If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:14

If we are not careful, our carnal mind will play tricks on us through this passage. It will – ever so subtly and most often subconsciously – encourage us that this promise is for anything we want – as long as we attach Jesus’ name to the request.

So, let’s take a moment before we go on – just to be sure we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When Jesus said, “If you ask anything…”, He was clearly not talking about a bigger house, another car in the garage, or a change of eye color. We can work hard and afford these things (and many more) but attaching His name to it will not make one bit of difference.

Of course, no one would think to use Jesus’ name in such a selfish way. The problem is: A lot of our thinking is subconscious; and we take a lot of our thinking for granted. Sometimes, we simply don’t think; at least not in this way. Most would agree (myself included) that we pray with His name attached, not really considering what it means to invoke His name.

I wonder if Jesus ever thinks, “Is that really what you want to be asking for?”

Prayer with Faith

Most of us, when we think about it, know that prayer must include faith. We may say, “That’s right! We must pray with faith in Jesus’ name.”

I hate to be the one to tell you, but that’s still missing the mark. It is not even faith in His name (i.e., “Jesus”) – as powerful as that name is – that makes the difference.

Stay with me; this will make good sense soon.

Now consider this: Where does faith come from?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

This “word” is rhema – the spoken word of God. Faith comes to those with ears to hear – when they hear a word from God.

Let’s add this bit of truth:

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. 1John 5:14-15

Our confidence in prayer is found in our knowing the Father’s will and asking – for anything – according to it.

A side note: How do we know His will? Simple: We ask Him.

Now, back to “in My name.” To ask for anything in Jesus’ name is the same as asking for anything according to the Father’s will. To ask in Jesus’ name means to ask with the Father’s purpose and agenda in mind – not something our carnal minds would do.

Another side note: Presumption is also a carnal and dangerous thing. Just ask the men in Matthew 7:21-23.

Prayer with Purpose

Okay, so what might be Jesus’ purpose in doing anything we ask of Him? We need only back up one verse for the answer:

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13

Jesus’ primary agenda/purpose is to glorify His Father in heaven.

Therefore, if it is Father’s will to be glorified by giving you another car, a home at the beach, or healing for someone – and He tells you so – then you should ask Jesus for those things with confidence.

However, as it turns out, this is not the tenor of Scripture – that God glorifies Himself by giving things to us. We need to get our prepositions right. The Father is glorified by the things He does in and through us.

…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you
will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
John 15:7-8

The Father is glorified by what comes out of us onto others. It is about Him and them; not so much about us. It really is pretty much 100% about Him. The “others” are collaterally blessed.

I recognize that most of you are nodding your heads and wondering when I am going to write something you don’t already know, so let me close with this:

This article is not about our acceptance and acknowledgement of the truth about prayer.

It is about our response to it.

Most Christian’s know treating God as a vending machine loaded by Santa Claus is not right. And yet, we continue to pray before taking the time – and humbling ourselves – to hear what we should be praying about. The result is inescapably self-centered presumptuous prayer.

Here’s a challenge: For one month (or one week), instead of asking God for something (even good things), ask Him what He would have you pray for that will bring Him glory. Wait for His answer. Don’t give in to impatience. Then, by all means, pray in Jesus’ name – that it would be accomplished His way.

God bless you with grace for the fervent prayer of a righteous man – that will avail much.

Humbly yours and forever His,