Even people who don't believe Jesus is the Son of God tend to weight his words with a certain level of importance. So when He says something like, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it," (John 14:14) a guy might want to pay attention.
The devotional book I was reading (Why Did I Lose My Job If God Loves Me? by Rick J. Pritikin) used John 14:14 as the basis of a particular day's thought, but wisely brought in the verses around it...
I decided to look at the context of the promise by reading several verses before and after John 14:14. In verse 13, Jesus said, "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." In other words, Jesus will give me what I ask for in his name if it will glorify the Father. This isn't about you and me getting whatever is on our wish lists. God isn't a celestial vending machine. Rather, our requests should glorify him.
There's more. In verse 15, Jesus went on to say, "If you love me, keep my commands." In today's sales language, that's the "kicker." In other words, you and I can't expect to get what we ask for in prayer unless we are walking in obedience to the Lord and unless the fulfillment of that prayer will glorify God.
All of which led me to write the following in my journal:
This is still a tricky thing. It could become, "If I push the right buttons or cross off the right items on a to-do list, then God has to give me what I want."
Yes, verse 13 is important. If my request would bring me glory instead of Yahweh, it most probably will be ignored. But I'm not so sure verse 15 is part of Jesus' paragraph on prayer...and actually, the paragraph isn't about prayer; it's about the unity of God the Father and God the Son and that we are invited to enter into that unity.
And that's the thing! If I am united with God through Christ, it means I am "in [His] name," not my prayer. The point for Jesus is not for us to say the words "in Jesus' name" before "amen". The point is for us to be in Jesus's name, immersed in His character and authority.
Yes, of COURSE that means being obedient to His commands, but it's not as simple as keeping a list of rules.
Truth is...the NASB and Amplified versions render verse 15 as "...you will keep my commandments", coming across as more of a prediction or promise than a command or threat.