IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRISTBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
The apostle Paul introduces his first letter to the church at Corinth by acknowledging them as the Father's elect children who have the right to call upon the name of Jesus Christ. He also acknowledges that they are the recipients of spiritual gifts from the Father through Jesus Christ:
"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints along with all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place. Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks always to my God [God the Father] concerning the gift of the grace of God [God the Father] that is given to you in Christ Jesus; That in everything you were enriched in him, in all discourse and knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So as for you to be lacking in no gift, awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1.Cor.1:2-7 Para.).
In the New Testament there are many references that show the process by which the Father's elect children are able to access and communicate with him. There are also references that show how certain of the elect are to perform supernatural works and miracles through God's spiritual power.
This study focuses on the meaning of the phrase 'in the name of Jesus Christ' and how it applies to communication with God the Father and the use of his spirit-power; moreover, this study shows the importance of Jesus Christ's name to the elect of God who live in the end of this age and why and how the power of the holy spirit is to be used by the Father's children through the authority of his Son.
In the Name of Jesus
What does the phrase 'in the name of Jesus Christ' really mean to those who are called to salvation and to perform a work for God the Father and Jesus Christ? Why is it necessary to use a name when making requests of the Father, performing physical or spiritual acts in connection with the elect of God, and preaching the gospel message? Is there some knowledge about the names of the Father and his Son that must be acquired in order to have one's prayers or requests to the Father granted? And is this knowledge necessary to access the power of the holy spirit in order to perform a physical or spiritual work?
The answers to all the above questions are very important to all who have been called to salvation during this gospel age, because the answers have a direct impact upon one's ability to secure immortal life in the Family and Kingdom of God. Moreover, the answers impact one's ability to perform various physical and spiritual responsibilities that God may give one during this lifetime.
The technical definition of the word 'name' in both the Hebrew and the Greek languages connotes a mark or the identification of a person or thing. However, many times the name of an individual mentioned in the Bible is used to express that person's authority, character, or reputation. It is also well known in biblical and rabbinical teachings that the phrase 'in the name of ' is used to connect the one having authority to the one from whom the authority comes, and to connect a teacher with the authority and respect of the teacher who taught him.
Just uttering the words 'in the name of Jesus Christ', 'by or through the authority of Jesus Christ', 'on the behalf of Jesus Christ` or 'in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit' has no power or meaning in and of itself. Moreover, these words have no power over anything, nor do they have the power to cause anything to occur in the physical or spiritual realms of existence unless the person who uses these words is authorized to use the authority and power that resides with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
To speak in the name of the Father or Jesus Christ is to use one's authorization as their representative to speak in their stead and on their behalf. It is one thing to just say the words 'in the name of ' or 'on behalf of' the Father or Jesus Christ without understanding what these words were intended to mean and invoke, but it is another thing to understand the concept and power behind these words when they are spoken by one who has been authorized by God the Father and Jesus Christ to use the power of the holy spirit.
The various names of God the Father who is the Supreme Sovereign of all things and Jesus Christ who sits at his right hand as his Son and the high priest of all humanity are very powerful. This is not because the names themselves contain power or the languages in which these names are spoken are somehow holy. Their names have power because the authority and power comes from the two immortal beings whom the names describe and represent.
The expressions, 'in the name of ', 'by the name of ', 'through the authority of ', and 'on the behalf of ', that are spoken before the Father's or Jesus' names have the same conceptual meaning when used to invoke one's delegated authority and power as a son of God. These expressions can be used for the following purposes by the elect of God:
Making the Distinction
When God's people or other people spoke of the true God in both the Old and New Testaments, the true God was always differentiated from other gods by being referred as the God of Abraham, the God of the Hebrews, the God of Israel, the God of the Jews, or the God of gods. This was done so that there would be no doubt that the God being spoken of was a different God from false gods. See Gen.24:12; 28:13; Ex.3:18; 5:1; Rom.5:9; Deut.10:17.
