"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,
believing, ye shall receive" Matt 21:22.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall
find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one
that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to
him that knocketh it shall be opened" Matt 7:7-8.
If we have a surety in our spirit as to the will of God
in a given situation, we can ask in confidence, and then stand
firm on the ground of faith, waiting for it to come to pass.
When we ask "In Jesus Name" we should be cautious
that we are in union with our Lord; thinking, speaking, and
moving in His will and authority.
If the Lord's will is not known to us, we can place a petition
before the throne and leave it in His hands, asking that thy
will be done. Then we can rest, knowing that He is faithful
and will do what is right and best.
At four different times in John chapters 14-17, Jesus speaks
about "asking." Each time, He progressively lifts
the hearer to a higher realm. He brings us beyond simply asking,
to a Spirit endowed inter-action between us and the Lord.
This developing relationship with the Lord guides us gradually
upward, as a circular spiral, to a higher plane of spiritual
life and experience. It can be envisioned to be like Jacob's
ladder, taking on the shape of a spiral staircase that leads
from earth to heaven. As the circular flow of love between
us and the Lord grows, we are lifted ever closer to His Throne.
In John 14:8, Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father.
Jesus answered, "Have I been so long time with you, and
yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath
seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father
in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself:
but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe
me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else
believe me for the very works' sake" John 14:9-11.
Jesus is telling Philip that first and foremost he must
believe that He is the Son of God. He clearly tells him that
He and the Father are one and that the "works" which
he sees Him do are actually the "works" of the Father.
Then He tells him, "And whatsoever ye shall ask what
ye will and that will I do, that the Father may be glorified
in the Son" John 14:13. The desire of Jesus was to glorify
the Father and to show to the world the love relationship
and unity that He and the Father had.
Note the preface, "In my Name." We must clearly
define "Name." In that time, there was a close relationship
between a person and his name. The two were practically equivalent,
so that removing the name was to extinguish the person, Num
27:4. To speak in ones name is to carry his authority, II
Cor5:20. To pray in the Name of Jesus is to pray as His representative
on the earth, in His Spirit and will; which implies the closest
possible union with Him.
"If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.
If ye love me, keep my commandments" John 14:14-15. Jesus
is saying in effect, "If you have received my authority
to ask and believe that this power is vested in me, I will
do the "works." His very next words, "If you
love me, keep my commandments," makes a connection between
His doing what we ask and our relationship to Him. Keeping
His commandments is an indication that we are maintaining
a true love relationship with Him.
Chapter 15 of John brings us a step higher in this circular
flow of the essence of God, love. Jesus is the well from which
we are to draw, while the Father brings the increase. He likens
this relationship to our abiding in the vine as its branches,
and the vinedresser who tends and prunes the vine. Then He
states, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have
spoken unto you" John 15:3. This establishes the foundation
upon which this abiding relationship with Him is to be built.
The very next word spoken by Jesus is "Abide" which
is repeated seven more times in His teaching about the relationship
between the vine and its branches. He tells us that we cannot
bear fruit unless we abide in Him.
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall
ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" John
15:7. Note that He did not mention His Name; for now, He and
us (the vine and branch) have become joined in a unified will.
Again He states, "Herein is my Father glorified, that
ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" John
15:8. The Father is glorified first in the Son, and then in
"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my word;
even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in
His love" John 15:10. This time, Jesus does not put the
emphasis on keeping His commandments, but rather on abiding
in His Love. Next, He turns from the importance of our having
a vertical relationship with His Father, and focuses on the
necessity of horizontal relationships between us and others.
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as
I have loved you" John 15:12.
The next verses reveal a change in that through our becoming
one with Christ and have so abided in His Love that we have
now become friends with Jesus. Now, as the Son is to the Father,
we can directly approach the Father in His Son's name, instead
of asking the Son to ask the Father in our behalf. Jesus considered
it necessary that our abiding love relationship with Him flow
out to others. This is a pre-requisite to this change in our
"asking," for immediately He repeats the words,
"These things I command you, that ye love one another"
Jesus again tells His disciples that the Comforter is coming.
He encourages them to receive and embrace the Holy Spirit,
for through Him they will come ever closer to the Father and
Son. He then voices the promise of the fulfillment of a oneness
between the Lord and us, "And in that day ye shall ask
me nothing. Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall
ask the Father in my Name, He will give it you. Hitherto have
ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that
your joy may be full" John 16:23-24.
Through our abiding in Christ, we not only become His friend,
but now His Father becomes our Father, and His friends (others)
are now our friends. It is this abiding in Christ that enables
us to keep His commandments, and it is in keeping these commands
that the flow of love increases. Now we can approach the Father
in Jesus' Name that "Whatsoever ye ask, He may give it
you" John15:16. Lastly, in John 16, Jesus is able to
promise that as Has so asked of the Father that it will be
given Him. And He is also confident that when we ask according
to His will, because of the abiding intimate love relationship
that has developed between Himself and His disciples- that
it shall be given to them also.
In this close union between the Lord and us, the Lord does
not just stop there, but it goes beyond even to our asking.
In John 16:24 Jesus said, "Ask and ye shall receive,
that your joy many be full." Therein lies the key; in
that by our asking our requests in the name of the Lord He
is able to respond, bringing joy to the heart of both the
Creator and His creation.