In His name - Ask
"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24 )
Asking comes fairly natural to us.
Very early in life, little ones realize their little size, along with their little place before others, requires them to do something, almost anything, to make known their wants and needs. They must sit up, stand up, reach up, and speak up to be heard. All actions rise upward. The actions form habits. The habits form character. Getting attention, getting answers, and getting access requires asking.
Jesus guides his disciples about asking. They had been asking; they knew about the role of asking. Jesus says, "Until now..." That means they had asked to learn how to pray. They had asked to be spared from the peril of crashing waves while in the boat on the Sea of Galilee. They had asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus, according to John 16:24, had heard their asking, but up to the present time it was asking without a fundamental feature. It was missing the name of Jesus.
Now the disciples were to ask in the name of Jesus Christ—what's so important here? The "until now" signals something new. The Lord Jesus tells his men that he's going away—this is said 7 or 8 times in the Gospel of John, see chapters 14, 15, and 16. Something like, "But now I go away to Him who sent me..." His going away from them physically, since he is soon to die, resurrect, and ascend to his Father, means Jesus will leave them the good gift of his name! His name carries the full weight of his person and work. His disciples will soon experience his absence, but their prayer in his name gives them assurance of his abiding presence. His name secures Christ-abiding hope in their asking of the Father.
His name does not carry magical power, nor is it to be seen as an accepted tradition on how to finish saying a prayer; instead, his name gives a place from where we plead. Jesus Christ's on-going presence, who he is and what he has done, provides the sure and solid place from which we ask. Rather than asking from our place—our place of our background, experience, and especially to be noted, from our person and achievements or merits, we ask from the place of Christ's life and service before his Father. Since Jesus lived for us, we pray in his name. Since he died for us, we pray in his name. Since he resurrected for us, we pray in his name. No magic here. It's his on-going ministry.
His name of goodness, truth, and love provides the place from which we ask for anything, so that we might receive all that the Father has in store; and it's a place from which we have joy. We know great joys of seeing the gospel make headway in the world comes from prayer in name of Jesus (that's depicted in the Book of Acts), and we know great joys of believing his closeness to us when we experience hardships and tribulations (Jesus told us so: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33).
Today, go and pray. Ask in the name of Jesus and you'll be anchored in solid hope, for Jesus is your hope. "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."