There are many gods in this world, but there is only one who claims to be the Sovereign God of all things, and there is only one who claims to be the Sovereign God's firstborn Son and Savior of humanity. Therefore, the use of the official titles or name(s) of the Father and his Son when speaking of them, or on their behalf, or using an authorization that comes from them, qualifies, defines, separates, and makes a distinction between God the Father and Jesus Christ and the false gods of this world.
When Jesus spoke of God or was asked whom he represented, by whose authority he taught the truth of God, or by whose authority he did supernatural works, he made sure that the people knew that he was speaking of the Sovereign God of all things and that he was authorized to represent and speak for him and perform supernatural works by his power. Jesus spoke of his God as the Father, the true God, my God, and your God (Jn.20:17), which left no doubt that he represented a God who was superior to and different from the gods of this world.
When the apostles and others of the early congregations of God spoke of God, they defined whom they were speaking of and by whose authority they were preaching and performing supernatural works. Therefore, when the elect of God speak of God, they should also make a clear distinction between God the Father and Jesus Christ and the gods of this world. This basic truth must be emphasized when representing God the Father and Jesus Christ or when preaching the gospel message or performing any supernatural works on their behalf.
WHAT IS THE FATHER'S NAME?
One of the primary reasons that our Redeemer was sent to earth was to reveal the Father and his name to his chosen people. It is extremely important to understand that the Sovereign God of all things is not the Creator God whom the Israelites worshiped under the Mount Sinai covenant. The Sovereign God of all things is the Father of Jesus Christ who was the Creator God that the Israelites worshiped. Moreover, the Father is the Sovereign God whom Jesus said will be worshiped by all beingsCphysical or spirit. In order to truly understand who the Father is, one must first understand that the Father and the Son are two separate and distinct individuals in the Family of God and that Jesus Christ is the Creator God who became the Father's physical son and his first son of the new creation.
God is a Family
"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Eph.3:14-15 KJV).
Until a person comes to understand that there are two individual and separate God beings who comprise the God Family in heaven at this time, and that the relationship between the Sovereign God (God the Father) and the Creator God (Jesus Christ) is a father-son relationship, almost none of the Bible, including the phrase 'in the name of Jesus Christ', can be clearly understood.
In reference to the Father's name, Jesus says the following:
"I have manifested your name to the men which you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept your word" (Jn.17:6 KJV).
"O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared to them your name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn.17:25-26 KJV).
Jesus says that he revealed the Father's name to his disciples; therefore, it must be possible to discover what the Father's name is and what he wants to be called by those whom he has called to be his sons.
The Sovereign Father
"And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will . . . He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, your will be done" (Matt.26:39-42).
"And it came to pass, that, as he [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in the earth" (Lk.11:1-2). See also Matt.6:9-10.
From these examples in Matthew and Luke, it is clear that the Sovereign God of all that exists wants to be called 'Father' by those whom he considers to be his sons. Moreover, he is our Father, which is what his firstborn Son who is the Savior and Redeemer of humanity says to call him. The English word 'Father', which is used in these two texts is translated from the Greek word 'Pater' and is from a root word that means 'nourisher', ' protector', and ' upholder', and it connotes fatherly care and someone who has absolute authority as a father.
WHAT IS OUR SAVIOR'S NAME?
"Therefore the Lord [the Creator God] himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel [God is with us]" (Isa.7:14). See also Isa.8:8-10.
The prophet Isaiah said that the Savior would be named Immanuel. In a later prophecy he was inspired to reveal many other names for the Savior and Redeemer of humanity (Isa.9:6). Both Joseph and Mary were told to name the Messiah 'Jesus', and that he would be the Immanuel spoken of by the prophets (Matt.1:21-23; Lk.1:28-35).
Who Did Our Savior Say He Was?
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He said to them, But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to him, You are blessed, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father that is in heaven has revealed this to you" (Matt.16:13-17 Para.).
In the Book of Revelation Jesus calls himself the 'Alpha and Omega', and he is also called 'The Lamb', 'The King of kings' and 'The Lord of lords'. The scriptures clearly show that our Savior and Redeemer who is the Christ and God the Father's son has many names by which he is known.
GOD HAS MANY NAMES
Below are some of the many names and titles of God the Father and Jesus Christ and the meanings of these names, which show the true character of these two immortal beings.
