Read: John 16:23-33
Jesus in a short passage tells the disciples to ask for anything in his name and it shall be given to them. Jesus says this is to make their joy complete and he is able to because he is of the Father. It would seem that Jesus is telling the disciples that their lives were going to be easy, filled with abundance beyond measure because they could have anything they ask for in Jesus name, but Jesus ends this by telling them that they will have trouble in the world. Earlier, Jesus told them that they would be persecuted for his name sake (John 15:18-27). Persecution is almost a certain guarantee (2 Timothy 2:13). Knowing this, it would seem that asking for something in Jesus’ name does not mean that God is a cosmic genie that wants one to have all the good things the world has to offer, but something else.
Jesus intersperses comments about speaking in figures of speech to the disciples too. Jesus had used numerous figures of speech throughout his ministry to help explain the things of God to many different people. John records many of these saying that one must be “born again”, Jesus is the road, the sheep door, the bread of life, living water, among other things such as this. Jesus says that he will discontinue the use of figures of speech and speak straight about the Father. This way they will know directly about the Father and will be able to ask the Father for themselves rather that Jesus asking for them. In this manner, Jesus connects knowing the Father directly with asking things of the Father.
Asking things of the Father in Jesus name then entails asking for it in accordance with how Jesus lived with the Father and what taught about the Father. This, therefore, requires knowledge about what is consistent with Jesus’ teachings. Christians can know the things of Jesus by listening to the Holy Spirit, whose role is to remind and teach Christians of the things that Jesus taught (John 14:26, John 16:3). The early Christians faithfully preserved teachings of Jesus and these have been handed down to Christians today in the form of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:14-17, Romans 15:4, 2 Peter 1:19-21). A few things the Bible teaches that one can are for are asking for his kingdom to come, his will, for provisions for the day, for forgiveness (Matthew 6:9-13) and wisdom (James 1:5). Paul encourages Christians to make one’s anxieties known to God (Philippians 4:6). And one should always offer thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When praying, these one should be mindful of these things, and the Spirit will also prompt one to pray in accordance to these things too. And in this manner, when one says “In Jesus’ name I pray” and one can pray and mean it. And because Jesus has overcome the world, believers need not fear the world’s persecution either because of the confidence of what has been done and what will be done in Jesus’ name!
Lord, help me to pray in Jesus’ name according to what is in Jesus’ name!