Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we further our discussion of what’’s in a name.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
More on What’’s in a Name
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God , even to them that believe on his name: which was born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John, Chapter 1, Verses 12 and 13
Brothers and sisters, Jesus has instructed us that we pray to the Father in his name. Some of us have interpreted this to mean that if we ask the Father for anything that we desired in Jesus’’ name the Father would grant our petitions. Some of us consider Jesus’’ name some sort of magic wand. But our experience teaches us that this is not true.
Some have laid the failure to receive a request made in Jesus’’ name on many factors, like failing to exercise sufficient faith; not being specific as to the nature of the request; not reminding him of what he said in his word; refusing to act as if the request is already granted; and finally the presence of sin in their lives. But even after they have accounted for all of these factors, there still remains the problem of unanswered petitions, even when circumstances are made to fit the answer to the prayer. Strangely missing is the truth that the request was not answered because it was not the Father’’s will. How are we to resolve this conflict between asking the Father in Jesus’’ name for what we desire and the absolute fact that no petition can be granted that is not the Father’’s will?
Let us consider the analogy of an ambassador. An ambassador is a person who represents his government to another government. At no time does the ambassador represent himself. He only represents the interest of his government. He is acting in the name of his government. Now the ambassador may have many personal attitudes towards the policy of his government, but these are not allowed to enter into his representation of his government. If he should allow his personal desires to enter into his representation, his government would disavow his representation, by clearing stating that the ambassador’’s views are not the views of the government that he is representing. When we represent or act on behalf another person, we do so according to the name of the person or institution and not according to our personal desires.
When Jesus lived his life in the flesh, he represented the Father. Since he was human as well as divine, he had many human feelings towards the people he interacted with, but since he was representing the Father, he could not give into those purely personal desires. Many times did he say, he was not representing himself but his Father. And since he was representing his Father, he only did and said that which was representative of his Father. So when we ask in Jesus name, it means that we ask according to his representation of the Father. When we ask in Jesus’’ name, implied in such a request is the understanding that a request made in Jesus’’ name must be according to the Father’’s will. So we resolve the conflict by understanding that asking in Jesus’’ name is the same thing as asking that the Father’’s will be done, for that is the only request that can be answered. If we don’’t know what the Father’’s will is, we can ask in Jesus’’ name, and the Father will reveal his will to us.
When we ask a request of the Father in Jesus’’ name, we should ask in faith, believing that he hears us. When we don’’t get what we requested, we should not assume that we don’’t have enough faith to receive our request. What Father, earthly or spiritual, would have the faith bar so high that, for all practical purposes, we can never clear it? The Father already knows what our true needs are, so there is no need to remind him. The Father stands ready at all times to respond to the spiritual needs of his children. No! We don’’t need to remind him what it says in his so-called word. The Father needs no reminder of what he has promised for his children since his spirit lives within their minds and souls. He is aware of his promises. He has sent his spirit to live in us and to guide and direct us, to love us. We should not be making material or purely selfish requests to the Father, for these cannot receive an answer from the spiritual Father. We should pray for the moral and spiritual power to love our brothers and sisters as Jesus commanded us because this is the Father’’s will and can be answered right away. Such a petition immediately fills us with the moral and spiritual power needed to love our brothers and sisters.
The best petition that we can make to the Father is to seek to know and execute his will. This is the greatest prayer request that we can make. If we seek to know the Father’’s will and to execute that will, this desire will contain all the other moral and spiritual qualities that are needful to successfully master this life, to reveal his love and mercy. Seek the greater and the lesser will be found therein. The decision to do the Father’’s will changes our attitudes, modifies our decisions, changes the purpose of our lives, changes our characters, transcends our physical difficulties, makes us radiators of love and mercy, and makes us Godlike, like Jesus. It empowers us to live our lives even as Jesus lived his: subject to the Father’’s will.
The decision to do the Father’’s will, makes us eternal. "Peace in this life, survival in death, perfection in the next life, service in eternity--all these are achieved (in spirit) now when the creature personality consents--chooses--to subject the creature will to the Father's will. And already has the Father chosen to make a fragment of himself, his spirit, subject to the will of the creature personality. Such a creature choice is not a surrender of will. It is a consecration of will, an expansion of will, a glorification of will, a perfecting of will; and such choosing raises the creature will from the level of temporal significance to that higher estate wherein the personality of the creature son communes with the personality of the spirit Father."
Once we understand that we are to represent the Father through his Son, by allowing him to manifest himself through us to our brothers and sisters, we have a rational basis for prayer. We can connect our prayers to our spiritual function——this means to love one another as Jesus loves us. He is the vine, and we are the branches. When we do this, we can be sure that all of our prayers will be answered in the name of Jesus. We must bear much spiritual fruit, and we should pray that we be given the moral and spiritual fertilizer that will make us supremely productive. The Father will remove all the weeds of evil from around the branches, and the Father will supply the moral and spiritual fertilizer to the soil of our souls so that they can become strong and robust. He will prune the branches of our souls, removing the dead leaves of selfishness and self-righteousness.
Whether we realize it or not, all genuine prayers are in the name of Jesus and are dispatched to him. And this is because Jesus is the full personal revelation of the Father. He represents the Father in all personal matters. "You worship God; pray to, and commune with, the Son; and work out the details of your earthly sojourn in connection with the intelligences of the Spirit operating on your world and throughout your universe.””
The name of Jesus is the name above all other names. All power in heaven and earth has been given to him. He is the "one altogether lovely, chiefest among ten thousand." And when we pray to him or in his name, we should remember what that name stands for: It stands for all that is true, beautiful, and good. It stands for the personal revelation of the Father’’s will. We will always be dependent upon the Son to know what the Father’’s will is. The Son is the Word of God; he perfectly interprets the Thought of the Father and expresses this Word in the Act of the Spirit. Jesus is the perfect demonstration of the Father’’s will. All who pray in his name are seeking to know this will, for indeed he is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him. Since we are made in God’’s image, we must look to Jesus for the model of the image to copy. And this is the main reason why so many prayers are not answered or recognized: Jesus reveals the proper character attitude to be displayed in the face of moral and spiritual challenges; so many of us ignore that beautiful display of spiritual character in our souls while we look for the fishes and bread of selfishness. Yes, by all means pray in the name of Jesus, but pray in truth and in spirit.
This concludes today's message on the further understanding of what’’s in a name. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.