A Mighty One
Exalted One; Most High
God the Everlasting One
God Who Sees Me
God of the Covenant
El-Elohe Israel .............
God of Israel
God With Us
Lord, God, Deity
It is important to understand that the name of a person has no significance, meaning, or power in and of itself. A name serves only to identify a person or a thing. However, names and titles that are applied to God the Father and Jesus Christ help describe their individual attributes, character, and authority. When one studies the attributes and character of God the Father and his son, it becomes clear that it is impossible for any one name or number of names to fully describe the Father and his Son.
Not all of the Father's or his son's names are made known in the biblical or historical record (Rev.19:11-12) nor is it necessary at this time in history to have this information. If it were important, all of their names would have been preserved for our use. What is important is that we follow the spirit of the instructions that have been revealed when we access God the Father and use the various delegations of authority and power that have been given to us through the name of Jesus Christ.
Phonetic Sounds of Names
Many people today believe that some words have mystical powers, just as many of the ancients believed. They believe that the utterance of mystical sounds or the speaking of certain words in an ancient language, such as Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, or Latin, have power to alter or influence things and beings in the physical and spiritual realms of existence.
Many people today try to correctly pronounce one or more of the many Hebrew names of the Creator God, God the Father, and the Savior because they feel that, by doing this, they will somehow access God or his power. The problem with this belief is not with pronunciation, it is with the basic concept of this belief. Nowhere in the Bible is there any support for the use of phonetic sounds in this manner. The correct pronunciation of any of the names of the Creator God, God the Father, or the Savior is of no benefit alone. See our study paper concerning the Sacred Names issue.
What we see in the New Testament is the delegation of authority and power to the elect in order for them to communicate with the Father, perform certain works for the benefit of God's people, and proclaim the Father's good news message to the world. It does not matter how one pronounces the Father's and Jesus' name(s), as long as it is done with the proper respect and honor for them. What does matter is having the authorization to communicate with the Father and his Son and to use the Father's spirit-power.
THE FATHER'S AUTHORITY
The Bible clearly shows that all existing authority and power resides in God the Father. It is through his authority and power that all things and beings, whether they are physical or spiritual, are able to exist and exert physical or spiritual action and influence:
"I [Jesus] said to you, I go away and come again to you. If you loved me you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I" (Jn.14:28 KJV).
Paul says, "Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God [God the Father]; but the authorities that exist have been ordained by God [God the Father]" (Rom.13:1 Para.).
While Pilate was questioning Jesus, he asks, "Where do you come from? When Jesus did not respond to him, Pilate said, Why don't you speak to me? Don't you know that I have the authority to crucify you, and I have the authority to release you? Jesus answered and said, You would have no authority over me if it were not given to you from above [from the Father]" (Jn.19:9-11 Para.).
The Father's Kingdom
The apostle Paul was inspired to foretell the presentation of the earth and all righteous individuals to God the Father by Jesus Christ at the completion of the plan for the salvation of humanity. This prophecy clearly shows that God the Father is the Sovereign God who is in authority over all that exists:
"Then comes the end, when he [Jesus Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [Jesus Christ] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1.Cor.15:24-26 KJV).
Paul begins this prophecy with the statement "Then comes the end." But the end of what? This 'end' refers to the end of the physical existence as God the Father arrives to make the earth the focal point of his realm. See our study about the Festival of the Eighth Day for details concerning this awesome event:
"For he [God the Father] has put all things under his [Jesus Christ's] feet. But when he says all things are put under him, it is manifest that he [God the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Jesus Christ]" (1.Cor.15:27 KJV).
Paul speaks of a time far into the future when all resistance to the Kingdom of God will have been overcome and Christ will rule as the Supreme Sovereign of the earth for his Father:
"And when all things shall be subdued to him [the Father], then shall the Son [Jesus Christ] also himself be subject to him [the Father] that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all" (1.Cor.15:28 KJV).
THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST
"Then the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, saying, All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth" (Matt.28:16-18 Para.).
