Text: John 14
Our Heavenly Father, as we bow in this moment, enable us to worship. Father, we find increasingly the most difficult thing we know how to do in the Christian life is to know how to worship, to know how just to be still in your presence and know that you are God. Father, I pray that during these days together, in a very new and revolutionary way you would teach us how to worship, how to love thee, how to know thee. Father, our prayer this morning is the prayer and the pursuit of the apostle Paul as he said I continue to count all things but loss that I may know Him. Father, our heart’s desire, the heart’s desire of this one at least, is that I may know Him. I thank thee that there is far more to Jesus this morning than any of us have ever experienced. Regardless of our knowledge of him, we stand ankle-deep in a fathomless ocean. We stand at the entrance of an inexhaustible mine. Regardless of how many times we have explored it, we have never even yet begun to plumb its depths, and to realize the riches that lie hidden there in our blessed Lord. So we look today, this morning, at this very moment, to the Holy Spirit to enlighten our hearts, to open our eyes, to unveil Jesus to us that we may see him, and as we see him, be able to worship and praise him as we ought. This is our prayer in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Would you open your Bibles to the Gospel of John, chapter 14? When I was a little boy, one year our family took a vacation up into Missouri. I don’t remember the name of the place. The thing I remember is that there was a cave at this particular resort. Out of the cave there flowed a stream that formed what they called and claimed to be a bottomless lake, a bottomless pool. It was crystal clear, and the guide as were standing around the lake, explained to us that they have never been able to find out how deep it is. He said we’ve lowered rope after rope after rope and we have never yet touched bottom. Nobody has ever yet made a rope long enough to touch bottom. He said as far as they knew the lake was a bottomless lake. That really impressed me, especially as an eight year old boy. It impressed me then so much that I backed away from it. I didn’t want to fall into any place where there wasn’t a rope long enough to get me out.
It has since impressed me as I’ve thought about that because I come to passages like this one in John 14 and realize that it is a bottomless passage. I’ve lowered my rope and dipped my bucket into this chapter I don’t know how many times, and I’ve never touched bottom yet. I suppose I could go on preaching out of it and studying it for the next twenty years and I would never touch bottom. I don’t plan on touching bottom this morning. But I do hope the Lord will lengthen our rope a little bit, and maybe we can get a little deeper into it every time so that we will bring up that water that is life. This is one of my favorite passages. John 14:8-20:
Philip saith unto him, LORD, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, 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, Show 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. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, And ye in me, and I in you.
This past winter, I was living with the results of a mistake that a lot of preachers and other folks make. I suppose you could say that I had overextended myself physically, mentally, and spiritually also. I was in a meeting in a certain town, and just to be honest with you, I was just about burned out. You go as far as you can go, and you go longer than you ought to go. Mentally, I was tired. Spiritually, I was exhausted. Physically, I just didn’t really didn’t care if I got up the next day or not. What I am trying to say is that my enthusiasm (bad spot in tape) ———– to go into the pastor’s study one night right before the service, and I noticed on his desk was an article that had been clipped out of a magazine published in 1969, and this was 1974. What caught my eye was a picture in this article of a man that I knew. The article was by this man, Dr. Alan Redpath. I always try to read everything I can that this man writes because he is such a knowledgeable man when it comes to the Scriptures. One thing that intrigued me was that this article was written by him after he had suffered a major stroke in 1964. In this article he was simply relating some of the lessons that God had taught him during the two years of his convalescence.
The article was a tremendous blessing, but the last paragraph of that article was what God wanted to say to me. I discovered where I had made my mistake in the last paragraph of that article and the reason I had overextended myself and was weary in spirit, and mind, and body. It meant so much to me that I wrote it down in the back of my Bible.
You mean so much to me that I am going to share it with you. God used it to relieve me from some tremendous problems during that time. It really wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know. It is amazing the things that I know that I don’t know that I know. I think that must be the height of stupidity—to know some things and not know that you know them. Most preaching is really reminding people of things they already know.
When you come to a railroad, you know that you should stop, look and listen, but there is a sign there anyway. That sign isn’t telling you anything you don’t already know; it is reminding you of something you already know. Again, you’ll find in the New Testament, especially in the epistles of Peter, he is saying I put you in remembrance, I put you in remembrance, I put you in remembrance. Jesus said when the Holy Spirit is come, he shall bring to your remembrance all things which I have spoken unto you. I already knew this, but I guess I didn’t know I knew it. Here is what he said, the last paragraph.
