- Mark Janzen
In Jesus' Name
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:13-14
Jesus’ words are an amazing promise! But before we get too excited about our selfish understanding of this promise, I think we need to dig into what these words really mean. I believe there is a lot of misunderstanding about what Jesus meant when He said these words to His disciples.
For many people, asking for something “in Jesus name” means praying to God for something, and adding “in Jesus name” at the end of the prayer. And then when the item that was prayed for doesn’t appear, or the request is not granted, we get frustrated because right here in John 14:13-14, Jesus specifically says if we ask in Jesus name, then He will do it! So why does He not always grant our requests if we add “In Jesus name” to the end of our prayer?
Well, when we truly pray “In Jesus name,” it does not mean that we simply add those words to the end of our prayers, and wa-lah! We get what we ask for. That is not praying in Jesus name. In fact, even though we say the words “In Jesus name,” we are very often guilty of praying in our own name.
For example, say a fictional character named Jim has a job in the business world – say he has a job at a bank, and for this story let’s pretend the bank is called Big Bank. Now, when Jim is at work, doing his job at Big Bank, he is doing his work on behalf of Big Bank, or you could say “in the Big Bank’s name.”
One day Jim meets a client, and this client needs a loan. Now, the client is not meeting with Jim because of who Jim is, but the client is meeting with Jim because Jim is working “in Big Banks name” – as a representative of Big Bank.
If Jim did not work at the bank, these clients would have had no reason to meet with Jim because he holds no power to give them loans on his own. Jim only has the power that the bank has given him to hand out loans on the bank’s behalf for the bank’s profit, he has no money on his own to give, so Jim’s power to give out money lies not in him, but in the company that he works for, Big Bank.
Big Bank fulfills what Jim promises because he is an agent of the company doing the bank’s will. If he says, “We will offer you a mortgage, or a loan,” he is speaking on behalf of the company and doing what the company has instructed him to do: asking his bosses for money to give his clients.
Jim does nothing for Big Bank in his own name because there is no power in his name. He could do none of the lending on his own, as it requires the assets of the whole company to do what Jim has promised that the bank will do for the client. He is just working “in Big Bank’s name.”
This analogy is sort of what it is like when you pray or make requests in Jesus name. You are Jim in that story. It means you are not praying or working for yourself, but rather the works that you do and the requests that you make are for the things that Jesus has commanded you to do.
You are His representative here on earth. So, everything that you ask for in Jesus name is for Him, not for you. You are doing the will of Jesus; hence you can say you are requesting for things from Him in His name, just as Jim from Big Bank requests for money from his bosses for his clients in the banks name.
As soon as we ask for something that is outside the will of Christ, we are no longer asking in Jesus name, but we are asking in our own name – even if we say the words “in Jesus name.” It would be just as if Jim was asking his boss for a loan to use for himself, rather than the client. He is no longer requesting a loan from the bank, in the bank’s name for the bank’s benefit, but he is asking for a loan in his own name from the bank for his own benefit.
So we can see that just because we say the words, “in Jesus name,” at the end of our prayer, it does not necessarily mean that we are actually praying in His name and speaking on His behalf.
When we do things and ask for things of Jesus in Jesus’ name, it means we are doing His work. We are doing what He has asked us to do, and we are under His authority; we are obedient to His instructions to us found in His book. We are representatives of His, and we are acting on behalf of Jesus through His authority, and not our own authority.
We will be given what we ask for because we are doing what Jesus has instructed us to do and what He has given us authority to do. We are simply asking things of Jesus on behalf of Jesus as His representatives on earth. We are doing His will, so of course He will grant our requests, because if the requests are in Jesus name, they are nothing more than what He has already asked us to do.
We are doing things we could never do on our own, things like sharing the good news of the gospel and seeing people raised to spiritual life! We are powerless to do anything on our own, but He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us to do the work He has called us to do, in his name. So what we ask for in His will, or in His name, will be done! There is power in His name, just as there is power for Jim in the Big Bank’s name.
Our requests are granted for one purpose: so that God the Father will be glorified! (according to verse 13). They are not granted so that we are glorified. It is all for God’s glory.
We are privileged to be able to play a role in Jesus’ mission here on earth, to carry out His will and His task of reaching the lost with the gospel. When our requests are to fulfill His mission and His purpose, He grants us those requests on behalf of the Father for His honor and Glory. It is only through Jesus that we have the ability to glorify God the Father. Jesus is our connection to God, much like a High Priest was the Old Testament connection to God for the Israelite people.
Outside of Christ, we have nothing. But when we ask of Jesus on behalf of Jesus for Gods glory, of course it will be done. It is his will.
Tacking on the words, “in Jesus name,” to the end of your prayer does not twist Gods arm. It does not make Him look more favorably upon your request, and it does not mean that you are actually praying in His name. Please understand what you are saying when you say those words. It is not the words that you say that hold power, but it is through Christ that you are able to do and to ask “in Jesus name.” Without Christ, we are nothing, but with Christ, we can ask amazing things for the glory of God, and they will be done.