The English word 'authority' in verse 18 is translated from the Greek word 'exousia' which means 'ability to perform an action', 'and the right, authority, or commission conferred by a higher court', and it denotes external power. The Father has delegated to Jesus Christ the authority and power over all the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence in order for him to carry out the work that he has been charged with throughout the Kingdom of God. Only the Sovereign Father is above Jesus Christ in authority and power, because the Father is the Sovereign in whom and from whom all authority and power resides and emanates.
The Father has given Jesus Christ all authority and power (1.Pet.3:22). However, does this mean that the Father is not involved in the decision making process concerning the salvation of humanity? It is clear that the Father has retained the right to chose those who will be called to salvation before Christ's return as conquering King (Jn.6:44, 65) and that Jesus Christ is under the authority of God the Father (1.Cor.14:25-28).
Jesus is second in authority to God the Father and he is directly responsible to him for all things. The Father has authorized Jesus Christ with full discretionary use of his spirit-power, but other physical and spirit-beings (good and evil) are limited in their use of his power. If this were not so, the plan of God for his human creation could be frustrated and impeded.
Jesus Came in His Father's Name
"But I have a greater witness than John's, for the works that the Father has given me, that I should finish these works which I do, they bare witness concerning me. And the Father who sent me has himself born witness concerning me . . .. I have come in the name of my Father, and you do not receive me . . ." (Jn.5:36-37, 43 Para.). See also Matt.21:9; 23:39; Mk.11:9-19; Lk.19:37-38.
"And Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ tell us plainly. Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep" (Jn.10:23-25 NIV).
Matthew 8:5-10, 13 Paraphrased
The Jews were constantly questioning and challenging Jesus' authority to teach the word of God and to perform the great works that he did; however, there were a few individuals who understood his authority to do these things:
"When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came beseeching him, and said to him, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of palsy, and is greatly tormented. And Jesus said I will come and heal him. But the centurion said to him, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only say the word and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant Do this, and he does it" (vs.5-9).
The centurion understood that the power Jesus had did not come from him, but that Jesus was under the authority of a higher power and had been delegated the authority and power to heal and perform supernatural acts at his discretion:
"When Jesus heard this, he marveled, and said to them that followed him, Truly I say to you, in Israel I have not found such great faith as this . . .. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so shall it be done for you. And his servant was healed in the same hour" (vs.10,13).
Jesus Christ did not come to earth representing himself and his own authority. He came by and with the authority of God the Father to represent the Father and his kingdom to the world:
"I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me" (Jn.5:30 KJV). See also verses 36-38.
The Kingdom of God is extremely organized and functions within a hierarchal structure. The Father who is the Supreme Sovereign over all that exists has delegated all authority to his son to perform his will throughout his kingdom, and his son has delegated some of his authority to the Father's elect children.
ACCESS TO THE FATHER
Just uttering the words, 'in the name of Jesus Christ', 'in Jesus' name', or 'by the authority of Jesus Christ' alone has no authority or power to access the Father or his power, because these are not magic words. These words are only representations of the office and authority of Jesus Christ through which we are authorized to communicate with the Father.
In order to establish communications with the Father and use the power of his holy spirit, a person must be authorized to do so. This authorization is given by the Father to the sons of his new creation through his first son, Jesus Christ, who is the Redeemer and Savior of humanity. It is through being called to salvation, having repented of sin, being washed free of sin by the sacrificial blood of Christ, and being transformed into the Father's son, that we are authorized to communicate with the Father and use his spiritual power.
Before Jesus Came
Before Jesus came to earth, most people did not know of the existence of God the Father and could only communicate with the Creator God who later became the Messiah. But after Jesus' death, resurrection, and return to heaven, those called to salvation during the gospel age were authorized to communicate directly with the Father:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. . .. At that day you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God" (Jn.16:23-24, 26-27 KJV).
It is through the authority that is represented by the name of our Savior that we are allowed to have access to the Father. This is an extremely important point, because the Father will not hear our requests unless we approach him through the office of his Son. One must be authorized to communicate with the Father, and this authorization comes through our Savior.