I believe the Lord has taught me this lesson above all: never to undertake more Christian work than can be covered in believing prayer. Each of us has to work out what this means in personal experience in relation to our own ministry, but I believe it is an abiding principle for us all. To fail here is not to act in faith but in presumption. –Dr. Alan Redpath
Now this is the statement: never to undertake more Christian work than can be covered in believing prayer. You say that is easy. On the way to the pulpit last Sunday I said, Lord, bless me. Folks, that is not covering it in believing prayer.
To cover something in believing prayer is to take the time and the energy and the effort to stay with God until you can leave that place of prayer knowing that it is settled. Jesus never went to the cross until in Gethsemane he had first of all covered the cross in believing prayer. When he walked out of Gethsemane, the victory was already won because Jesus had covered that next step in believing prayer. As I read that statement and the Lord spotlighted it to my own heart, I began to think here is the way I schedule things. Somebody says can you do such and such a thing. I say let me check my calendar. If I have an open date on the calendar, I say I can do it. But I suddenly realized that I need two open dates on the calendar, not only the date for the time it is going to take to do the work but also a date for the time it is going to take to cover that work in believing prayer. Normally in a church work somebody comes to you and says do you have time to do such and such. You look at your calendar and think sure I have time to do that. But do you not only have time to do that, but do you have time to first of all cover it in believing prayer? I agree 100% with what this man has said. To do anything in Christian work without first of all covering it in believing prayer is not to act in faith; it to act in presumption. That means our service becomes sin.
We are going to relate this to the Scripture because this is exactly what Jesus is trying to say to his disciples in this passage. You and I ought to never undertake than we can cover in believing prayer. Can you imagine how that might change your work schedule? I’m talking about your church work now. The reason we don’t consider that is because we do not consider prayer as important as work. Well, that statement itself betrays ignorance.
Prayer is not substitution for work, nor is prayer preparation for work, but prayer is work. The hardest thing I do is pray. You say don’t you just ever have an easy time in prayer and enjoy praying. Oh yes, much of the time. But I will tell you that my mind rarely wanders when I am preaching. I don’t have any trouble keeping my mind on my message when I preach, but I can be on my knees one minute and I’m way out yonder in the back forty. And I don’t even have a back forty to be in, but I am there. My mind wanders over there, and runs out here, and it runs out there.
Dr. Stephen F. Olford said the most fierce temptations I ever receive I receive when I am on my knees in prayer. Why?—because the enemy of our souls fights us in prayer more than anything else. I am convinced he doesn’t mind at all my taking the time out to preach if I haven’t taken the time out to cover it in believing prayer.
How much work are you and I doing in the name of Jesus that has not been bathed and covered by believing prayer? This is what Jesus is saying to his disciples. Look at this passage for a moment. I want you to see the sequence of what Jesus is saying. Jesus has been speaking some strange and foreboding words to his disciples. They have an idea something bad is about to happen. They just can’t get away from it. Jesus is talking about leaving them. I believe he can read the frustration and the fear on their faces. I know what I would have thought if I had been one of those disciples. I would have thought my soul, I’ve made such a mess of things while Jesus was here; what is going to happen when Jesus is gone? What Jesus is endeavoring to do in this passage is to encourage his believers about his absence.
Notice what he says. Philip says, Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough. Now for all the disciples did not know, give them credit; they knew that much. A vision of the Lord is all you need. Show us the Father and that will be sufficient. Jesus said, don’t you know? Have I been so long time with you? Don’t you know if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father? Jesus is saying I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.
Look what he said in verse 10:
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.
Now, here is what Jesus is saying to his disciples. He is saying you misunderstand. You are cherishing my bodily presence. You are clinging to my physical presence, and you are filled with fear and frustration because my physical presence is going to be taken from you. He said, the secret of my life and the secret of my success and the source of my sufficiency has never been my physical presence. Have I been so long time with you? Do you still not understand that the words I’ve spoken have not been my words; they have been my Father’s words. The works I’ve done; they have not been my works; they have been my Father’s works. My physical body is the secret or the key. You are learning about my leaving you and saying the works will finish and cease. How are we going to carry on if the physical presence of Jesus is taken from us? He said, fellows, the physical presence of Jesus never was the secret of the ministry. Everything I said, it was the Father dwelling in me who said it. Everything I did, it was the Father dwelling in me who did them. What Jesus is saying is this. My absence will in nowise diminish my work. As a matter of fact, verily, verily, I say unto you that rather than my leaving ceasing and finishing my works, as a matter of fact if you will just go on believing in me and trusting me, the works I’ve done you will continue to do. As a matter of fact, even greater works than these shall you do because I go to my Father.
