“Whatever We Ask In His Name”
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” –Jesus Christ, in John 14:13 (NIV)
I have longed to hear a sermon or lesson on this topic, a sermon or lesson explaining why so often we ask for things and don’t get them. Aren’t we trying to do the will of God? Don’t we pray for what we think are good things? What goes wrong?
Are we asking for things that bring glory to us, or to something (church, club, organization, etc.) we’re affiliated with, rather than things that bring glory to God? What does it mean to ask for something in Jesus’ name?
How many prayers have we heard that had the phrase “In Jesus’ name we pray, amen” tacked onto the end of the prayer? What happened? Did everyone see the results requested?
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines “name” in many ways, but here is the most useful definition: “a name implies authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, of everything that the ‘name’ covers.”
Am I really in the habit of praying in Jesus’ name?
When I “pray in Jesus’ name”, am I speaking with His authority? After all, He told us to use His name in prayer. Am I speaking in His character---do I really know His character? Am I praying with His “rank”—do I see myself as “blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing”? According to Ephesians 1:3, I am! Do I love, revere, and embrace the majesty, power, and excellence of Jesus Christ in my prayer?
Does my having a luxury car, a bigger house, a new fur coat, and a huge 401K give glory to the Father? Maybe, maybe not. Do these things support and express the “name of Jesus”, or do these things make me look good, make me look “special and privileged”, or cause others to envy me without seeking after my Lord?
Why do I want these things?
What other things might I pray for?
I could pray for energy, creativity, discipline, endless joy, extreme courage, incredible patience, fully expressed loving-kindness. I could pray for abundance of wealth AND the freedom to give a good portion of it away, fully trusting God to take care of my needs and send me more! I could pray for great health and fitness so that I could stay longer in the Earth, and do more of what God wants me to do. I could pray for a loving, peaceful family so that such a family would be a witness for others. I could pray for the gift of hospitality, and of helps. I could pray for the gift of prophecy, and the courage to use it. I could pray for Earthly wisdom and supernatural, heavenly insight. I could pray for many things.
Do I need to PUSH—pray until something happens? How do I know when something HAS happened? My prayers will be answered in the spiritual realm first, then in the physical. There’s a reason Christians are told to walk by faith, not by sight. If I ask for something, I really believe God heard me the first time. God does not need to be reminded of anything, including what He has already said.
If I ask my father and mother if they will pay for my college expenses, and they tell me “yes, we will cover all of your college expenses”, I would look pretty silly going back to them and asking them for the same thing a day later, a week later, a month later. They have already answered my question and the answer is “yes.” When college begins and the bills are sent, my father and mother will pay them. I have no need to insist upon seeing cancelled checks and “paid in full” statements from the college. That’s walking by sight—needing to SEE something before I can relax and know it’s taken care of.
The disciples to whom Jesus spoke in John chapter 14 were not super-saints. One of them would openly betray Jesus within a few hours, the others would run and hide when Jesus was arrested and executed. It was to these men Jesus said: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
We can tack a few words onto the ends of our prayers, or we can think, trust, act, believe, and live in the “authority, character, rank, majesty, power, and excellence” of Jesus Christ. We can fully reply upon The Invisible Presence Always With Us. There we will find power in our prayers.