Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that
I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to
the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Bless my dear Sunday School teacher! She told us you could use the Bible to prove the moon was made of green cheese. And she was right. You can take a verse of Scripture out of context and twist it to prove all sorts of tomfoolery. A verse out of context can be made a pretext for all kinds of error.
I have seen today’s passage sadly misused to hurt people when taken out of context. People use it to pray all kinds of things “believing” they will get what they want. They even find “two or three people to agree” with them in prayer and are sadly disappointed, even angry, when they don’t get what they believingly prayed.
What does Jesus mean when He promises “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son”? The key here is in understanding what Jesus means by praying in His name. Is praying in Jesus’ name a mere mantra we add at the end of our prayers? The old Scotch preacher Alexander Maclaren can help us here:
“Christ’s name is the revelation of Christ’s character, and to do a thing in the name of another person is to do it as His representative, and as realizing that in some deep and real sense…we are one with Him, and representative…” (Alexander Maclaren, John)
To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray as Jesus would pray. It is to pray as Jesus would pray with a view to the glory of God. Praying in Jesus’ name will mean spending time with Jesus and spending time in His words to understand what Jesus would ask. Prayer is like the check requiring two signatures to make it valid. Jesus signs on to what He wants to do in the world, and by prayer we sign on with Jesus. And it is done! That means that Christ’s “greater works” are done in the world as we pray.
How powerful it is, and freeing, to go to God and ask Him to hear us, not for our sake, but for Jesus’ sake! For Jesus’ name is the name above all names and above all powers!
- As I spend time with Jesus today, I sense He wants me to pray…
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)