Scripture Reading: John 14:12-14
“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)
Some people have greatly misunderstood these words of Jesus. These teach a false “name it and claim it” theology. In other words, they say if we ask Jesus in faith for anything, He is obligated to give it to us. They say, however, that we should be sure to tack Jesus’ name on the request. To be honest, I would hate to think that Jesus would give me everything I asked from Him. He knows what is best for me; I surely don’t always know that.
The key to understanding these words of Jesus is found in the phrase — “in My name.” This does not mean as long as we add the name of Jesus to our prayers that He is obligated to answer them according to our wishes. To pray in Jesus’ name means praying with His character in mind. In the ancient world, a person’s name was a reflection of his or her character. Thus, when we pray in Jesus’ name we ask for things that are consistent with the nature and character of Jesus.
Praying in Jesus’ name means we pray according to His will. Why would we ever want to pray for anything that was out of the will of God? God is omniscient. He knows our needs and He knows what is best for us. God has a plan for each of us that He is working out in our lives. His will is always right and perfect.
Praying in Jesus’ name also means that we are coming to God solely through the merits of our Savior. Jesus is the only way to the Father — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comers to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME” (John 14:6). Jesus is our great High Priest who makes intercession for us — “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). It is through the priestly work of Jesus that we have access to the throne of God — “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
When we pray in Jesus’ name, our desire is to honor His character and to submit ourselves to His perfect will. And to pray in Jesus’s name means we recognize that our only access to the throne of grace is through the Champion of grace, our great High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, my great High Priest, I come to You in prayer. I acknowledge that all my prayers are to be made with your character and will in mind. Forgive me for asking You for foolish and harmful things. You always know what is best for me. In faith I accept Your answers to my prayers, for I know that You always do things for my good and for Your glory.