All who are the brothers of Jesus Christ are authorized to speak with the Father as a child speaks to their parent. Because we are spiritual sons, we are treated as family members with rights and privileges that are only afforded to members of the God family. This is why the apostle James said, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (Jms.5:16). As a firstborn son, one has tremendous influence with the Father to affect people's lives and the course of history. This is another reason why it is extremely important to understand the awesome meaning of one's authorization to communicate with the Father and make requests of him as a son through the name and authority of Jesus Christ.
WHY COMMUNICATE WITH THE FATHER?
Communication with the Father is an extremely powerful and readily available tool for use in the spiritual growth and development of those called to salvation. The elect have free access to the Father and they can bring praise, needs, desires, frustrations, and other thoughts to him:
"You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you" (Jn.15:16 KJV). See also Jn.16:23-26.
God the Father and Jesus Christ want the elect to use this tool of access and communication to grow toward spiritual maturity and perfection. For this powerful tool to be effective, one must be earnest and consistent in its use.
A Perfect High Priest
Under the first agreement with national Israel, the high priest was to act as a bridge between God and his people. Because the High Priest himself was under the death penalty, he was also in need of a perfect sacrifice to be offered to forgive his sins in order to remove his death penalty. Therefore, he and those he represented could never pass beyond the Creator God and into the presence of God the Father, because the Father dwells in heaven and any human allowed to come into his presence must be totally sinless, holy, and righteous. Before the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, no human could qualify to come into the Father's presence, because all were under the death penalty for the violation of his righteous law.
The writer to the Hebrews shows a change in the conditions of the original agreement with national Israel. This change gives the authority to the elect to go directly into the presence of God the Father without going to a physical priest and having him speak to God on their behalf, which was done under the first agreement with national Israel:
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood, being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertains to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedec there arises another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life" (Heb.7:11-16 KJV).
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God" (Heb.10:19-21 KJV). See also Heb.5:8-10.
A Spiritual High Priest
Because Jesus Christ is now the high priest who sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven and because of Christ's sacrifice and the new agreement, there is a new, life-giving way for the elect of God to go into the very presence of God the Father. See Heb.8:6.
Help in Time of Need
Our Lord and Savior understands our human weaknesses, because he was human. Jesus who was the Creator God experienced life as a human. He fully understands human nature and why humans do the things they do. He can intercede on our behalf because he has first-hand knowledge of what it is like to be a human being. He knows how weak the flesh is and he can now tell the Father, who has never been human, how difficult it is to dwell in the flesh. This makes it possible for the Father to understand us, have mercy on us, and forgive our sins:
"Seeing that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet he was without sin. Therefore; let us go boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.4:14-16 Para.). See also Heb.2:14-18; 9:7-25.
"My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is a propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1.Jn.2:1-2 KJV). See also 1.Jn.1:5-9.
"Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right-standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven" (Rom.8:33-34 LBP).
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God [the Father] by him [Jesus Christ], seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them" (Heb.7:25 KJV). See Eph.2:18.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1.Tim.2:5 KJV). See Eph.2:18.
Because Jesus Christ offered his perfect life as the final and supreme sacrifice for the sins of humanity, there is no longer a need for animal sacrifice for sin. However, there is still a need for the forgiveness of sin when it is committed.
Through Jesus Christ's perfect sacrifice the Father has provided a much simpler and easier method by which his people can establish and maintain a harmonious relationship with him. God the Father now allows his children to communicate directly with him through the authority of Jesus Christ as their spiritual high priest. All who the Father calls to salvation during this gospel age are granted the authority to access the Father anytime they want through the name (the authority) of Jesus Christ.
It is very important to understand and consider the awesome privilege that one has in going to the Father in prayer. Although the Father has made a provision to occasionally be attentive to the prayers of those whom he has not called to salvation during this age and will sometimes grant their requests through some mechanism that he has not disclosed in scripture (through Christ, angels, or some other method), it is clear that the only humans that he personally gives an audience to are those whom he has personally called to salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ (Jn.6:44,65).
