One of my early childhood memories is of going to the grocery store with my mother. After she loaded our cart with food, she pushed it (with me inside) to the checkout counter. There the cashier rang up our purchases and told my mother the total. Mom then took out a piece of paper from her purse, filled in the amount, signed her name, and handed it to the cashier.
This seemed like magic to me. I couldn’t understand what made this small piece of paper so valuable. Years later, I learned about bank accounts and checkbooks and discovered this simple fact: a check is only as good as the funds on which it is drawn.
Mom could sign her name to a million-dollar check, but that wouldn’t make her check worth a million dollars. However, if a billionaire signed his name to a check, that would be a different story.
This is the principle behind Jesus’ amazing promise in our verse today: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
To pray in Jesus’ “name” means to “draw on his account,” to depend on his omnipotence. It means that we are asking him to answer us not because of our merit but out of his grace.
This humility is important to correct a frequent misunderstanding about prayer. In our post-Christian culture, it’s easy to get the idea that basic Christian activities like prayer are an accomplishment and worthy of a divine response. If we get up early to pray, even better. If we pray consistently, our faith must have reached another spiritual tier. It’s as though we deserve for our prayers to be answered simply because we prayed them.
The opposite is actually true. We have no achievements that we can draw on, no “money” in our bank to withdraw. Anything God does in answer to our prayers is the result of his grace, not our accomplishments.
So when we pray “in Jesus’ name,” this means far more than simply adding these words to the end of our prayer. It means that we acknowledge we have nothing to offer but are appealing to the grace of God and his generous sacrifice and love. We “sign Jesus’ name” to our check so it is drawn on his “account.”
And when we pray with such humility, Jesus promises, “I will do it.”
today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison
1. Meditate on your Father’s omnipotence. Reflect on the power that spoke the universe into being.
“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5).
2. Reflect on how little you have to offer in light of God’s greatness.
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).
3. Bring your needs to your Father with humble dependence on his grace.
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Your needs are greater than you can meet, or you wouldn’t need to pray about them. The same is true for those who need your intercession today. God offers us good news in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
When we pray for a great spiritual awakening to sweep our land, when we intercede for friends and family facing overwhelming odds, when we ask God to do what only God can do, we are positioning ourselves properly before our omnipotent Father. So let’s continue to pray in expectant humility. The greater your needs, the greater the opportunity to reveal his power and demonstrate his grace.
Will you ask God to reveal his power and grace in answer to your prayers today?
Let’s continue to pray in expectant humility. The greater your needs, the greater the opportunity to reveal his power and demonstrate his grace.