Saturday, July 21, 2007

Asking in Jesus’ Name

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16)

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24)
Many people seem to think that asking in Jesus’ name means tacking “In Jesus’ name” onto the end of our prayers. That is nothing but magical thinking, treating the name of Jesus as nothing more than a charm.

Asking in Jesus’ name really means asking according to His purposes and the things He would ask. Jesus said only what He heard the Father saying, and did only what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19, 30). He was all about pleasing the Father and doing His will (John 8:28-29). Asking in Jesus’ name is really about asking in agreement with the Father’s will.

Many Christians think of the will of God as a terrible burden that we must submit to and somehow learn to live with, as if the furthest thing from God’s mind was for us to enjoy life. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s will for us is good. Paul says of those who believe that God has “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5), and God is not a child-abuser.

Jesus came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). When He announced His ministry and what it would be about, He said,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
This is the will of God, and it is nothing but good for you and me. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Praying in Jesus’ name is asking according to the will of God. The apostle John, who preserved for us the promises about asking in Jesus’ name, understood very well how powerful it is to pray according to the will of God:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
John understood equally well how good the will of God is toward us. We see this in his prayer for Gaius: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).

Jesus authorizes us to ask of the Father in His name, and whatever we ask, the Father will do. The purpose is that the Father may be glorified through His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. The result is that we may bear much fruit, the kind that lasts. The Father is glorified by that also: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8). When we ask in Jesus’ name, we will share in His joy, just as He shares in His Father’s joy: “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

God’s will is to bless the world through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not a dark and gloomy imposition that we have to, somehow, come to terms with. No, it is a wonderful promise that we can count on to bless us, and others through us. It is even powerful enough to take those things that might otherwise be a burden, and turn them into a revelation of His joy at work in us, filling us with His pleasure.

Asking in Jesus’ name is asking according to the will of God, which is nothing but good for you and me. When we ask as Jesus would ask, we can be confident that we will receive whatever we ask.