Although the Father's children may speak to him through the authority of Jesus Christ or use an authorization that he has authorized us to use through the office and authority of Jesus Christ, there are prerequisites that a person must fulfill before speaking to him or using any authorization. Some of these prerequisites are true belief in him and his son, having faith and works, and doing things according to his will.
"These things I have written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1.Jn.5:13 KJV).
John says that a person must believe on the name of Christ in order to have eternal life. Understanding what John is saying is the key to knowing how to make a powerful request to the Father, how to have confidence that he hears our request, and how to perform supernatural works through the power of the holy spirit.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes 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. And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (Jn.14:12-14 KJV).
Although Jesus' promise of being able to do greater works than he did during his earthly ministry can obviously be fulfilled by all who become immortal spirit-beings in the Family and Kingdom of God, this promise will also be honored during the end of this age in order for the elect to proclaim the Father's message to the world just before Jesus' return.
In order to be able to do greater works than Jesus Christ, a person must first believe on Jesus Christ. Moreover, when one makes a request of the Father, one must make the request in the name of Jesus (by the authorization of Jesus).
The word translated into the English words 'believe' (1.Jn.5:13) and 'believes' (Jn.14:12-14) are from the Greek word 'pistikos', which means 'to believe', 'to be persuaded', 'to give credit', 'to have confidence in', 'to really trust', or 'to believe'. In the above scriptures, the words 'believe' and 'believes' mean to have confidence and trust that is based upon Christ and his ability to perform what he says.
Believing entails more than just an acknowledgment of the existence of the Father and Jesus Christ. Many people acknowledge that the Father and Christ exist. Even evil spirits believe God exists (Jms.2:19). However, few people believe to the point that they are willing to seek the Father's will in their lives and follow his teachings. In order for a child of God to have a request granted by the Father or to be able to use any spiritual power that one may be delegated, one must first truly believe and be making a serious attempt to seek the will of the Father in their life.
Faith and Works
James 2:14-18 LBP
"Dear brothers, what's the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren't proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, 'Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,' and then don't give him clothes or food, what good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn't show itself by good works is no faith at allit is dead and useless" (vs.14-18).
It is not enough just to have faith, because faith without works is no faith at all; it is lifeless and useless. However, a person should not try to prove their faith by doing works. True faith itself produces good works, because it is the fruit of God's spirit being manifested in one's life:
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom.2:13).
"Without faith it is impossible to please him: for whoever comes to God must believe that he is, and that he rewards those that diligently seek him" (Heb.11:6 Para.). See also Matt.9:27-29; 10:27-30.
In order for anyone to prove their faith in the promises of God the Father and Jesus Christ, that person must put forth an effort to make and carry out righteous decisions and diligently seek the Father's will concerning whatever situation in which they find themselves. For more details about what faith is, see the section entitled 'Faith' in our study about the spirit of God.
According To His Will
Another important ingredient in the formula of asking and receiving from the Father is that of asking according to the Father's will:
"And this is the confidence that we have in him [the Father], that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: And if he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" (1.Jn.5:14-15 KJV). See also Matt.7:7-11; 21:22.
Even if we ask for something with total belief in God the Father and we are in total obedience to him, we may not receive what we have asked, because it is not within his will for us or his plan for humanity. However, if we have fulfilled the prerequisites he has placed upon us when asking something of him and it is according to his will, we will receive it:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph.5:15-17 KJV). See Col.1:7-10.
MAKING REQUESTS OF THE FATHER
Because the Father wants us to communicate with him in order for him to forgive our sins, fulfill our wants and needs, and help us fulfill our responsibilities to him, there are a number of things that are important to be aware of when communicating with him. First, when going before the Father and requesting that he hear us, it is always good to remember that it is an awesome privilege to be able to come before him, because not everyone on earth has this privilege. Only the Father's son, Jesus Christ, and God's elect children have the authority to communicate as children to the Father. Second, a person must know how to properly communicate with the Father in order to make sure that this communication is viewed in the right light.
Proper use of the Authority to Communicate
Both the Old and New Testaments contain many references with instructions on how to properly communicate with the Father. These instructions should be carefully considered because they were written for our benefit:
"But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you. Don't recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him" (Matt.6:6-8 LBP). See also Psa.91:14-15; Isa.41:17; 58:9; 65:24; Matt.6:25-33; Lk.11:2-13.
