by Andew Murray
Chapter 24 of his book, With Christ in the School of Prayer
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do . . .If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it . . .that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give to you . . .Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive . . . At that day ye shall ask in my name" (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24, 26)
Until now the disciples had not asked in the Name of Christ, nor had He Himself ever used the expression. Here in His parting words, He repeats the word unceasingly in connection with those promises of unlimited meaning: "Whatsoever," "Anything," "What ye will" He wanted to teach them and us that His Name is our only, but also our completely sufficient, plea. The power of prayer and its answer depend on the right use of the Name.
What is a person's name? It is a word or expression in which a person is represented to us. When I mention or hear a name, it brings to mind the whole man, what I know of him, and also the impression he has made on me. The name of a king includes his honor, his power, and his kingdom. His name is the symbol of his power. And so each name of God embodies and represents some part of the glory of the Unseen One. The Name of Christ is the expression of everything He has done and everything He is and lives to do as our Mediator.
What does it mean to do a thing in the name of another? It is to come with his power and authority, as his representative and substitute. Using another's name always presupposes a common interest. No one would give another the free use of his name without first being assured his honor and interests were as safe with that other person as with himself.
What does it mean when Jesus gives us power over His Name--the free use of it--with assurance that whatever we ask in it will be given to us? The ordinary comparison of one person giving another, on some special occasion, the liberty to ask something in his name, comes altogether short here. Jesus solemnly gives to all His a general and unlimited power to use His Name at all times for everything they desire. He could not do this if He did not know that He could trust us with His interests and that His honor would be safe in our hands.
The free use of someone else's name is always a token of great confidence and close union. Someone who gives his name to another stands aside to let that person act for him. Someone who takes the name of another gives up his own as of no value. When I go in the name of another, I deny myself. I take not only the name of another, but himself and what he is, instead of myself and what I am.
Such use of a person's name may be the result of a legal union. A merchant leaving his home and business gives his chief clerk a general power by which he can withdraw thousands of dollars in the merchant's name. The clerk does this, not for himself, but only in the interests of the business. Because the merchant knows and trusts him as wholly devoted to his interests and business, he dares put his name and property at his command.
When the Lord Jesus went to heaven, He left His work--the management of His Kingdom on earth--in the hands of His servants. He also gave them His Name to draw all the supplies they needed for the due conduct of His business. Christ's servants have the spiritual power to use the Name of Jesus only insofar as they yield themselves to live only for the interests and the work of the Master. The use of the Name always supposes the surrender of our interests to Him Whom we represent.
Another use or a name may be because of a life union. (In the case of the merchant and his clerk, the union is temporary.) Oneness of life on earth gives oneness of name: A child has the father's name because he has his life. Often the child of a good father is honored or helped by others for the sake of the name he bears. But this would not last long if it were found that it was only a name, and that the father's character wasn't present in it. The name and the character or spirit must be in harmony. When such is the case, the child will have a double claim of the father's friends. The character secures and increases the love and esteem extended at first for the name's sake.
It is the same with Jesus and the believer. We are one; we have one life and one Spirit with Him. For this reason we may proceed in His Name. Our power in using that Name, whether with God, men, or devils, depends on the measure of our spiritual life-union with Christ. Our use of His Name rests on the unity of our lives with Him.
The Name and the Spirit of Jesus are one. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name" means "in my nature." With God, things are requested according to their nature. Asking in Christ's Name doesn't mean that at the end of some request we say, "This I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ." It means we are praying according to His nature, which is love that doesn't seek its own will, but only the will of God and the good of all creatures. Such asking is the cry of Christ's own Spirit in our hearts.
The union that gives power to the use of the Name may be the union of love. When a bride whose life has been one of poverty becomes united to the bridegroom, she gives up her own name to be called by his, and has the full right to use it. She purchases in his name, and that name is not refused. This is done because the bridegroom has chosen her for himself, counting on her to care for his interests because they are now one.
