I want to use this post to deal with yet another aspect of what it means to pray in Jesus’ name. The new aspect goes like this: To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray with an understanding of the limitless power such praying offers. Christian, I’m not trying to swell your head with this one, but I do want you to realize just exactly what Jesus said in John 14:12-14 concerning praying in His name. Read His words again and let them sink down into your soul:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 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. (N.K.J.V.)
Now, before you run off and become a “name it and claim” kind of Christian, let me remind you of my second post from this series. There, I explained that to pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in submission to God’s will. This means that words such as “whatever” and “anything” must always be viewed through the lens of God’s will. Not only is this implied in the New Testament, there is even a passage that comes right out and says it. That passage is 1st John 5:14-15, and it’s worth mentioning that it was written by the same John who wrote John 14:12-14. The passage reads:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (N.K.J.V.)
And so, you see, it’s clear that Jesus never intended for His followers to turn God the Father into a wish-granting genie via their prayers. Let’s be clear about that. But, with that understood, let’s not water down what Jesus did teach about prayer either. He said, “The one who believes in Me and asks for things in My name will do even greater works than I have done.” What an astounding thought!
Jesus walked on the water. Jesus fed thousands with a boy’s lunch and had food left over. Jesus turned water into wine. Jesus healed the sick. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. How could Christians, even praying Christians, do greater works than these? The answer is: Our works can be greater in extent.
Remember that Jesus, in His earthly body, was confined to one place at one time and spent His entire life in one small part of the world. Furthermore, His public ministry only lasted for three-and-a-half years. Jesus didn’t preach a sermon that led 3,000 people to get saved. But Peter did (Acts 2:14-41). Jesus didn’t take the gospel throughout the entirety of the Roman empire. But Paul did. Jesus didn’t start churches wherever He went or write the books of the New Testament. But His followers did. And these works were greater in extent than even Christ’s earthly works.
Therefore, Christian, never be guilty of underestimating the incredible power of prayer. As James 4:2 says:
…you do not have because you do not ask. (N.K.J.V.)
A church got a new pastor, and his first Sunday there he walked to the pulpit and said, “Let us pray.” Then he proceeded to pray for ten minutes. When the service was over, one church member said to another, “Boy, we’ve sure got a good pastor now. He asks God for all kinds of things our other pastors didn’t even know were available.”
Christian, don’t you be like those previous pastors. Lay claim to the fact that praying “in Jesus’ name” means praying in POWER. The only requests that lay outside that power are those that lay outside God’s will for your life. Other than those, have at it with your asking! Who knows what “greater works” the Lord might have in mind to pour out in your life?