He is saying there is no excuse, no reason, for this miraculous, marvelous ministry you have seen and witnessed in my life to cease. My physical absence will not affect it all. As a matter of fact, my physical absence will increase the works.
He is seeking to encourage them. He said, whatever you ask, whatever you ask, whatever you ask in my Name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Do you see what Jesus is saying? He is saying, men, I want you to learn how to live a miraculous life. You live it by prayer. He said the way I did my works was this way. My Father gave me everything I said. My Father did through me everything I did.
As you read through the gospels, you’ll see Jesus again and again living his life by prayer. Before every great decision Jesus prayed. Before every great act Jesus prayed. I see him standing before the tomb of Lazarus, and he prays to his Father. I see him the night before he chooses his disciples spending the night in prayer. I see him as the activity of the ministry begins to increase and intensify withdraw from the multitudes and goes out to a lonely place to be alone with his Father. I see the disciples getting up in the morning looking for Jesus. He is nowhere to be found, and they see coming back from the mountain where he has been all night in prayer. I see Jesus even before he goes to the cross staying on his knees until he has every victory won that enables him to go to the cross. I see Jesus as he says to Simon Peter, Satan hath desired you. He is going to turn you inside out. That’s all right. I have prayed for you and you are going to be all right. I hear the word of the Lord that says even now at this very moment Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father interceding for me.
The secret of the ministry and life of Jesus, both past and present, was the fact that he lived that life by prayer in dependence upon his Father. He is saying to his disciples and to us, if you will live by the principle I live by, you’ll be able to experience the power I’ve experienced. The principle I lived by was absolute dependence upon my Father in prayer. If you will live by that same principle, absolute dependence upon me in prayer, the works that I do you shall do also, and even greater works than these shall you do because I go to my Father. Greater works? You say, what do you mean “greater works”? Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. What could be greater? Lazarus died again one day, but when I preach the gospel and somebody is saved and there is performed in them a spiritual resurrection, they will never die again. On the Day of Pentecost they equal and excel the works of Jesus—greater in quality, greater in quantity. But he says the secret is learning to live by prayer.
I can’t help but think of what James says in that fourth chapter. (By the way, it is a good little sermon outline there if anybody is looking for one.) There are three not’s, three “not’s” on a log. He said: (1) ye have not; (2) ye ask not; (3) ye receive not. You have not because you ask not.
That is a pretty apt description of the normal church, or the abnormal church. It is a pretty apt description of the normal Christian life as you and I know it today. You have not. We are a bunch of have-not’s, and our churches that have not. The reason we have not is because we ask not. It is just that simple.
I use the word secret a lot of times. It’s just a title. I don’t know how you could call anything that public a secret. He said you have not because you ask not. What is so secret about that? Well, the secret of it is that you and I have never discovered it. The simple explanation for any deficiency in your life or your ministry is this: you have not because you ask not. Isn’t that an oversimplification? I don’t think so. I can prove it because the one thing that you and I do less of than anything else is what? Asking! I am constantly having people pose this question to me: what’s the reason for my unanswered prayer? I usually say the reason for your unanswered prayer is your un-offered prayer—more than likely. The greatest problem in the church of Jesus Christ today is not unanswered prayer; it is un-offered prayer. Jesus is simply saying to his disciples that if you learn to live by the principle that I live by, you’ll be able to exercise the power that I have exercised; and the works that I have done you will do also—and even greater works than these shall ye do because I go to my Father. Learning to live by prayer. I want us to examine this teaching of the Lord Jesus: living by prayer.
I. This kind of praying is the result of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a little phrase that Jesus adds to verse 12 that is the key to the whole business. Let’s look at verse 12 again:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; (Here it is. Why? Why, Lord?) because I go unto my Father.
