Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. I have said these things to you in figures of speech. -John 16:23b-25a NRSV
Many feel that the bible should be read literally and of course much of it should be. But there are times when a greater meaning can be learned from the scriptures when we allow ourselves to hear the words in a nonliteral fashion. These verses are certainly an example of this principle. Jesus invitation to ask anything in his name is not a carte blanche one.
His point in saying "ask anything" is not to invite genie in a bottle type of intercession or petition but to affirm the Father's love for us. It is analogous to a parent telling a child that they would do anything for them. It is understood that this is a figure of speech and the parent (i.e. the Father) will use discretion in what they do. Such is the nature of parenting.
Give us wisdom to know how to read the scriptures Lord. Help us to know how to pray.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.