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Praying in the Name of Jesus
12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
(following excerpts from BibleTrack.org)
Verses 12-14 have often been abused by well-meaning Believers who want to get things moving. Let's not beat around the bush on this one. They had seen Jesus perform some awesome miracles during the previous three-plus years of ministry. So...when Jesus says in verse 12, "I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father," what do you think Jesus intends to convey? I don't think we need to try to explain away this statement; we simply need to add the formula found in verses 13-14 - the "in my name" formula.
It is common to append the words "in my name" to the end of our prayers. That appendage doesn't make it so. "In my name" absolutely means "under the authorization of." Here's an example: When I was in college, I worked full-time in a bank and eventually became a lending officer/assistant branch manager. As such, I was authorized by the bank under very strict circumstances to sign cashier's checks - sometimes very large. I had NO authority whatsoever to indiscriminately write checks - ONLY when the bank's criteria for doing so was met, and I was authorized by the bank to do so. THAT'S WHAT "IN MY NAME" MEANS!
I am convinced that God still performs miracles today through Believers who are in tune with what God is authorizing IN HIS NAME. Here's the problem today: Many have been taught that there is something magical about the words "in Jesus' name." Armed with that misunderstanding, they claim frivolous things "in Jesus' name" only to be disappointed at their success track record...or lack thereof.
I John 5:14-15 (see notes) provides valuable insight into this issue of prayer where John writes, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." Praying "in Jesus' name" literally means praying "according to His will." When we pray "according to his will," he will always answer that prayer. Of course the key here is to pray "according to his will." How does one know he is doing that? The key to praying "according to His will" is found in James 1:5 (see notes), "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." You can pray with absolute assurance that you are praying "according to His will" when you first pray for wisdom. "Wisdom" in this context is knowing the will of God. After I have prayed for wisdom, I will be impressed by the Holy Spirit with a knowledge of the will of God; that's what wisdom is. Then, I can pray specifically and with confidence in exactly the way God has shown me to pray. Only then can I legitimately pray "in Jesus' name."