“Ask in Jesus’ Name”

Ask in Jesus’ Name

John 14:13-14

13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.


  1. How should you pray?
    1. Could there be any more important question about prayer?
      1. How do you approach the King of Glory to ask something of Him?
      2. When we read Christ’s promises about prayer we might think that He puts way too much power into our hands – unless we think that it is impossible for him to do what he promises.
      3. Jesus says, ask “anything,” “whatsoever,” “what you will,” and it shall be done.
    2. But then Jesus puts in this amazing qualifying phrase.
      1. He says that we are to ask in his name.
      2. That is the only condition He puts on our asking.
      3. So if we ask and do not receive, it must be because we are not fulfilling this condition.
    3. If then, we are his true disciples, if we are sincere about obeying Him and asking properly, then we need to understand exactly what it means to ask in His name.
      1. Then we need to fulfill that condition..
      2. Let’s read the promise again to be sure about it.
      3. John 14:13–14 “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.”
  2. Something New
    1. This was something new and Jesus said so.
      1. John 16:24 “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”.
    2. Five times our Lord repeats this simple condition, “In my name” – John 14:13–14; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26.
      1. It is clear that this is very important.
      2. It is more than a condition, it is also a promise, an encouragement for us, because everything the Lord asks us to do He always enable us to do.
    3. What, then, does it mean to ask in his name?
      1. We have to understand this because it is the secret of all power in prayer.
      2. And it is possible to use those words incorrectly!
      3. Jesus said, “Many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5).
      4. He could also have said, “And many will think they are praying to the Father in my name, but they are deceiving themselves.”
    4. Does it mean just adding the words, “and all this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ,” at the end of our prayers?
      1. Apparently, many people think that it does.
      2. But we have all heard, and sometimes offered, prayers full of self-will and selfishness and ended by saying, “for Christ’s sake, amen”?
    5. James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions”.
      1. God cannot answer our prayers even if we say, “we ask these things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” because we are asking “amiss”.
      2. A wrong prayer cannot be made right by the addition of some mystic phrase!
    6. And a right prayer does not fail if we leave out those words.
      1. It is more than a question of words.
      2. Our Lord is thinking about faith and God’s will more than about some formula.
      3. The chief object of prayer is to glorify the Lord Jesus.
      4. We are to ask in Christ’s name “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
      5. We are to ask only for Christ’s sake — for his glory.
      6. Let’s look at three steps to a right understanding of those words, “in my name.”
  3. Through Christ’s Atoning Death
    1. Access to God Through Christ’s Atoning Death
      1. There is a sense in which some things are done only “for Christ’s sake”—because of his atoning death.
        1. People who do not believe in the atoning death of Christ cannot pray “in his name.”
        2. They may use those words, but they don’t mean anything because they do not believe in Christ.
        3. We are “justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9)
        4. “We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).
        5. In these days when so many people think there are many ways to heaven, it is absolutely critical to remember the place and work of the shed blood of Christ in prayer.
      2. Long ago, early in Dwight L. Moody’s ministry, the wife of a lost judge, a man of great intellectual gifts, begged Mr. Moody to speak to her husband.
        1. Moody said that would not argue with such a man, and told him so.
        2. “But,” he added, “if ever you are converted, will you promise to let me know?”
        3. The judge laughed cynically, and replied, “Oh, yes, I’ll let you know quick enough if I am ever converted!”
        4. Then Dwight L. Moody went his way and relied on prayer.
        5. That judge was converted within a year.
        6. And he kept his promise and told Moody just how it came about.
      3. “I began to grow very uneasy and miserable one night when my wife was at a prayer-meeting.
        1. I went to bed before she came home. I could not sleep all that night.
        2. Getting up early the next morning, I told my wife I that I did not want any breakfast, and went to my office.
        3. I told the clerks that they could take a holiday and I shut myself up in my private room.
        4. But I became more and more wretched.
        5. Finally, I fell on my knees and asked God to forgive me my sins, but I would not say “for Jesus’ sake” because I did not believe in the atonement.
        6. In an agony of mind I kept praying, “O God, forgive me my sins,” but no answer came.
        7. At last, in desperation, I cried, “O God, for Christ’s sake forgive my sins.”
        8. Then I found peace at once!”
      4. That judge had no access to the presence of God until he sought it in the name of Jesus Christ!
        1. When he came in Christ’s name he was heard and forgiven at once.
        2. Yes, to pray “in the name” of the Lord Jesus is to ask for things which the blood of Christ has “purchased” for us.
        3. Hebrews 10:19 We have “boldness to enter into the holiest place by the blood of Jesus”.
        4. There is other way to come to God in prayer!
        5. But this is not all that those words “In my name” mean.
  4. In God’s Will
    1. Drawing on Unlimited Resources
      1. A great illustration of coming “in the name” of Christ is that of drawing money from a bank by a check.
        1. I can draw from my bank account only up to the amount of my deposit there.
        2. In my own name, I can go no farther than what I have in my bank account.
        3. In the First National Bank I have no money at all, so I can’t draw anything from there.
        4. But suppose a very wealthy person who has a big account there gives me a blank check with his signature and tells me to fill in any amount I choose.