The heavenly Bridegroom does nothing less. Having loved us and made us one with Himself, what can He do but give those who bear His Name the right to present it before the Father, or to come with it to Himself for all they need? No one really gives himself up to live in the Name of Jesus without receiving in ever-increasing measure the spiritual capacity to ask for and receive in that Name whatever he desires. My bearing of the name of another shows that I have given up my own name and, with it, my own independent life. But just as surely, it shows I have possession of everything belonging to the name I have taken instead of my own.
The common comparison to a messenger sent to ask in the name of another, or a guilty person using the name of a guardian in his appeal, is defective. We are not praying in the name of someone who is absent. Jesus Himself is with the Father. When we pray to the Father, it must be in Jesus' Name. The Name represents the person. To ask in His Name is to ask in full union of interest, life, and love with Himself, as one who lives in and for Him.
Let the Name of Jesus have undivided supremacy in my heart and life! My faith will grow to the assurance that what I ask for in that Name cannot be refused. The Name and the power of asking go together. When the Name of Jesus has become the power that rules my life, its power in prayer with God will be seen, too.
Everything depends on my own relationship to the Name. The power it has on my life is the power it will have in my prayers. There is more than one expression in Scripture which can make this clear. Do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus" is the counterpart of "Ask all." To do all and ask all in His Name go together. "We shall walk in the Name of our God" means the power of the Name must rule in the whole life. Only then will it have power in prayer. God looks not to our lips, but to our lives to see what the Name is to us. When Scripture speaks of "men who have given their lives for the Name of the Lord Jesus," or of one "ready to die for the Name of the Lord Jesus," we see what our relationship to the Name must be. When it is everything to me, it will obtain everything for me. If I let it have all I have, it will let me have all it has.
"Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do." Jesus means that promise literally. Christians have sought to limit it because it looked to free. It was hardly safe to trust man so unconditionally. They did not understand that the phrase "in my Name" is its own safeguard. It is a spiritual power which no one can use further than his living and acting in the Name allows.
As we bear the Name before men, we have the power to use it before God. Let us plead for God's Holy Spirit to show us what the Name means, and what the right use of it is. It is through the Spirit that the Name, which is above every name in heaven, will take the place of supremacy in our hearts and lives, too. Disciples of Jesus! Let the lessons of this day go deeply into your hearts. The Master says, "Only pray in my Name; whatsoever ye ask will be given." Heaven is opened to you! The treasures and powers of the spiritual world are placed at your disposal to help those around you.
Learn to pray in the Name of Jesus. He says to us, as He said to the disciples, "Hitherto ye have not asked in my Name: ask, and ye shall receive." Let each disciple of Jesus seek to avail himself of the rights of his royal priesthood, to use the power placed at his disposal for his work. Let Christians awake and hear this message: Your prayers can obtain what would otherwise remain undone! O awake, and use the Name of Jesus to open the treasures of heaven for this perishing world!
Lord, teach us to pray.
Blessed Lord! It seems as if each lesson You give me has such depth of meaning that if I could just learn that one, I would be able to pray properly. Right now I feel as if I only need to pray for one thing: Lord, please teach me what it is to pray in Your Name. Teach me to live and act, to walk and speak, to do everything in the Name of Jesus, so that my prayer cannot be anything else but in that blessed Name, too.
Lord! Teach me to fully grasp the precious promise that whatever I ask in Your Name You will do, and the Father will give. I realize that I haven't fully attained, and that I don't completely understand, the wondrous union You mean when You say, "In My Name." Let me hold on to the promise until it fills my heart with the undoubting assurance that I can ask for anything in the Name of Jesus.
O my Lord! Let the Holy Spirit teach me this! You did describe Him as "the Comforter, Whom the Father shall send in My Name." He knows what it is to be sent from heaven in Your Name, to reveal and to honor the power of that Name in Your servants, and to use that Name alone to glorify You. Lord Jesus! Let Your Spirit dwell in me and fill me! I yield my whole being to His rule and leading. Your Name and Your Spirit are one. Through Him, Your Name will be the strength of my life and my prayer. Then I will be able to forsake everything for Your Name, and proving that this, indeed, is the Name above every name.
Lord Jesus! Please teach me by Your Holy Spirit to pray in Your Name. Amen.