And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.- John 14:13-14 (NIV)
It saddens me when I think about the way these verses have often been used to justify things such as greed. Apparently many believe that exotic vacations, elaborate homes and a multitude of "stuff" brings glory to the Father. How so? It is foolish and dangerous to build a doctrine on one single scripture alone and yet that is what happens. The problem is compounded when we forget that words have more than one meaning. We must not neglect to take a look at the context, use tools to make sure our particular definition of the word is correct and compare it to other scriptures as well.
Nowadays, many interpret the words "in my name" to simply mean that if you say the name of Jesus, He will do whatever you ask. That's not what this phrase means. People like @bethy+ who live in a country where there is a monarch, could probably explain this far better than I as an American can but I will try.
Let's say that you are in the employment of a king. The king commissions you to go out and carry out business on his behalf. In ancient times you might have a particular token the king has given you such as a ring or seal or you might have documents which he has endorsed with his seal. This means you are his authorized representative. He has given you the authority to act as his agent. You are doing his business in his name.
Now, what happens if you go out under the king's authority but do something contrary to his will? If you hire someone to be your agent but they do not do things according to your wishes, you would have a little chat with them, right? You would make it clear that they are not the boss, you are. If they change their ways and begin to properly do things "in your name", all is well. If they don't, you would be very foolish if you didn't strip them of their authority and fire them. I'm pretty certain that the Queen of England or any other head of state would do so.
So what these verses really mean is: whatever you ask as God's representative (in His name), according to His purpose not yours, He will do. We need to remember that we are not called to do our will, we are called to do God's will. Every prayer we utter must be in the attitude of Christ which was "not my will but thine".
James addresses the issue of motive in the fourth chapter of James. He writes:
|And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:3 (NLT)|
Let's remember to check our motives and make sure that we are not praying "my will be done" rather than "thy will be done."