"After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name" (Matt.6:9).
"And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth" (Lk.11:2).
Because the Father is extremely concerned for those whom he has called to salvation, he has provided a way for us to clearly communicate our thoughts, emotions, desires, frustrations, or needs to him in order to help us to succeed in our quest for salvation and to fulfill the responsibilities he has given to us as his children:
"And likewise the spirit also joins in to help our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought: but the spirit pleads our case for our groans that cannot be uttered. But the one searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit because it intercedes for the elect according to God" (Rom.8:26-27 Para.).
Truly a person does not always know exactly what they need, or how to express one's emotions, thoughts, desires, or needs. One of the functions of the indwelling of the spirit of God is to act as an information gathering and communication system between a person and the God Family. This function allows the Father and Christ to be aware of the innermost emotions, thoughts, desires, and needs of those called to salvation:
"A man's conscience [spirit] is the Lord's searchlight exposing his hidden motives" (Pro.20:27 LBP). The King James translation renders this scripture: "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly".
Because the spirit communicates one's true physical and spiritual condition to the Father and Christ, the child of God can always have the assurance that, even before they ask anything of the Father, he already knows what is needed.
Who Fulfills our Requests of the Father
Some scriptures tell us that it is the Father who fulfills our request of him, and others say that it is Jesus who fulfills our requests of the Father. Although there seems to be a contradiction as to who fulfills requests made of the Father, there is no contradiction because Jesus Christ is the administrator of the Father's plan for humanity and is charged with the care and protection of the Father's children on earth:
"And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (Jn.14:13 KJV).
"What ever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (Jn.15:16 Para.).
"But when the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, which is the spirit of truth, that emanates from the Father, it shall bear witness of me" (Jn.15:26 Para.).
"But the time is coming, when I shall not speak to you in proverbs, but I will speak clearly about the Father. That day you shall ask in my name: I am not saying to you, that I will ask the Father for you: Because the Father loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came from him. I came from the Father into the world:and I will leave this world, and go to the Father. The disciples said to Jesus, Now you are speaking clearly and not in proverbs" (Jn.16:25-29 Para.).
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds;and to him that knocks it shall be opened" (Matt.7:7-8 KJV).
The authorization to communicate with the Father has been given to each person who has been called to salvation during the gospel age. This authorization should be used often if one is serious about the opportunity that the Father has presented for immortality and eternal life in his Family and Kingdom. The first steps in receiving anything from the Father is to ask for it. Without making a request, one cannot expect to receive anything.
The Father is more than willing to give his children spiritual attributes, qualities, and power to help them succeed. It is his desire to give us the spiritual nourishment and the tools needed to help us grow toward spiritual maturity and perform his will in our life. The Father knows that we need spiritual knowledge, understanding, discernment, wisdom, faith and many other attributes, qualities and powers of the spirit; however, he requires that we be sincere in our asking, and that we make the effort to seek and ask for these things.
The Father Hears Our Prayers
Jesus Christ who was the Creator God of the covenant with ancient Israel inspired the following to be written about God's devotion to his children and the access we have to him and his Father through prayer:
"Call upon me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer.33:3 KJV).
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are opened to their prayers . . ." (1.Pet.3:12 KJV). See also Psa.34:15; Isa.66:2; Dan.10:12; Mk.11:24; Jn.16:24; Acts 10:1-4; Rom.12:12; Col.4:2; Rev.5:8; 8:3-4.
A Powerful Tool
Prayer is an extremely powerful and readily available tool for use in our daily life; it is our communication link with God the Father. Through this vital tool we can go directly to the throne of the Sovereign of all that exists and, as his children, we may bring before him our praise, needs, desires, frustrations, and thoughts for him to consider and take action upon. In order for prayer to be effective, a person must be sincere and consistent in using this valuable tool that the Father has given us to help ensure our success. See also our studies about the spirit of God for detailed information about how the spirit of God and prayer function together for the good of the elect of God.