“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. ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’” There is a great promise from the Lord here. We should ask God to do the “greater works” promised by Jesus (v. 12), empowered by the Spirit (v. 16), and witnessed in the book of Acts. Here Jesus calls us to pray in his name; that is, recognizing him as the only way to God and approaching his throne in full agreement with his Word so that the Father “may be glorified in the Son.” Praying in Jesus’ name means to come to God by the authority of Jesus, not our own. Outside of our union with Christ, we have no right to every approach the Father. Paul Miller illustrates this well when he writes in A Praying Life,
Deep down, we just don’t believe God is as generous as He keeps saying He is. That’s why Jesus added the fine print– ‘ask in My name.’ Let me explain what that means. Imagine that your prayer is a poorly dressed beggar reeking of alcohol and body odor, stumbling toward the palace of the great king. You have become your prayer. As you shuffle toward the barred gate, the guards stiffen.
Your smell has preceded you. You stammer out a message for the great king: ‘I want to see the king.’ Your words are barely intelligible, but you whisper one final word, ‘Jesus, I come in the name of Jesus.’ At the name of Jesus, as if by magic, the palace comes alive. The guards snap to attention, bowing low in front of you. Lights come on, and the door flies open. You are ushered into the palace and down a long hallway into the throne room of the great king, who comes running to you and wraps you in his arms.
The name of Jesus gives my prayers royal access. They get through. Jesus isn’t just the Savior of my soul. He’s also the Savior of my prayers. My prayers come before the throne of God as the prayers of Jesus. ‘Asking in Jesus’ name’ isn’t another thing I have to get right so my prayers are perfect. It is one more gift of God because my prayers are so imperfect.
When our heart bows to the authority of Jesus, resting not in any merit of our own, we agree with Jesus and are, therefore, praying in his name. As a result, he promises, “I will do it.”
[Today’s flashback was originally posted in August 2012.]