By T.M. Anderson
"If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." (John. 14:14)
The Father has given all things into the hands of His Son. The Word says, that God hath appointed the Son heir of all things. All power in heaven and in earth is given to Jesus, our Lord: and all praying must be done in His Name, because He is the only Mediator between God and man.
Our right to ask in the Name of Jesus is based upon our relationship to Him, and to the Heavenly Father through Him. A child has a right to ask bread of his father by virtue of his relationship. But a beggar at the door cannot base his right to ask food upon relationship, because he is not a member of the family. The master of the house may give food to the beggar out of pity for his plight. But a Father gives food to his child out of the loving kindness for his own child.
Our Heavenly Father does not answer the prayers of His children because He has pity for them. He answers their requests out of the pleasure of His heart. The Word shows this to be true. Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." (I John. 3:24.) If our hearts condemn us because of disobedience and neglect, we cannot pray with confidence. But if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
The Savior places no limitations on the potentialities and power of prayer in His Name. He said, "If ye shall ask anything in my Name, I will do it." The power of prevailing prayer is unlimited, because the resources of the Father are unlimited. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Our God has resources of power and riches far beyond our finite minds to comprehend, and exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask.
When we examine the Savior's promise to give us anything we ask in His Name, we find the fundamental facts of the prayer of faith. In the words of the promise, the Savior reveals His Word, and His Will, and His work. These three facts are one, and constitute the basic facts on which we rest our praying in His Name.
The prayer of faith must rest first upon the Words of the Savior. The Word of God stands at the beginning of all revealed truth. Christ Jesus is the Word made flesh. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
The Savior disclosed this eternal truth about prayer, saying: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John. 15:7)
I am convinced that there are many people who believe the words of Jesus concerning praying in His Name. They have assented to the truth of His word, but do not have His words abiding in them. This fact is reflected in their living and in their praying. When questioned about the results achieved in prayer, they readily admit that nothing unusual has ever come to pass. When they hear of the unusual manifested in answer to prayer, they are reluctant to believe it to be true.
We must believe from the heart that His promise is true because His word is back of every promise. We must not permit our reasoning to lead us into doubts when we pray in His Name. When we substitute reasoning for revelation we abandon faith and limit the Power of God.
The prayer of faith rests upon the Will of the Savior to answer prayer in His Name. If one will make a careful search of the context, he will find the will of the Savior clearly revealed. The scope of His will embraces all the needs of the children of God. If they need consolation, He said, "I will not leave you comfortless." If they need love, He said, "I will love ... and my Father will love." If they need a revelation of God, He said, "I will manifest myself." These promises are unlimited in possibilities, and they are all expressions of the will of the Savior.
The prayer of faith rests upon the Work of the Savior. "I will do it," said Jesus. There are many things to be given in answer to prayer, and there are many things to be done by the Savior in answer to prayer.
Our children receive both our gifts and our services in life. There are some things to be done for them; things that require action and achievement. The same is true concerning the children of God. Our Lord pledges Himself to act on our behalf; He places Himself under obligation to serve His own children, and work for them in life.
In His infinite condescension He took upon Himself the form of a servant. He revealed this truth in an amazing manner when He washed the disciple's feet. We saw the Maker of worlds in the form of a Servant; the King of kings kneeling at the feet of men. "I will do," said the Master. Yes it is true, He will answer your cry for help. He will show Himself strong and mighty to perform the work of redemption, and bring His people into their eternal inheritance. He is our Defense, and our Delight, and our Deliverer. His eyes are not dim, and His ears are not dull of hearing. His arms are not weak, and His footsteps never lag. He watches over us in the night, and He leads us by day. His hands were pierced by the nails of His cross, but they are hands that hold us securely in His loving care. His feet were wounded by a single spike, but He hurries to walk with us in the winding path of the just, which leads to the home of the soul. He carries our burdens on His strong shoulders, and puts the everlasting arms about us in the embrace of love.
The Architect of the ages has extended His works beyond this world, and has gone to prepare a place for us in the home of the Father. He has laid the foundations of the Holy City on the rock of His eternal Word. When our journey on earth has ended, He will open the gates of gold, and give us an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom. Therefore the prayer of faith rests upon the oneness of the Saviour's Word, and His Will, and His Work.
I have labored to show that the faith to ask anything in His Name must rest upon the Word, and the Will, and the Work, of the Savior. It is now my purpose to show how faith operates on the basis of these three facts. There are numerous passages of Scripture revealing the power of faith but we select only one to show how faith operates in praying in His Name.
"Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:22-24)
The first statement made by the Saviour is, "Have faith in God." If we have faith in His Word, and in His Will, and in His Work. The Savior's next statement shows how faith can engage the power of God to remove the mountain: "Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea."
It is evidently true that the man who has faith in God does not remove the mountain by his own works. He employs the power of God to do the work required to remove the mountain. Therefore according to the words of Jesus, our faith in God can command things to come to pass, and the Omnipotent God will obey the command of faith, and do the work. (See Isaiah 45:11)
Following these amazing facts about the power of faith, the Saviour shows how faith is applied to prayer. He said, "When ye pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have." He reveals that the desire of the heart will be granted on the condition of faith. If we doubt not in our hearts, but believe that the things we say shall come to pass, we shall have our prayer answered. Unbelief is the only thing that can limit the power of God, and prevent Him from answering our petitions.
In order to illustrate the working of God in answer to the prayer of faith, let us think of a man desiring to have the mountain removed. He is aware of the greatness of the undertaking, and knows that he is unable to move the mountain by his own efforts. But he knows of a company that can move it, and plans to engage them to do the work. Before he engages the company to perform the task required, the man must have faith in their word, and in their will, and in their work. His faith in the company will enable him to employ a power that he does not possess.
Now let us suppose that the man desiring to have the mountain removed has a doubt regarding the word of the company he plans to employ. He begins to reason about the possibility of the company being unwilling to do the work required. His unbelief will defeat his purpose, and leave him with the location of the mountain unchanged.
Perhaps the Savior directed our attention to a mountain to impress us with the fact that there are insurmountable barriers which we cannot remove by our own efforts. But we can command the power of God by faith, and He will remove the mountainous difficulties for us.
I am convinced that the littleness of our faith prevents God from doing many things for us which He has promised in His Word. We have allowed our own reasoning to limit our faith in God.
I have heard it said that the day of miracles is past. But where may one find this to be a fact revealed in God's Word? It does not exist as a fact. The man who says that the day of miracles is past, is evidently seeking an alibi to justify his own unbelief.
The Savior said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father." (John. 14:12) Jesus connected this promise with the promise to answer prayer in His Name.
In the light of this truth we cannot doubt the fact of miracles. I cannot doubt the power of God to heal the sick any more than I can doubt His power to save a sinner.
The Savior did not promise to impart a supernatural power to any man to work miracles; neither did He empower a man to save a sinner, or sanctify a believer. But He did link the man that believed the Word of God with a power to pray the prayer of faith to heal the sick, and convert the sinner, and sanctify the believer.
When Peter and John healed the lame man at the gate of the temple they were performing the works of the Savior by faith. Peter said, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" "Through faith in his name (Jesus) hath made this man strong." (Acts. 3:12,16)
We have no power or holiness of our own that can heal the sick; but we have the Name of Jesus Christ: and in His Name we obtain the power to work the works of God.
My prayer is that the Blessed Savior will increase our faith; and enable us to draw upon the unlimited power of God by prayer.