8 Jul 2013
What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name? In John Chapters 14-16 Jesus challenges us to pray in His name six times! When the Son of God proclaims the same thing six times in a single discourse it must be incredibly important. Another amazing fact is that whenever Jesus mentions praying in His name He promises that this will result in our receiving from Him whatever we have requested!
John 14:13-14 (NASB95)
13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Jesus not only indicates that we will receive what we request; He promises that He will personally see to it that we receive what we have petitioned in His name. This is a promise from the One on Whom all authority in heaven and earth has been bestowed by the God and Creator of the universe. This promise comes to us from the very One who holds everything together!
Notice the action of love in connection with the context of the verses above.
John 14:14-16 (AMP)
14 [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].
15 If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—
Dr. Warren Wiersbe in his New Testament Commentary relates this truth: “When you love someone, you honor his or her name, and you would never use that name in a demeaning manner.”
Perhaps praying in the name of Jesus takes some growing into? It must certainly require significant direction and insight from the Holy Spirit! We cannot even hope to be praying in the Name of Jesus if we do not know Him and love Him deeply and are committed by the power of the love provided by the Holy Spirit to obey Him in all we think and say and do. Without obedience to the revealed word of God any semblance of praying in the Name of Jesus is simply a sham. This kind of praying is more than just what we are saying it is deeply entrenched in who we are becoming.
It may be that the price of this promise to grant anything that is requested seems is too high? But yet on the final discourse with His disciples before His trial and crucifixion, Jesus keeps coming back to this issue. It is as if He sees this kind of commitment from His disciples as normal.
In John 15:5 we find this well known spiritual law ……
5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. ( Amp Bible)
Jesus uses the evident need for vital connection between the vine and its branches to teach us of our need for vital connection with the Father in order to produce fruit for His Kingdom. From theBlackaby Study Bible we find this Encounter Note for John 15:5: “ Out of our intimate relationship with God flows everything of consequence. Apart from His presence in our lives, we can do nothing of eternal significance.”
It is in this context of abiding that Jesus re-teaches us the lesson of praying in His name. However in this passage Jesus explains praying in His name in terms of our abiding in Him and His words remaining in us.
John 15:7 (AMP)
7 If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
Here we see Jesus again connecting powerful prayer to our abiding in the Holy Spirit and walking (living) in His Word. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are always the roommates of prayer that receives answers to whatever is asked.
As Jesus continues to teach these critical lessons to His disciples we see Him moving to a focus on the purpose of prayer, namely to fruit bearing that results in great glory for God.
John 15:16 (AMP)
16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you. (emphasis added)
In this context Jesus seems to emphasize the nature and purpose of our calling. Perhaps another verse from John Chapter 15 will give us further insight into our purpose of bearing fruit that will remain.
John 15:8 (AMP)
8 When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
It seems clear that to ask in the Name of Jesus would require that the thing ask for would bring glory to the Father. God’s glory must be the purpose of our prayers if in our praying we are to accurately ask in the Name of Jesus.
One thing that may seem a bit troubling concerning the John 15:16 passage ….. it seems at first glance that the cause and effect may have somehow gotten reversed. Would it not seem more logical if God would give us whatever we ask in order that we might bear much fruit? But this passage does not so say. It clearly states that the result of bearing fruit that remains is that we may ask whatever of the Father in Jesus’ name and He will give us whatever we have ask. Think of this illustration. If you owned a business for repairing cars and you had an excellent mechanic working for you, along with several others who were simply average in commitment. To which mechanic would you provide the best tools? No doubt you would provide the best tools to the mechanic that would make the best use of advanced tools. This would only be good stewardship. Perhaps we should each ask in connection with this promise; how am I doing in the fruit bearing business? How is my fruit bearing affecting my prayers?
Lastly let’s look at John Chapter 16 where Jesus again reminds His disciples to ask anything in His Name. In His continued preparation of His disciples for what is about to play out just ahead, Jesus speaks of the trials they will face and again reminds them that it is better that He should go away. He explains to them more detail concerning the work of the Holy Spirit and the unity between them and Himself and the Father. It is in this context that Jesus again says:
John 16:23-24 (AMP)
23 And when that time comes, you will ask nothing of Me [you will need to ask Me no questions]. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].
24 Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.
Let’s try to pull this all together. Things will get worse, and opportunities to bear fruit will increase as we increasingly depend on the Holy Spirit. Our part is to seek to grow in our intimacy with Jesus and our love and obedience, seeking to be filled and controlled every minute by His Spirit, abiding in Christ continually, not just at “important” times. With eternity in constant view we must ask out of our love for God and our growing desire for God’s glory in whatever way we are led and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. We must abide, for devoid of abiding we can be assured that we will produce zero fruit.
Again, from Dr. Wiersebe : “Where there is true fruit, it remains; manmade ‘results’ eventually disappear . Fruit has in it the seed for more fruit, so the process goes on and on. Whatever is born of the Spirit of God has the mark of eternity on it and it will last.” Whatever is born of the Spirit of God has the mark of eternity on it and it will last! This is the eternal work of God! Asking in ways that afford God to bring to Himself great glory is one of the primary purposes of praying in the Name of Jesus. Of this we can be sure since one of the primary purposes of Jesus is to bring Glory to His Father. This is the sort of praying that God always hears and always answers. May our prayers and their answers grow in the glory they bring to our God as we seek to walk and live and pray in Jesus Name. AMEN.