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JOHN 16:17-33

“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.” (verses 23-24)


Jesus has told his disciples he is going away. Grief grips their hearts. Also questions – many of them. “Where’s he going?” “What’s he saying?” “What does he mean ‘a little while’?” “Why’d he say ‘I’m going to the Father’?”

Jesus has told them they will be plunged into greater grief yet (he knew the cross was coming), but then, “after a little while”, their grief would turn to joy, unspeakable. They would see the bigger picture. They would understand what had been accomplished. And then, when Jesus ultimately returns to the Father, they will step into the amazing wonder of receiving the Spirit, to be with them and within them, the Spirit who will lead them into all truth

In that day, this current swirl of questions will end. They won’t need to ask Jesus about them anymore – they will see. But in that day, instead, they will have open invitation to ask the Father of glory, in Jesus’ name, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, for the requests which rise up in their hearts.

Again, I am gripped by the seemingly open-ended nature of these promises. With sentence upon sentence, layer upon layer, Jesus promises that if we ask we will receive. These words are familiar. Ask, seek, knock. Everyone who asks, receives. Those who seek, find. The ones who knock, find the door opened. These are big promises. Yet now, before the cross, Jesus speaks them again. I’m beginning to realize he means them.

Looking more closely, these promises aren’t entirely open-ended. They are deliberately rooted in a common phrase: “in my name.” It strikes me, from the whole chapter, that there is a powerful trinitarian impetus in these words. Jesus wants us to connect with the Father, making requests of him, all the time knowing that Jesus always, only did what he saw his Father doing – so, too, with us. Further, Jesus has told us the Spirit, when he comes, will be another Counselor like himself, therefore giving us access to his own mind and inclinations, even better than walking side by side with him in Galilee. “In my name” draws us into this ongoing intimate connection with Jesus. It’s a position in which we find ourselves embraced by the Father’s love, given access to full relationship with him, empowered by the indwelling Spirit. From that place, Jesus says, make request.

Again, I’m struck by the ongoing journey of prayer. Asking, listening, watching, realigning. And receiving all that Father and Son and Spirit are choosing to work, in and through me.

In this is joy. “Joy in the journey”, as Michael Card says. Jesus would agree.


Father, Jesus beckons me to ask in his name. So I come to you, embraced by your love, asking for greater faith and deeper engagement in my own life of prayer.

Holy Spirit, please instruct me fully in this journey. Lead me into all truth.

And dear Lord Jesus, I want to know more of the reality of being “in you”, asking “in your name”, receiving so that your joy fills my heart.


Pray: Take your prayer requests this morning and ask “in his name.” Imagine each request put deliberately into his receptive hands for shaping and alignment. As you pray, listen for his response.

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