Whatever You Ask
April 28, 2022
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:13-14).
This is another text that has caused a lot of discussion on the part of modern-day Christians. Was this a promise to the disciples, or is this a promise to all Christians? Was Jesus saying Christians could ask anything in His name and He would give them what they ask?
Many years ago, when I was in college, I served as an Associate Pastor in a small, rural church of about 80 people. A lay preacher in our church came up to me one day, knowing that Nancy and I had very little means beyond my college finances and our living expenses, and said, “The Bible says if you ask anything in Jesus’ name, He is obligated to give you what you ask.” He cited this very text to me, then said, “If I ask Jesus for a brand-new Cadillac so I could travel to places to preach and evangelize, then Jesus would give one to me.” Funny thing, I was in that church 2 more years before I graduated college, and I never saw that lay preacher drive a new Cadillac. Either he didn’t need a new Cadillac to take the place of his worn-out Chevy Impala, he never asked Jesus for a new Cadillac, or he did ask, but Jesus never gave him one.
Over the years I have tried to minister to people who took these words of Jesus literally and without reservation, believing Jesus would give them anything they asked for in His name. One dear lady in the church stopped coming to church because her husband had been diagnosed with lung cancer. She prayed every day, many times during the day, for over a year, asking the Lord to heal her husband of lung cancer. When he finally died, she became very angry at Jesus for making such a promise that He didn’t keep regarding her prayers for her husband.
God the Father answers prayer (John 15:16; 16:23). Jesus answers prayer (John 14:13-14). But do they answer all prayer, and do they grant every request made in prayer? Note the text. Jesus said, whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. What does it mean to ‘ask in Jesus’ name’? It is certainly more than praying a prayer and tacking ‘In Jesus’ name, Amen’ to the end of the prayer. First, praying in Jesus’ name is praying to the Father as Jesus would pray to the Father, for the things Jesus would pray, and for the purpose Jesus would pray to the Father. Second, it means we ask the Father through Jesus Christ, meaning that the Father looks past us and sees and hears His Son as the real petitioner. Third, it means that we pray for that which is according to the Father’s plans and purposes; according to His will. When we ask anything in the name of another person, we ask it for his benefit, not for our own. Finally, to pray in Jesus' name is to seek what Jesus seeks, to ask what Jesus would ask, and to glorify the Father as He always sought to glorify the Father.
We cannot take any text out of context. Within the context this promise is not a ‘blank check’ to the one praying, but is a means whereby we ask for all that is necessary to carry on the work of the Lord, in His absence, until He comes again. Amen.