John 16:23-24. Ask

Jn 16:23 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. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

When can I have anything at all? When will all my prayers be answered? ‘In that day…’ The day when grief turns to joy (v22). The day when Jesus’ disciples see him again, even after he has been taken away from them. Logically, Jesus is referring to the day of his resurrection and beyond, in three days time, and then forever.

As Christians looking back in time at Jesus’ resurrection we would place ourselves in this period when the Father gives us whatever we ask in Jesus’ name. And yet, very often it feels like not every one of our prayers are answered in the way that we intended or hoped. Did we miss something? Did we get ‘the formula’ wrong— in Jesus name?

To “ask in Jesus’ name” is not merely signing off at the end of our prayers with the special formula that reminds God of this promise and so twists his arm into complying with our request. It’s not about the add on, just before the word amen. It’s about our stance; our motive, and our mission.

When asking in prayer in Jesus’ name we stand before God as Jesus would, as though we were him. Throughout John’s gospel Jesus has been declaring that he has been sent from the Father, with his authority, to complete his mission. He has come in his Father’s name. His stance before humanity was entirely conditioned by his Father’s purpose. And so now, as we turn to the Father in prayer, we have a similar stance. We stand before him, not on our own merits, not asking for our motives, nor seeking to complete our mission. Before the Father in prayer, we are as Jesus: commissioned to do his will, authorised to enact his mission his way, and clothed in his righteousness. As a ‘stance’ for prayer before God, it is truly breathtaking.

The result of such prayer will that Jesus’ mission is furthered and our joy will be full.

So stop reading this and start praying!