In Jesus’ Name
Violent storms swept through North Texas a couple of nights ago, bringing hail, heavy rains and tornados. During the storm a car is blown off the highway landing upside down, mostly underwater and sinking deeper by the minute into a nearby lake.
Several cars driving by stop and six or seven people jump from their cars and rush to the scene. Someone records what happens next on their cell phone and our local news station played it back for us last night. We watched as the would-be rescuers in the darkness of night frantically try and fail and try again to save people from drowning in the sinking car.
“Don’t help us,” we can hear a hysterical woman screaming from the front seat of the sinking car. “My babies are in the back. Get them! My babies, my babies!” “Get the babies” a man’s cries could be heard joining the woman. Both father and mother are in a panic and insist that their babies be saved first. Several long minutes pass as we watch nervously. The group of good Samaritans struggle feverously to smash the back window and pull the two babies out from their watery grave. They try again and again.
Finally, one lifeless baby is pulled from the submerged car and then the other baby. Neither baby is breathing and the frantic rescuers don’t waste a second. Two of the rescuers start CPR on the two babies while the rest of the rescuers pray around them. The mother and father pull themselves out of the submerged car and fall on the ground gasping. One baby starts breathing and then stops again. “Come on little one, come on” you can hear one of the rescuers begging as he works over the baby.
“Father, in the Name of Jesus, give life back to this baby,” another rescuer prays aloud. “Yes Jesus,” another agrees. We watch nervously and we can hear the volunteer rescuer praying as he gives the baby CPR. “In Jesus’ Name let this baby breathe” a woman begs. “Yes, in Jesus Name,” other rescuers join in. The babies are lifeless and not breathing. We think the babies are dead.
We watch in tears as this group of volunteer rescuers who don’t know one another are now all praying and struggling together to get these two babies to breathe again. This motely group suddenly thrown together in the night by this terrible accident are all praying and working together as One! Two in the group are Hispanic, one black, one Asian and three white. Four men and three women and all One. One in the name of Jesus. On a dark and stormy night, the mystical and international Body of Christ shows up and comes together on a lone Texas highway to become the hands and feet of Jesus.
I am crying when the first baby starts to breathe again and really crying when the second baby starts breathing on his own. The parents are crying too. “Praise God,” and “Thank You Jesus” can be heard around the group. Two days later in the hospital where the baby girl is recuperating and doing well, the group comes together again to meet the mother and father of the babies under better conditions. The T.V. cameras are rolling as they all exchange love and hugs and “thank yous” And everyone is crying again. But this time they are all crying tears of joy.
Why were these volunteer rescuers praying “in Jesus’ Name”? Because Scripture teaches that we come to the Father through Jesus our Savior. And because we are told in Scripture to pray “in Jesus’ Name.” Scripture records Jesus’ words; “I (Jesus) will do whatever you ask in My Name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me anything in My Name and I will do it.” (John 14:13) This is just one of many Scriptures giving believers this precious promise that our prayers will be answered if they are in His Name and if they are in His will.
But you may ask, if Jesus promises to answer our prayers, then why are so many of our prayers not answered the way we want them to be? God sees the whole picture and we don’t. Sometimes we pray for wrong things that are not in “His Name” or in His will. And other times we wait a long time for our prayers to finally be answered.
Over and over in Scripture we read that we should have faith in God. But what is faith? Scripture gives “faith” this definition. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:11) Wow! How in the world can we have evidence (or know for sure) that our prayer will be answered when we can’t see the evidence or have it yet? In this world we have been taught to only believe in what we see and feel. Biblical faith is believing what we haven’t seen or felt yet! The definition of “faith” in the Bible is backwards from what we do naturally in this world.
We believers in Christ are living in this world, but we are citizens of another world – the kingdom of God. Instead of looking at the problems and troubles in this world and becoming discouraged, we look to our God and Father to be able to take care of our problems.
Scripture says that one day Jesus was walking on the water and He invited Peter to walk out on the water to Him. Peter started out walking on the water to Jesus and he was doing just fine. But then Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and looked down at the water. And Peter began to sink when he looked down at the waves. But then Peter looked back to Jesus and he could walk on the water again. (Matthew 14:22-36) It’s the same with us. When we look to Jesus and we trust in God we can walk in faith through all of our problems. But when we look at the waves (our problems) we often start doubting and sinking! When we pray, it is important where we keep our attention.
Other Scriptures tell us this: “And this is the confidence we have in Him (Jesus) that if we ask anything in His will, we know we have the petitions we desire of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) Did you get that? That Scripture verse is saying that we can KNOW that we will have the answers from God if we are praying for something that is in His will. We don’t always know what His will is. But in some cases, we do know His will.
Scripture says that “it isn’t Gods’ will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) If we pray for a loved one or a friend to come to repentance and have eternal life, and we believe, then we know that God will give us what we are asking because we are praying in His will. It may take a long time for the prayer to be answered but we can rest in the fact that it will be done. It is one of our many precious promises!
The Bible tells us: “Ask and it shall be given to you, Seek and you shall find: Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) And: “We have not because we ask not” (James 4:3) Let’s start asking and seeking and knocking! And let’s remember to ask ”In Jesus’ Name.”