Because I go unto my Father. I believe that one of the most underrated, un-taught and un-preached doctrines in the Bible is the doctrine of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. But did you know that it is one of the most vital and important teachings in all the Word? What he is saying is this. The reason you are going to be able to do greater works, the reason you are going to be able to live by prayer (and anything you ask in my Name is going to be done), is why? Because I go unto my Father. Jesus is saying don’t worry about my physical absence. It is expedient, it is necessary, it is profitable for you that I go away. As a matter of fact, the very fact that I’m going away is going to enable you to do far more than you could ever have done had I remained with you. He is simply saying this kind of praying, living by prayer, is the result of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus.
There is absolutely no way you and I can deal with the whole truth of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus. It is a marvelous truth. We are going to be able to touch on only one area of it. There are a lot of things that are involved in our relationship to Ascension of the Lord Jesus. Jesus meant a number of things, and there are a number of reasons why his Ascension enables us to do greater works. I will mention only one this morning for the sake of time.
When he ascended to the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit. You see, Jesus, at his Ascension, was no longer limited by the flesh. When Jesus was here on earth, he was limited by time and space just as you and I are. He could only be in one place at one time. Mary and Martha could say to him in John 11, Master, if you had been here, this would not have happened. You and I can’t say that today because Jesus can be everywhere at one time. By his Holy Spirit he indwells every believer, and Jesus is able to do far more than ever before. Why?—because he is no longer limited by the flesh, but also because you and I are no longer limited by the flesh. He says, I will not leave you comfortless (the way the King James says it). Literally, he is saying he is not going to leave us as helpless orphans. I am not going to leave you helpless. He says I am going to pray the Father, and he will send you another one just like me. He will be in you. Jesus is saying this: you are going to be able to do far more than ever before. You are going to be able to live by prayer because I go to my Father. When I go to my Father, I am going to send you an Ascension gift, the Holy Spirit, and he is going to be indwelling you. He is going to give you the power to pray and the power to do.
The secret I am convinced (here we are again—the word secret)—which makes prayer more than just meaningless words is this truth right here: praying in the Holy Spirit. When Jesus ascended to the Father, he into you heart and my heart the Holy Spirit. One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is to enable us in our prayer life.
We naturally must go to Romans 8:26-27 to see what this involves. I am going to read it out of the King James Version and then read it out of another translation that makes it much more clear. Paul says:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Now I am going to read William Sanday’s translation of these verses. You can find this in his commentary on Romans out of the International Critical Commentary. This one of the old standard commentaries, and Dr. Sanday was one of the foremost New Testament and Greek scholars of his day. In his commentary on Romans, he translates Romans 8:26-27. It is a tremendous translation.
Nor are we alone in our struggles. The Holy Spirit supports our helplessness. Left to ourselves we do not know what prayers to offer or how to offer them; but in those inarticulate groans which rise from the depths of our being, we recognize the voice of none other than the Holy Spirit. He makes intercession, and his intercession is sure to be answered; for God, who searches the inmost recesses of the heart, can interpret his own Spirit’s meaning. He knows that his own will regulates its petitions, and that they are offered for men dedicated to his service.
There are two things the Holy Spirit does in enabling us to pray:
He originates the petition.
We do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Holy Spirit helps us in knowing what to pray for. One of the grandest experiences in the prayer life is when Holy Spirit is so in control of your life, you are so walking in the Spirit that he can speak to you and lead you and you are so sensitive to his leading that he can give you the very petition that you are to pray. He originates the petition.
There have been a lot of times when I have knelt, and I haven’t known what to pray for. I have been in a church and haven’t known what to pray for in that church. Somebody will ask me to pray for such and such. Many a time I have been up against a decision or a problem, and I have not known what to pray for. As I have waited before the Lord, quieted my heart and waited for the Spirit, he has gently and gradually and with great enlightenment brought to me the very petition I am supposed to ask. He will originate the petition and show me exactly what I am to pray for.
There have been many times when I have perhaps been driving down the highway and, all of a sudden, there drops into my heart a petition. Suddenly, there is put upon me a desire, a burden, a necessity to pray for somebody. What is that? That’s the Holy Spirit prompting you to pray, leading you to pray. Ever once in awhile, when I am doing something else, not even thinking about praying, somebody will come to my mind—and perhaps a need they have, and it will be the Lord saying I need to pray for such and so right now.
