First, the Scripture from John 14:13-14. Read what Jesus said s-l-o-w-l-y…
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.
Now a few points for reflection, rumination, and meditation:
“Whatever.” Whatever? This word doesn’t seem to exclude anything. Whatever? It is hard for me to think that GOD… The Creator would make such an offer given how comparatively unimportant I am. God will hear, listen, and answer 1 person’s request out of 7.15 Billion people?! He hears His own as if they were the ONLY one speaking even if/when the other 7.15 billion are talking to him in hundreds of languages.
“In My name.” That is not the “In Jesus’ name” tag we add at the end of a prayer. “In My name” means those things that are consistent with Jesus’ will, commands, and teaching. If/when we ask anything inconsistent with his will, that prayer is not answered (1 Jn 5:14; Ja 4:3). I’ll come back to this.
“I will do.” Laser in on “will” and “do.” “Will” conveys certainty. Absolute certainty. The element of promise on this is so important Jesus said it twice… once in v 13 and again in v 14. “Do” conveys action. God is not passive in answering prayer, He is massively active… in your life and circumstances as a believer in Christ.
“That.” Here is the linchpin on which the verse hinges. “That… the Father may be glorified.” “Whatever” is modified by God’s glory! Dwell on this. Meditate on it. Apply it to your prayers and requests of God. When our requests are aimed at God being glorified they are answered positively… EVERY SINGLE TIME… without exception. When Jesus asked for the cup of God’s wrath to pass from him, he modified it with… “Not my will be done, but yours.” When Paul asked for the thorn to be removed from his side, he was told no and… “My grace is sufficient for you.” When God answers “No” to our requests, His grace is supplied which is more of him which is better than whatever we requested!
We are all selfish when we pray a great majority of the time. This is why the Spirit intercedes for us according to God’s will. At the same time Jesus prays on the behalf of every believer. Which means that in every situation and prayer: 1) The Spirit prays on our behalf PERFECTLY, 2) Jesus prays on our behalf PERFECTLY, 3) God answers EVERY prayer PERFECTLY on two levels… A) He glorifies Himself, B) Gives us what is ULTIMATELY good for us (NOTE: This is huge. God does not keep ANYTHING from us that is not for our good… Ro 8:32; Ps 84:11-B!). “In (Jesus’) name” is a concluding request, not a “stamp” we put on a spiritual request.
So pray. Pray about EVERYTHING. Pray for whatever God lays on your heart. Then be confident that EVERY SINGLE TIME God will give you what is PERFECT for you… in your situation… FOR HIS GLORY and your ultimate good.
“In prayer God gives what we would have asked for if we knew everything He knows.” (Tim Keller)