THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL 1
“In that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily I say unto you: Whatsoever you ask the Father in my Name, He will give it you. Hitherto have you asked nothing in my Name: ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in Proverbs … ” John 16:23-25.
This passage came when Jesus knew that the hour had come that He should depart out of the world unto the Father. In His tireless love for His own, Jesus was determined to release unto them whatever vital instructions He had before His physical departure. John begins his account of this from chapter 13. It continued right through to chapter 17 as he summarized several of these vital issues. Here in chapter 16, Jesus offers us His Name in prayer as a guarantee for favour with the Father.
Note in particular that in the verse quoted above Jesus said:
“Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my Name He will give it you”.
This means that anything you request for will be released to you, provided you ask the right person and in the right name. The questions are: does Jesus still mean every word of this statement now as He did then and is Jesus speaking to you and me, His disciples in the twentieth century in the same words? In answering these crucial questions we must not forget what Jesus said regarding His word.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matt. 24:35.
“The words that I speak to you they are spirit and they are life” John 6:63
His words cannot grow old, become outdated, and lose their effectiveness and power. They are incorruptible and immortal. They endure forever. They are life in themselves, they have no difficulty surviving and thriving under any circumstance and in any environment into which they are sent on a mission. It therefore means that whatsoever Jesus says is true forever. Jesus’ promise that whatsoever you ask the Father in Jesus’ name, God will give it to you therefore holds true in your life just as well as it did in the lives of Miss Mary Magdalene and Mr John Zebedee. Your doubts, fears, and seeming contradictory experiences can neither change Jesus, nor yet His word. He stands by His word even now. To benefit from what Jesus says therefore, it is your position rather than His word that needs correction. Adjust your heart to eliminate differences between you and Jesus on the subject. Then you shall know the truth, be conformed to Him and the truth shall set you free.
Let us underline the subject of this discourse before we delve further into it. In verse 24 of our text Jesus says:
” Hitherto have you asked nothing in my Name, ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full”.
Note that Jesus said, “… that your joy may be full”. Dear friend, at this very moment, Jesus is interested as ever in your fullness of joy. When you commit your life to Jesus He first ensures that you get to heaven when you die. He also cares how you fare as His child while here on earth. Jesus has made provision for you to live in fullness of joy all the days of your life. It is my heart’s desire and earnest prayer that God will lead you into possessing and dwelling in this provision eternally in Jesus’ Name.
Clearly the way this fullness of Joy operates is through answered prayer, when such request is made to the Father in the Name of Jesus. Appropriately, Jesus draws our attention to our mistakes regarding prayer, to prepare us for better success thereafter. Let us examine the issues He has raised to ensure that we enjoy this gracious provision for the fullness of joy in our lives.
” …. Hitherto have you asked nothing in my Name”.
According to Matthew Henry’s commentary (Broad Oak Edition, NT page 399) this statement by Jesus refers to either one or both of the following aspects of prayer:
(1)To the name in which we pray: (2) To the matter (or substance) of our prayers.
PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
Acts 4: 12 speaks further on the Name of Jesus as follows:
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”.
The Name of Jesus is the only name recognised in heaven by which a man can receive favour. Notice that the bible says, “… whereby we must be saved”. This condition is a must. Whatever request is made by a man in some other name is automatically discountenanced by heaven and is summarily dismissed. How do we pray in the Name of Jesus? Is this irrevocable condition for answered prayer met by simply punctuating one’s prayer with” in Jesus Name”? God forbid! The Name of Jesus is not meant to be used as a magic code in prayer. Praying in the Name of Jesus is a serious issue that goes beyond choice of words. A name connotes identity. The name a person or thing bears is the identity of it thereof. Praying in the Name of Jesus has more to do primarily with ensuring that the prayer carries the identity of Jesus. The identity of a prayer is determined by its origin, its motive, its character, and the grounds on which it is presented to God.
Does your prayer originate from the heart of God, in agreement with His word and led by the Holy Spirit? Are the motives and character of your prayer in agreement with the life and ministry of Jesus? Does it have the mind of Christ? Is the basis for expecting an answer to your prayer based on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in full atonement for your sins? If the answer to all these questions and such like is in the affirmative, you are praying in the Name of Jesus.
Prayer can be said in the Name of Jesus without reflecting the words: “in Jesus’ Name”. On the other hand a prayer may be heavily stuffed with the phrases “in Jesus Name”, “in Jesus Name” and in Jesus Name I pray,” yet it may not bear the identity of Jesus actually.
A person that would pray in the Name of Jesus indeed must of necessity be an agent of Jesus. An individual who has no desire to know the mind of Christ and to live His life cannot rightly present himself or herself in prayer as bearing His banner. To pray in the Name of Jesus requires that your interest in the subject over which you are praying does not differ from that of Jesus, Jesus puts this in other words in John 15: 7:
“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you”.
This reveals how to ensure by life that your prayers are always in the Name of Jesus. Consequently it guarantees your receiving whatsoever you ask the Father, as a consistent experience of life.
The first requirement here is to abide in Jesus. To meet this requirement, you must live exclusively within the confines of the life of Jesus. Your life should be a subset of His life; not just an intersect, not just a blend or mixture or superimposition with some other life on the life of Jesus. His nature, revealed will and specific guidance for your life should completely and exclusively determine your thought, word and deed at all times. No aspect of your life should contradict the life and message of Jesus. He should be your all in all.
The second and complimentary secret is for His words to “abide in you”. This connotes your being ruled by His “sayings” (Matt.7:24). His words should form the body of truth that governs your life. As your thinking is dominated by the Truth and you meditate on His words day and night then you are transformed by the renewal of your minds (Rom. 12:2). When His word rules your mind, this will naturally affect your talking. Your words will be His words. Your speech shall be seasoned with salt, full of grace and Truth (Col. 4:6). This in turn will affect your deeds, As God told Joshua (Josh. 1:8), and you will not have problems with doing the will of God as long as you ensure that your mouth and mind are controlled by His Words.
This is the lifestyle of a person who bears the identity of Jesus. Such has no difficulty praying in the Name of Jesus, because he or she bears His Name in daily living.
Praying in the Name of Jesus is actually made easy when you bear His Name by life. The question to ask yourself is: What identity do you bear daily by your life? Where do you dwell? Do you dwell in Christ Jesus? Do His words dwell in you? Or are His words occasional visitors to your heart? Could you look to God any moment in prayer and be welcome in heaven. Or will the Father rather ask you, “Whence comest thou?” (Job 1.7). Pray, submitting every aspect of your life to God. Ask for the forgiveness of sins. Pray for the grace of God that you might put Jesus on.