Whatever You Ask in My Name…Seriously?
I love giving things to my daughter. I like giving her toys and making her favorite foods. However, I also know that I need to limit these things for her own sake, so she doesn’t become spoiled or have health issues. If I offered her pizza and ice cream every day 3 meals a day, she’d probably be OK with that (Hey, I’d like to join her in that), but I don’t do that because I know it isn’t really showing her love.
God loves giving us things, too; but are there limits there as well?
You may have come across our Bible verses for today before and wondered what Jesus meant or maybe you thought you’d hit the jackpot. “Wait, What? I can just ask for anything I want and as long as I say, ‘In Jesus Name’ I’ll get it?!”
Some people (even famous preachers) have suggested that Jesus is saying that if we believe in Him we can simply ask Him for anything and, as long as we add “in Jesus name” to the end of the prayer, Jesus will give it to us. “Name it and claim it.” But is that really what Jesus is saying? If we go back one verse we find Jesus saying this:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” -John 14:12
Jesus isn’t giving a secret magic phrase to get whatever we want. What if we ask for something which in the end would harm us or lead us away from Him? What if we ask for God to harm someone else who angered us? God isn’t our personal genie nor does He want to give us things that would harm us or others.
What Jesus is saying, however, is that as we believe and follow Him, He is there with us. He will provide for us. As we live and act in His name (as His people) “do[ing] the works [He] had been doing”, we can ask Him to help and to provide for us and He will give that help and providence.
Sometimes we feel like we shouldn’t ask God for help. After all, He’s already done so much for us and we really don’t deserve it. And when we do ask for things, we try to make them “reasonable” or keep it small. Jesus is telling us that we shouldn’t be shy in asking God to help in all aspects of our lives and our ministry according to His good and loving will. In fact, He will give much more than we ask that it may bring Glory to the Father.
I can’t do this without You. Please be with me today. Please guide me and lead me. Please forgive me and keep me from sin. Remind me of Your promises. Work in me to bring You honor and glory today through my words and actions that others may Glorify Your Name. May Thy will be done. I pray this as one marked in Your name.