As a teacher I have met many different kinds of people, each one with a unique personality that is worth discovering. I’ve never known any of them, however, to go to the school office with the following request: “In the name of my teacher Rob Chaffart, let me use the phone.”
I can assure you, our secretaries would look quite sceptical. They would likely ask the following question: “Do you have permission from your teacher?” And more than likely, that student would not get to use the phone!
In the same way, similar prayers do not work. We can’t just say, “In the name of Jesus, give me a million dollars!” It just doesn’t work that way!
Why? Because these types of prayers don’t bring glory to God!
It is true that Jesus tells us to ask for things in His name, but let’s take a look at the context where he does so: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 NIV) Do all of our prayer requests bring glory to God, or is the glory mostly directed to ourselves?
Why did Jesus die on a cross? To save those who were willing to believe in Him?
But didn’t He also die on a cross to bring glory to God? “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28 NIV)
“In Jesus’ name” does not give us license to ask for every selfish whim, and then expect to receive them! “In Jesus’ name” can only be done if it is according to Jesus’ will, and His will is always to glorify God! “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of him. ” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV)
Our hit and miss prayer approach simply doesn’t work! We need to ask ourselves who we are putting out trust in: In ourselves, or in God?
If we pray to bring glory to God, we will do “greater things than these!” (John 14:12 NIV) However we can only pray that way if we let Jesus be at the helm of our lives, and we follow all of His directions! “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15-16 NIV) The “I” does not always truly know what is best for it!
Some of us like to claim that if God heals us, it will be to God’s glory and we will glorify His name. The desire is earnest, but reality is often quite different from what we foresee. Remember the 10 lepers? Only one came back to glorify God! “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18 NIV) How fast we forget our Heavenly Father in our trek through this world! We are just too wishy-washy!
Are our prayer requests always uttered to the glory of God?
(To view the entire “When Suffering Seems Unbearable” devotional series, please click here.)