“I will do whatever you ask in my name… you may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
These are profound words from the lips of Jesus. Let’s examine His promise closely. “I will do whatever you ask in my name.” What does that mean? Surely, more than saying “In Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer just before saying the Amen. To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray admitting that God hears me only because I’m the guest of His Son. It’s to pray in the bold but respectful way that Jesus did while on earth.
To pray in Jesus’ name is to ask God for the things Jesus taught us to. He summarizes them in the Lord’s Prayer: spiritual things, eternal things. “May your kingdom spread… May your plans be accomplished on this rebellious planet… Forgive the way I’ve treated you… Keep me from falling for the evil that allures me” (Matthew 6:9-13). Only one request in six deals with earthbound matters, and even there He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” — not, “Bless the Dow Jones Average and please be with the NASDAQ in the next financial quarter.”
Of course it’s not wrong to pray beyond our basic needs — to pray that Susie will find her lost kitten, that none of us will catch colds this winter, and that Christmas will hurry up and get here. God loves to hear preschoolers pray. But Jesus also invites grown-ups to “Cast all your anxiety on him,” and “Pray about everything” (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6 NLV). But do we really think Jesus gave us a blank check for an easy life? Do we imagine we can pray our way clear of trials? Think again, and “in your thinking be adults” (1 Corinthians 14:20).
Your name is precious, Jesus, and I want to come before You in prayer and ask for the sorts of things that are on Your heart. Give me Your ideas in prayer.