Jesus said in John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”
The teaching here is that when we ask in His name and receive the things we ask for, the result, after receiving those things, will be a fullness of joy. And I suppose you could say that our joy will come in degrees. To the degree that we recognize that God has answered our prayers, to that degree we will receive joy. The person who doesn’t realize that God has answered his prayer may have a certain amount of joy just because he has received what he wanted. But the real and full joy is a joy that comes from knowing absolutely that God has answered our prayers.
R. A. Torrey has said, “When we ask something definite of God, and He gives it, how real God becomes! He is right there! It is blessed to have a God who is real, and not merely an idea.”3 Yes, it is a joyful and real experience when God reaches down in love, and gives us what we ask for. It is the joy of experiencing His presence.
In Psalm 16:11 David wrote, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” Though David here is mainly speaking of the joy that comes after this life, we can know that same joy now whenever we experience His presence—which will surely come to us with the realization that He has answered our prayers.
This I think is the whole point of prayer—to have the joyful realization of His presence. It is what God intended for us. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b). He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). It is God’s purpose for us to have this abundant life, which is found in Jesus, and can only be gained when we call out to Him in prayer. Prayer then is the key to obtain this life—life that produces for us a fullness of joy.
3 R. A. Torrey, How to Pray (Chicago: Moody Press, n. d.), p. 16.