by Johnny Giesbrecht
Copyright 2012 Johnny Giesbrecht
Johnny Carlton is a writer of suspense thrillers available as e-books at www.amazon.com
There are at least three Scripture verses about a particular matter that can cause some confusion when not rightly understood. The verses (taken from the NIV) are:
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (John 15:16).
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 16:23).
It could be suggested that because none of these Scripture segments give any qualifications regarding anything else that is required for us to get what we ask God for, we should be able to ask him for anything at all and get it, so long as we say the words: “I ask this in the name of Jesus.”
This would mean that if you didn’t like your next-door neighbor very much and you asked God to burn his house down and kill him in the fire, if you asked it in the name of Jesus he would grant it to you. According to this oversimplified and wrong interpretation of those three verses (quoted above) we could ask for any kind of evil thing and God would grant it. But of course God, being good and wise, does not operate that way.
And yet the words of Jesus are true. The secret to understanding these verses is to know what is meant by asking in the name of Jesus. It does not mean to just say the words: “I ask this in the name of Jesus.”
It means, rather, to ask something in his name and in the spirit of his name.
In other words, asking something in the name of Jesus means coming to God in the spirit of Jesus, the way Jesus himself came to his Father.
And how was that? When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, asking God to rescue him from death on the cross, he added the words, “… yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42b).
To pray in the name of Jesus means to put God’s will first. A Christian wants God’s will to be done in all things. Therefore it follows logically that when we pray in this mature way, in the name and spirit of Jesus, we always get what we want. Always. Think about it.
Say that you pray for a physical healing of some kind, sincerely wanting God’s will to be done in the matter–even if it means not being healed, should that be God’s will. Say that in this instance he does not choose to heal you. Your prayer has been granted, for part of your prayer was, “Your will be done.”
When you pray in the name, and therefore in the spirit, of Jesus, you can’t lose. You always get what you ask for.
But you can see that this requires complete surrender to God. And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do–be completely surrendered to God? When you ask for something and you don’t get it, and then start complaining about not getting it, that only proves that you didn’t really ask it in the name (in the spirit) of Jesus.
In Acts 19:13-16 we read about some apparent non-Christians who tried to drive evil spirits out of people by using the name of Jesus. On one occasion the demon-possessed man beat up on those who were attempting the exorcism in the name of Jesus. This was a case of the exorcists just using words but not speaking them in the spirit of Jesus.
Christians can become haughty so that they actually think it’s wrong to add the words, “Your will be done,” to a prayer. They may not realize they’re being haughty but they are–by thinking they can tell God what to do. Where is humbleness and humility today?
After all, are we so good at figuring things out that we always know whether or not what we’re asking for is in God’s will? Some things we know, because God has made them clear to us through faith, but for most things we ask for, we don’t really know whether or not they’re in God’s will. Praying for someone’s healing, for instance, is a good example. God may be allowing that person to be sick for the time being for his or her own good. Remember that the Apostle Paul prayed for his own healing and was denied because he needed that “thorn in the flesh” to help him overcome a problem of pride (2 Corinthians 12:7b-9a).
We should always pray in the spirit of “… yet not my will, but yours be done.” That, along with other acceptances of the spirit of Jesus, is praying in the name of Jesus. Asking for something in Jesus’ name isn’t a sign of “weakness” on the part of the petitioner, but rather a sign of maturity and trust in God our Father.