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John 14:12-14 (ESV):

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

vs.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (ESV):

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Will Jesus do anything we ask Him in His name or not?

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    If a heir, a prince, an only son of a king, will say to you: "Since we have became friends, if you ask my father, the king, anything in my name, he, knowing that you are my friend, will do it for my sake". Now, if you will ask the king in his son's name to kill your neighbor Alex in order to marry his pretty wife Sabina, will the king fulfill it for you even if you tell him that you are his son's friend? Not of course! For he will say, "I am sure, immediately my son learns what idiotic and vile wishes you have, he will cease being your friend". How much more in case of the Lord and His Father. Sep 5, 2021 at 21:37
  • I would [profer the same answer as I gave in hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/5673/…
    – Dottard
    Sep 5, 2021 at 22:21
  • Yes the Bible refers to name as “the nature of” or “in the spirit of”. One thing I use to remind myself of the sense in which the Bible uses “in His name” is to think about what it would mean to say, “I do this in the name of love.” I could be lying or telling the truth, and the utterance alone doesn’t determine which. Or in asking, “I ask this in the name of love.” I could say I’m doing or asking something in that name of Christ, but that phrase doesn’t insure that I really am. I usually say “in the name and nature of” in prayers. Does that help at all? I do this in the spirit of Christ.
    – Al Brown
    Sep 10, 2021 at 14:53
  • Only other thing.. it’s instructive that the request is for oneself in the latter case. Almost by definition, requests for myself do not fulfill as I just wrote
    – Al Brown
    Sep 10, 2021 at 15:25

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There is a qualification to "ask." It is to "ask in my [Jesus'] name." It is like asking according to God's will, only Jesus gives us a better understanding of God's will.

Ancient Judaism used “name” in so many overlapping senses that the context tells us more here than the background. In the Old Testament “name” often meant reputation or renown, and when God acted “on account of his name” it was to defend his honor. “In the name of God” could mean as his representative acting on his behalf (Ex 5:23; Deut 18:19–22; Jer 14:14–15), according to his command (Deut 18:5, 7), by his help (Ps 118:10–11; Prov 18:10) or using his name in a miraculous act (2 Kings 2:24). (When rabbis passed on traditions “in the name of” other rabbis it simply means that they were citing their sources, their basis of authority for the tradition.) In prayer, calling on a deity’s name simply meant addressing him (1 Kings 18:24–26, 32; 2 Kings 5:11; Ps 9:2; 18:49). In the Old Testament and later Judaism “Name” could also simply be a polite and roundabout way of saying “God” without uttering his name.

In this context “name” means something like: those who seek his glory and speak accurately for him, who are genuinely his authorized representatives. Nothing could be further from the pagan magical use of names that sought to manipulate spiritual forces for one’s own ends. -- Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Jn 14:12–14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

In My name (vv. 13–14) is not a magical formula of invocation. But the prayers of believers, as Christ’s representatives doing His business, will be answered. John expanded this teaching in his first epistle. He wrote, “If we ask anything according to His will … we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14–15). To ask Me for anything in My name means to ask according to His will (cf. “in My name” in John 15:16; 16:23–24, 26). The word “Me” is omitted in some Greek manuscripts but it is probably correct here. Prayers in the New Testament are usually addressed to God the Father, but prayer addressed to the Son is proper also (e.g., Stephen’s prayer to the “Lord Jesus” [Acts 7:59]). The goal of answered prayers is to bring glory to the Father. Also bearing fruit glorifies the Father (John 15:8). -- Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 323). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

The name of Jesus means much more than we usually ascribe to it. The name, Jesus (Yeshua means “He saves”), is a powerful symbol of the combined essence of all that Israel’s anointed King is; what he says and what he does. To ask something in the name of Jesus is to ask because of who he is, of what he says, and of what he does. There is indeed power in his Name, and we must seek no other. However, we must realize that it is not a simple addendum, or a “send” button, to our prayers. In spite of popular belief, we can pray in Jesus’ name without actually ending our prayer with the well-known phrase: “in Jesus’ Name. Amen.” The main thing here is that Jesus becomes the focal point of Israelite worship, the center of Israelite life. It was not Mt. Gerizim (like for Samaritan Israelites) and not Mt. Zion (like for Judean Israelites) which was the center of God’s presence – but Jesus, and him alone. -- Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Eli. The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel (p. 207). Jewish Studies for Christians. Kindle Edition.

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    Excellent answer - especially the reference about "magical names" to manipulate deities. +1.
    – Dottard
    Sep 5, 2021 at 22:23
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The answer, sadly, is no. Jesus' name is not a magic formula to get what we want. If we ask for something that contradicts God's purpose it will not be granted, even if Jesus' name is invoked.

A good example of this principle is Paul's report that he asked God three times to take away the "thorn" in his flesh that tormented him. God did not do so. The reason Paul cites is that the thorn was given to him in order to keep him from boasting about his spiritual experiences.

7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

We are not told if Paul asked this in Jesus' name, but can we actually believe that if he had done so, God would have acted differently?

A similar example is the case of Jesus asking the God to take the cup of suffering from him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Again, like Paul, he asked three times (Mk. 14:41), demonstrating the ardent nature of the request. But his disciples failed three times to keep watch with him, and God did not accept Jesus' prayer. In the end, he accepted the fact that there was no way to avoid his fate within God's will.

God will not grant every imaginable request made in Jesus' name. The request has to be within the scope of his will. Even Jesus' own prayer was declined in a critical moment.


Note: there are indeed times when human beings can negotiate successfully with God. Abraham and Moses both seem to have "changed God's mind" at times. But this was because their requests did not truly contradict God's will; rather they showed themselves to be true men of God by their willingness to argue with him.

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