Yesterday we were looking at the wonderful truth that we have a heavenly Father who wants us to ask Him for the things that we need. We see in those passages in John’s gospel, where Jesus is encouraging the disciples to ask for things, that He includes that powerful little phrase ‘in my name’. He said “I tell you, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 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.” John 14:12-14.
Jesus even underlined this offer later saying, “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”. John 6:23,24. I do feel that we need to look at this today because I, like so many others I suspect, have found this quite difficult to square with my experience of prayer, which has felt very ‘hit and miss’ when it comes to seeing the fulfilment of that promise. So much so that we sometimes have to gloss over these scriptures or explain them away as ‘just being for the twelve’, so that we don’t become discouraged.
I’m sure that we all know that this is not about tagging ‘In your name’, or ‘In the name of Jesus’, onto the end of our praying, but I believe the full strength and power of these statements that Jesus made, recorded for us in John’s gospel, are like a goldmine that I have yet to fully discover.
We know that when God talks about ‘His name’, He is not talking about a name such as we have. My name is Stella, it means ‘star’ but no one expects me to appear in the sky at night. My name might imply something about who I am or who my parents wish me to be, or it may just be a name that they liked and was in fashion at the time of my birth, but it is not literally who I am.
When God gives Himself a name, however, it conveys exactly who He is and what He does. So we have names thoughout the Bible, that God gives Himself, and they tell us who this God of ours is, and who He wants to be for us. Names like; God Almighty, (Genesis 17:1), Jehovah Jireh, (Genesis 22:14), Emmanuel, (Matthew 1:23), Wonderful Counsellor, (Isaiah 9:6), The Light of the World, (John 8:12), and The Good Shepherd, (John 10:11). God has so many names because He is so huge and multi faceted that it takes a lot of names to express exactly who He is. His names tell us the exact essence of who He is.
Jesus of course means ‘God saves’, ‘Saviour’, so if I pray ‘in Jesus name’ I am presenting myself before the Father with my request, as if I were Jesus. He has saved me and I now stand in His righteousness before the Father, asking for the things that He would be asking for, so that I can do the things on earth that He would do, and bear much fruit because I am ‘abiding’ or ‘remaining’ in Him. John 15: 5. Remembering that he also said ‘without me you can do nothing.
So now we can see why thanksgiving plays such an important part in our prayer life, and how vital a part it plays in asking for things ‘in Jesus name’. As I come to the Lord to ask Him for things, I need to come with thanksgiving in my heart i) that I am saved and can come fully cleansed before the throne of grace, ‘so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’. Hebrews 4:16. ii) With thanksgiving that I am ‘in Christ’ and ‘He is in me’ John 14:20, and iii) Thanksgiving that we have the beautiful Holy Spirit who will show us what to ask for as He indwells us and leads us in our praying. Romans 8:14,26.
I believe that as we come to God in prayer, lifting our hearts and voices in thanksgiving , praying in tongues too, we will be led in our praying by the Spirit, and be able to pray with faith in our hearts, that we are praying in harmony with the will of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s a journey I’m on, always remembering that it’s His Kingdom, His Power and therefore it will be for His glory too.