that little line: “in a little while”? It appears four times in the chapter and John even tells us the disciples didn’t understand it.
It’s an assurance.
God does not promise that no bad things will befall us. Bad things were certainly about to befall Jesus – and his disciples! But what He promises is that they will not last. In time, God’s time, they will be over. Joy will return.
Both promises give us hope. And that’s what Jesus intended.