Last September we were in Denver, Colorado in a conference, and a very dear friend of mine, a lady I feel is one of the greatest intercessors I’ve ever known, was there in Denver. She came up to me and said I want to tell you something that happened to me about a month ago. She had a little prayer diary. When God leads her in prayer, and she prays about things, she writes it down. She said she wanted to show me something in her prayer diary. She said, on a certain Sunday morning (and she named the date), when I got up that morning, suddenly I felt a deep need and burden to pray for you. I didn’t know the need, the problem, the burden, if there was any special difficulty. I didn’t go out that day. All day I prayed as the Holy Spirit gave me things to pray for. She said I found out later that was the exact day that your Mother died. It was on that Sunday morning when we received the phone call that my Mother had died. We had to make all the preparations, get ready, and drive. The Holy Spirit so had control of that dear saint of God that he was able to originate in her petition, after petition, after petition, and she was interceding for me without even knowing my need, my problem.
Jesus said that you can live by prayer. Why? Because I go to my Father, and when I go to my Father, I will send the Holy Spirit, and he will enable you to pray by originating the petitions in your heart.
The Holy Spirit articulates petitions.
Notice what he says: with groanings which cannot be uttered. But in those inarticulate groans which rise from the depths of our being we recognize the voice of none other than the Holy Spirit. He makes intercession, and his intercession is sure to be answered for God who searches the inmost recesses of the heart can interpret his own Spirit’s meaning.
Let me tell you what that means. I have a burden on my heart, and it may be for a particular person, or a particular church. I may not even know what it is for, but there is such a burden on my heart. Perhaps I am so burdened for this person, and yet I just can’t articulate. I can’t put my burden into words. Sure, you have. Have you ever had such a burden and heaviness over a need, a decision, somebody away from the Lord, that your burden has been so great you’ve not even been able to vocalize what is in your heart? I want to tell you what happens. As you kneel there in the throne room of heaven, and you are not able to vocalize, articulate, put into words the burden that is on your heart, incapable of expressing the burden that’s on your heart, do you know what is going on at that moment? The blessed Holy Spirit who indwells you knows that burden, takes that burden and articulates it to the Father, interprets it to the Father. Sometimes I don’t even have any idea what the burden is, or how to say it, or just really what to pray for. I trust the blessed Holy Spirit in those times and seasons of intercession and prayer is at that moment taking to the Heavenly Father my burden. He is interpreting to the Father what I cannot interpret. He is articulating to the Father what I cannot articulate. That’s what this translation says. That is what Romans 8:26-27 says. The Holy Spirit enables us to pray beyond our ability to pray.
Then he says something else. The God who searches the inmost recesses of the heart can interpret his own Spirit’s meaning. He knows that his own will regulates his petitions, and that they are offered for men dedicated to his service. Do you know what he is saying? Do you know what I do around Christmas time? I start searching the hearts of my children. I hate to just come out and ask what they want for Christmas. That sort of takes the surprise out of it. I usually have to resort to that because I’m not too good a searcher. We will start listening and watching. What are we watching for? We are searching their hearts for an indication of what they need and what they want. As a father I search my child’s heart and listen, trying to get some idea of what he needs and wants.
Do you know what he is saying? The Heavenly Father is constantly searching my heart saying what does he need or want. Sometimes I don’t even know what I want. That’s right. Most of the time I don’t even know what I need, but the Holy Spirit who indwells me knows exactly what I need. Do you know what? When the Father searches my heart, the Holy Spirit says, Father, he needs such and so. The Father answers the Holy Spirit’s intercession on my behalf. I am having needs met that I haven’t prayed for. Do you know who’s praying for them? The Holy Spirit is voicing those needs to the Father. The Father is searching your heart this morning and wanting to know what it is that you need. The Holy Spirit says, Father, he needs this. That prayer is sure to be answered for the Father knows that the Holy Spirit is always regulated by the will of the Father. So he is constantly meeting needs on your behalf that I haven’t prayed for, you haven’t prayed for, but the Holy Spirit indwelling you has prayed for. So you can live by prayer. That’s the only way you can live. This praying is result of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus.
Prayer rests or relies on the authority of our Lord.