        5. He is my friend so what should I do?
        6. Should I just take care of my present needs or should I take out as much as I dare?
        7. I don’t want to offend my friend.
      2. In this illustration heaven is our bank.
        1. God is the Great Banker.
        2. James 1:17 “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father”.
        3. We need a “check” to “draw” on His infinite riches.
        4. The Lord Jesus gives us a blank check in prayer!
        5. He says, “Fill it in”, “any amount; ask ‘anything,’ ‘ask what you will,’ and you shall have it.
        6. Present your check to heaven’s throne “in my name”, and your request will be honored.
      3. A Torrey says it this way:
        1. That is what happens when I go to the bank of heaven—when I go to God in prayer.
        2. I have nothing deposited there; I have no credit there; and if I go in my own name I will get absolutely nothing.
        3. But Jesus Christ has unlimited credit in heaven, and he has granted me the privilege of going with his name on my checks.
        4. And when I thus go, my prayers will be honored to any extent.
        5. To pray, then, in the name of Christ, is to pray, not on the ground of my credit, but his.
  5. God’s Honor
    1. This all sounds good and in a sense it is true.
      1. If the check were drawn on a Government account, or some wealthy corporation, we might be tempted to get all we can.
      2. But remember that we are coming to a loving Father to whom we owe everything.
      3. We love Him with all our heart and we are going to come back to Him over and over in our lives.
      4. In cashing our checks at the bank of heaven what we desire most is His honor and His glory.
      5. So we want to do only that which is pleasing in His sight.
      6. We never want to dishonor to His name and discredit Him.
      7. His resources are unlimited; but He will never, ever sacrifice his honor!
  6. God’s Will
    1. You can ask “in Christ’s name” and fail because you do not seek to learn God’s will for you?
      1. You must not try to exceed His will.
      2. Jesus has promised deliberately to give to you freely if it is in His name!
      3. You should always take that gift!
      4. You are dealing with a generous friend to whom you owe everything.
      5. Jesus has revealed His mind to you, so when you ask you are to know His wishes and desires.
    2. God has his will for each one of us, and unless we seek to know that will, we are likely to ask for “a thousand,” when He knows that “one” will be best for us.
      1. When you pray you are coming to a Friend, a loving Father.
      2. You owe everything to him.
      3. He tells you to come to him whenever you like for all that you need and His resources are infinite.
    3. But He tells us to remember that we should ask only for those things that are according to his will, only for things that will bring glory to his name.
      1. 1 John 5:14 says, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”.
    4. But I think that for most of us the fault lies in the other direction.
      1. God gives us a blank check and says, “Ask for $1000”and we ask for a $10!
      2. Maybe we insult our friend Jesus by thinking way too small sometimes in our praying.
      3. Do we ask enough?
      4. Do we dare to ask “according to his riches in glory”?
    5. The point is this, we cannot be sure that we are praying “in his name” unless we learn his will for us!
  • For God’s Glory
    1. Being Trustworthy
      1. “In my Name” – we all know what it is to ask for a thing “in the name” of another.
        1. But we are very careful not to allow anyone to use our name who is not to be trusted.
        2. We will not give to a person who might abuse our trust and discredit our name.
      2. Gehazi, the trusted servant, dishonestly used Elisha’s name when he ran after Naaman.
        1. Naaman (the king of Aram) was cured of leprosy when the prophet Elisha told him to go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman twice pressed Elisha to accept a gift in thanks, but Elisha refused.
        2. 2 Kings 5:20–22
          • Naaman had gone some distance when Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, thought to himself: “My master was too easy with this Aramean Naaman, not accepting what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.” So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. Aware that someone was running after him, Naaman alighted from his chariot to wait for him. “Is everything all right?” he asked. “Yes,” Gehazi replied, “but my master sent me to say, ‘Two young men have just come to me, guild prophets from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two festal garments.’”
        3. As a result, Naaman did give Gehazi the reward he requested, but after Elisha confronted Gehazi with his deception, Elisha cursed Gehazi and his family forever with Naaman’s leprosy.
        4. In Elisha’s name he secured riches, but also inherited a curse for his wickedness.
      3. When I worked at Dow I used Dow’s name and handled large sums of money as if they were my own.
        1. Did that happen at first? No, of course not!
        2. It happened after I had proved myself to be worthy of that kind of trust.
        3. I used the money for Dow, not for myself.
        4. Everything we have belongs to our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus.
        5. We can go to God for help in his name, if we use all we get for his glory.
      4. When I go to Heaven in the name of the Lord Jesus, to draw on the unsearchable riches of Christ, God demands that I be trustworthy.
