Praying in the Name of Jesus Is Not Magic, Just Miraculous



November 2, 2020

John 16:19-24

Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.


Over these past few chapters Jesus has been careful to repeat himself on a particular issue no less than six times. Did you catch it?

1. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (14:13)

2. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (14:14)

3. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (15:7)

4. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (15:16)

5. “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (16:23)

6. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (16:24)

These texts might be filed in the folder labeled, “Not true, or I’m not getting it.” Of course we know they are true so we must try to ascertain why we aren’t getting it. I think it must be a deficiency in our discipleship. Is it any wonder that Jesus waits until the end to share these teachings?

It’s a weak analogy, but think of it like this: I’m not going to give my children a credit card until I am satisfied they have reached a level of maturity and character that they can be trusted with such responsibility.

The name of Jesus is an enormous power and an even greater stewardship. Our capacity to steward this kind of power will never exceed our capacity to sublimate our self-interest to the interest of Jesus. That’s our problem isn’t it: the protection of our own self-interest? Discipleship to Jesus is not about having no self-interest, it’s about abiding in a state of trusting surrender to Jesus, who alone satisfies our self-interested-ness with the interest of his kingdom. Is this not the meaning of, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33)?

I’m pretty sure this is all true and, even more sure, I am ready to start getting it at a whole new level. Praying in the name of Jesus is not magic, just miraculous. And there’s a world of difference.


Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who teaches us what it means to abide in his name, to ask and seek and knock and to receive and to find and to have the door opened. Disciple us to the kind of maturity that we live in the flow of your kingdom and discover complete joy. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.


  1. Why do you think Jesus was so explicit and so repetitive about our learning to ask in his name?
  2. Why is it so difficult to sublimate our own self-interest to the interest of Jesus?
  3. Where are you most challenged in your discipleship today?

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For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.


  1. I love the word of God!! Thank you for the true word and the sharing of the scripture!! I take a bible study called bible study fellowship nation wide, we just did the book of john. I learned so much about sharing God’s word. Which is so hard to do in our world today. So many people are so lost, I pray daily for their souls to be opened to His word!! Thank you again, in Jesus name. The Lord bless!!

  2. The first question brings to my mind the fact that Jesus also gave the Church the “keys to the kingdom” and also in the book of Acts where we are reminded that there is no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved. I admit, that there is power in the name of Jesus that I don’t fully understand. I’ve been told that the demons tremble at the mention of His name. I think the reason we have the problem of conforming our will to his will is a Faith issue. Until we reach a point where we either trust in the power of His name or fail, our default action is to respond in the flesh. I know for myself, my biggest challenge is to deal with attacks from the demonic in my own strength rather than using the available power of Jesus name first, to send them away.