Praying “In My Name” -- By: Curtis Mitchell

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 04:3 (Jul 1998)
Article: Praying “In My Name”
Author: Curtis Mitchell


Praying “In My Name”

Curtis Mitchell, Th.D.*

Chafer Theological Seminary

[*Editor's note: Curtis Mitchell earned his B.A. at Biola University, B.D. at Talbot School of Theology, Th.M. at Western Seminary, and Th.D. at Grace Theological Seminary. He taught for nearly 25 years at Biola University and is now Professor of Biblical Studies at Chafer Theological Seminary.]

Jesus revealed a significant condition for successful praying in His Upper Room Discourse. No less than six times, He urged the disciples to ask in My name. We find these six statements in four separate passages. In each Johannine statement, the Lord gives this specific condition, upon which He bases a promise. In each case the promise includes one condition, ask in My name.1 Certainly, the repetition of this condition indicates its importance.

Exegesis

The four passages wherein this prayer condition is explicitly stated we will consider chronologically as we discover them in the Upper Room Discourse.

John 14:13–14

The first reference to prayer by Jesus in His final discourse we find in this passage. In verses ten and eleven of the fourteenth chapter, Jesus emphasizes His relationship to the Father. He claims to be the Father’s perfect representative through whom the Father’s own work is accomplished. He then proceeds to insist that those who are true disciples will do the same Father’s work even in a greater measure (John 14:12). Then, as if coming to the heart of His message, the Lord indicates how these greater works should be accomplished.2

Most commentators take the “that” (ὅτι) of verse twelve as governing the next two clauses: I go to My Father (14:12) and whatever you ask in My name (14:13).3 Lenski opposes such a construction, insisting that verse thirteen begins a new thought and is relatively independent of verse twelve grammatically.4 Westcott acknowledges either possibility as grammatically

sound.5 In view of the overwhelming weight of scholarly opinion, this paper will take verse thirteen as a means by which the greater works spoken of in verse twelve will become a reality.

Hence prayer is directl...

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