Saints for the day:Nereus & Achilleus (dates unknown)
Acts 18:23-28 – Psalm 47 – John 16:23B-28
“Jesus says to His disciples: ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” (The opening of today’s Holy Gospel according to St. John)
I’m pretty sure that many reading today’s Holy Gospel and hearing the verse quoted above won’t have to struggle to find many times when prayers weren’t heard. Or more to the point weren’t answered.
So what are we to make of that reality? I think we need to understand three little words in the above quote that might hold the answer: “… in my name!” What, exactly, does it mean? Anybody can use the name of Jesus and many use that name even as a curse. So how do we pray in the name of Jesus? I think that the starting point has to begin with some kind of understanding of WHO and WHAT Jesus is. We have to know that there is a special relationship between Jesus and the Father. In these days of Easter we have heard over and over Jesus telling His disciples that “I and the Father are one.” With the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus returns to the Father and to his in dwelling with the Holy Spirit. God created the world; the Holy Spirit brought it into order and Jesus brought the gift of salvation. This concept of God will be complete when we celebrate Trinity Sunday next weekend. It’s all in the concept of knowing who Jesus is and how He is related to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Praying in the name of Jesus requires that we both know who Jesus is and, also, how we are connected and related to Him. We can’t just come out of nowhere and begin praying in the name and expect quick answers. We have to have some long-term developing connection in order for Jesus to know who we are. If we don’t have some kind of relationship with Jesus through prayer and the good works we do in His name how can we expect to get some dramatic answer to our prayers. When exuberant evangelicals ask me, “do you know Jesus as your personal savior?” I often respond with, “I think it’s more important that Jesus knows who I am!” Hopefully a prayerful, trying to be a loving, modern-day disciple announcing to others the wonder of what Jesus has done in my life. Think about it. Amen?