May 3rd 2009

In His Name

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name.”

John 14:13 (NIV)

Some people seem to think that Jesus is giving us a blank check—as though there is no request that the Father will refuse, as long as we ask in the name of Jesus.

We all know that this doesn’t work—and it’s a good thing it doesn’t! If the Father had to answer every request he was given in the name of Jesus, the world would be in chaos, driven by the conflicting whims of billions of well-meaning but foolish people.

Praying in Jesus’ name has to do with praying in accord with his will and his nature. In other words, our requests should befit Jesus’ character.

Let’s use an analogy. Suppose a police officer says, “Stop in the name of the law.” It means that the officer has the force of law behind the command. But suppose that same officer says: “Give me all your cash in the name of the law.” Using the words “in the name of the law” does not automatically give the officer legal support, does it? When the officer says “in the name of the law,” he is to be acting within the rules of the law.

In the same way, when we use Jesus’ name, we are not obligating him to support our whims and desires. Instead, we are saying that our will is in accord with what he wants.

Rather than forcing him to conform to our wishes, “in his name” means exactly the opposite: We are conforming to his wishes, we are acting within his will.

If, however, we pray according to God’s will, what’s the point of praying? Isn’t he going to do his will whether we ask for it or not?

Remember that God is the one who is telling us to pray. In his wisdom, God has decided to do certain things only in answer to prayer. Sometimes this is so that we will learn, in the process of prayer in fellowship with God, what his will is, and whether our request is for selfish purposes.

We don’t always understand what God’s will is, but praying can help us come to a better understanding of his will.

Paul says,Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Jesus has given us the authority to directly ask the Father whatever is on our hearts. And we can trust God to answer in the best possible way, at the best possible time.

But whatever we do (prayer included), we are to do it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). When we do that, we can be confident that we are praying in Jesus’ name.


Father in heaven, I surrender to your will and pray that you will lead me always to follow Jesus and his ways, not mine. In Jesus’ name.


Study by Joseph Tkach

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