        1. Not “worthy” in the sense that I can merit or deserve anything from a holy God.
        2. But worthy in the sense that I am seeking not my own glory or self-interest, but only the glory of God.
        3. James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss that you may spend it in your pleasures”
      5. God will not answer your prayers if your motives are not right. Maybe this is why so many fail in prayer?
  1. Christ’s Character
    1. Christ’s name is the revelation of his character.
      1. To pray “in his name” is to pray in his character.
      2. As His representative, sent by him, you are to pray by his Spirit and according to his will.
      3. To have his approval in our asking means to seek what he seeks
      4. It means to ask for help to do what Jesus wants to be done.
      5. It means to desire to do it not for your own glorification, but for his glory alone.
      6. In order to pray “in his name,” we must have identity with His interests and His purpose.
      7. Self and its aims and desires must be controlled entirely by God’s Holy Spirit.
      8. That means that your will and desires are to be in complete harmony with Christ’s will and desires.
    2. We must get to the point where we can pray with St. Augustine, “O Lord, grant that I may do thy will as if it were my will, so that thou mayest do my will as if it were thy will.”
  2. With the Help of the Holy Spirit
    1. Praying “in his name” is actually pretty far beyond us!
      1. But Jesus said in John 14:26 speaking of the Holy Spirit, “The Comforter . . . whom the Father will send in my name”.
      2. Jesus wants us to be controlled by the Holy Spirit whom God sent in Christ’s name.
    2. Jesus said of Saul of Tarsus: “He is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
      1. Not to them, but before
      2. So Paul says: “It pleased God to reveal his Son in me.”
      3. We cannot pray in Christ’s name unless we bear that name before people.
      4. And this is only possible so long as we “abide in” him and his words abide in us.
      5. So we come to this—unless the heart is right, the prayer must be wrong.
      6. Christ said, John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you”
  3. Three Identical Promises
    1. Those three promises are really identical – look at them
      1. John 14:13–14 “Ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
      2. John 15:7 “Ask what you will (if you abide in me and my words abide in you), and it shall be done.”
      3. 1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
      4. And we could sum them all up in the words of John,
      5. 1 John 3:22 “and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
    2. When we do what he calls us to do, then He does what we ask!
      1. Listen to God and God will listen to you.
      2. What an incredible wonder this is!
      3. We should do everything we can to seek to know his “mind,” his wish, his will!
      4. We know that God’s will is the best for us.
      5. We know that he longs to bless us and to make us a blessing.
      6. We know that to follow our own fleshly desires is absolutely certain to harm us and to hurt us and those we love.
      7. We know that to turn away from his will for us will bring disaster.
      8. Why do we not trust him fully totally?!
    3. When a person confesses that they “never get answers to my prayers,” they are not condemning God, or his promises, or the power of prayer.
      1. They are condemning themselves!
      2. The greatest test of your spirituality is your prayer life.
      3. When you try to pray, you very quickly discover just where you stand in God’s eyes.
    4. But when you truly pray “in the name” of Christ, your prayer-life is no longer feeble or unfruitful.
  4. How Can You Know God’s Will?
    1. “In his name” must be “according to his will.”
      1. But can we know his will?
      2. Assuredly we can.
      3. Paul not only says, “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus . . .” (Phil. 2:5); he also boldly declares, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
      4. How, then, can we get to know God’s will?
    2. Do not expect God to reveal his will to you unless you desire to know that will and you intend to do that will.
      1. Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
      2. John 7:17 “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”
      3. Knowledge of God’s will and the performance of that will go together.
      4. We tend to want to desire to know God’s will so that we can decide whether we will obey Him or not.
      5. That is an attitude for great disappointment in your prayer life.
    3. God’s will is revealed in his Word.
      1. What he promises in his Word, you can be sure is according to his will.
      2. You may confidently ask for wisdom, because his Word says, “If any . . . lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
      3. You have to study God’s Word in order to find out his will for us.
    4. But it is the Holy Spirit of God who is our great Helper in prayer.
      1. Romans 8:26–27 “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness; for we do not know what prayers to offer, nor in what way to offer them, but the Spirit himself pleads for us in yearnings that can find no words, and the Searcher of hearts knows what the Spirit’s meaning is, because his intercessions for God’s people are in harmony with God’s will.” (Weymouth translation)
      2. What comforting words!
      3. When you do not know God’s will and you are feel helpless in prayer, then you can cast that prayer upon the Holy Spirit and He will pray in the name of Jesus for you.
      4. We are left without excuse.
      5. We must pray and we can pray.