Jesus says, if you shall ask anything in my name. The name of Jesus represents the authority of Jesus, if you shall ask anything as my representative. In other words, he is saying when I pray, what right do I have to approach the Father? What right do I have to ask the Father to meet this need, send revival, save this person? By the authority of the Lord Jesus because when I go to the Father, I go to him in Jesus’ name. What am I saying? To go to the Father in Jesus’ name means a great many things I’ve covered in other messages. I want to cover this one aspect briefly. It means that I am acting on behalf of the Lord Jesus and in his place. I am acting as his representative. I am acting for his sake. The ultimate, primary motive in prayer is not my sake, but it is Jesus’ sake. When I am facing a prayer need, or praying for a person, or praying for a situation, the primary consideration is not what that person wants, or what I want, but it is what does Jesus want? As I pray for this church as your pastor, there are a lot of things I want for this church. But that is not to be the motive of my praying, what I’m to pray for, not what I want. I am first of all to search out the mind of the Lord and to discover what does Jesus want? What does Jesus want for this church? He may want something different than I want. I hope not. I hope that he and I walk so much together, that I am so in tune with the Lord Jesus and so sensitive to his will that I know what he wants. But the primary consideration is not what I want, even not what you want. It is what does he want? To pray in the name of Jesus means that my petition is in harmony with the will of Jesus and I act as his representative. I ask for what he wants.
Let’s suppose that I go to Brazil, to help out Bro. Boswell, our missionary from Brazil. We are glad to have him with us this morning. Let’s suppose that he gets sick. So, I am in a church there. I stand up and say, folks, Bro. Ronnie has fallen ill and I am here in his name, as his representative. We are going to have a dance, and we are going to serve champagne. Somebody would say, friend, you are not here in Bro. Boswell’s name; you are not representing Bro. Boswell. I don’t know who you are representing, but I know you are not representing Bro. Boswell because he would never approve of that.
The first thing I need to know is what Jesus wants. What is his purpose? When I know his purpose, I can go to the Father and say, I pray in Jesus’ name. I’m doing this in the authority of Jesus. I am asking as his representative. It serves well not only in prayer but in every area of the Christian life. We live in the authority of the Lord Jesus. So in all that it means to pray in the name of Jesus, it also means I am to pray as his representative. I am coming to the Father saying this is what Jesus wants. I have never one time found it in the Scripture where the Father ever disappointed his Son. He always gives what his Son wants.
This prayer releases the ability of Jesus.
Verse 13: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father
may be glorified in the Son. (In verse 14, he repeats it.) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
I will do it. Notice that he doesn’t say I will help you do it. He says I will do it. In verse 12, he says you are going to do it. In verse 13, he says I am going to do it. Make up your mind. Which is it? It is just the way it was with Jesus. I see Jesus. Following along seeing what he is going to do, I see him as he is approached by ten lepers. He says a word, and those ten lepers are healed. Jesus did it. Well, yes, from your viewpoint Jesus did it. But from Jesus’ viewpoint the Father did it. It is one thing for the world to look at us and say see what they are doing. But you and I must always understand that it is what the Father is doing through us. As I said earlier, if I lived by the principle Jesus lived by (which is the Father dwells in me and I simply ask and receive from him), I experience the same power that Jesus experienced. So he says in that day when the Holy Spirit descends upon you and indwells you, you will know that I am in the Father, the Father is in me, I’m in you, and we are all one, together. Whatever you ask in my name, I will be doing it. He says you do it, and I do it. It doesn’t meant that I sit down and am absolutely passive. God never dispenses with man’s effort energy. He never does. It is this: he comes upon us with his power, with his presence, and what I do, he’s the one who is really doing it.
A number of years ago I heard about a little boy. One day he had been out playing cowboys and Indians. He had been riding a stick horse. (Did you ever have a stick horse when you were a little boy? I can see my stick horse now. I really can. It was a long stick and had a little leather strap tied around the head of that horse. It’s just in the last few years that I have given up playing cowboys and Indians. I loved to play cowboys and Indians when I was a little boy.) He had been riding that stick horse down the alley, up the street, over the hill, around the block. He came in that night, and he was plumb tuckered out. His daddy said, son, why are you so tired? What have you been doing? The little boy said he had been playing cowboys all day. He said real cowboys have real horses, but I have to do my own galloping.
Do you know what God said to me back in December in a motel room as I read that article by Dr. Redpath? God said, son, you’ve been doing your own galloping. Jesus said, if you ask anything in my name, I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I’ll do it. The Christian life is to be lived by prayer. Never undertake more Christian work than can be covered in believing prayer. To do so is not to act in faith, but it is to act in presumption.
Let’s pray together.
© Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2005