". . . Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." -- John 14:13.
Jesus revealed His purpose in answering prayer when He said, ". . . That the Father may be glorified in the Son." In order to achieve His exalted purpose to glorify the Father, the Son has bestowed on His redeemed people the inalienable right to ask anything in His Name. In the clear light of this remarkable truth it is not difficult to perceive that the possibilities in prayer are as great as the purpose of the Son of God. It is likewise apparent that every prayer offered in the Name of the Son must be offered for the specific purpose of obtaining the things which glorify the heavenly Father.
The Saviour was near the close of His public ministry with His disciples when He delivered His parting address preserved for us by John. In His closing address He speaks to the men whose training time has about ended. He instructed His messengers in the "Sermon on the Mount" to pray, believing and trusting the Father to give them all good gifts; but in His closing discourse He points to something higher to be accomplished through prayer and faith. These faithful men were to go and perform His works, even greater works than He had achieved during His ministry in the world. The Master disclosed to them that praying in His Name was to be the channel through which the enabling power was obtained to perform the works which glorify the Father in the Son.
When Jesus said, ". . . I go to my Father," He was obviously speaking of His ascension to the right hand of God. His exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high began a new epoch in the praying and working of the disciples. The Saviour had imparted power to His chosen disciples while with them in the world, and He now purposes to enable them to do greater things for Him. He has promised to impart the power from heaven to accomplish greater works for Him in the world. He ordained His chosen apostles to go and bring forth fruit, saying,
"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." -- John 15:8.
The indomitable courage they had to witness for Him, the miracles performed in His Name, and the sufferings endured for His sake, were living testimonies of the power received through the fervent prayers offered in His Name.
What is true regarding the Saviour's works achieved by His faithful disciples is likewise true regarding His works to be accomplished by His faithful people in this present age. The same Christ who worked in them and through them in that day, is the same changeless Christ who wills to work in and through His people in these last days. If the people of God expect to perform the works of Christ which shall glorify the Father, they must believe on Him for the very work's sake, and pray in His Name.
We can perceive our responsibilities to Christ when we consider His words regarding the greater works to be accomplished for Him in the world. Apparently the greater works to be performed are not works more excellent in quality, but works greater in quantity. Perhaps the ministry of Jesus did not extend beyond the borders of the land where He lived and died. But it is obvious that He fully intended that the whole world should feel the spiritual impact of His invincible power through the preaching and praying of His ransomed people. Therefore He filled His faithful witnesses with the Holy Ghost and power and sent them unto the uttermost part of the earth to perform the works which glorify the Father in the Son. Let us ever be mindful of the fact that power to achieve the greater works for Christ is obtained through prayer and faith. A man cannot achieve the works of Christ through his eloquence and education; he must fervently pray in the Name of Jesus, and receive power from Him in order to accomplish the works of God in this pleasure loving age.
As long as Jesus was in the world, He performed the works of the Father; devils fled at His word of command, the sick were healed, and the poor had the Gospel preached unto them. When He returned to the Father, His works from the throne of grace must be performed through His praying and trusting people. The oneness between the Lord on His mediatorial throne in heaven and His people on earth is so divinely perfect, that He meant it as the literal truth when He said, ". . . Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
It is for the express purpose of accomplishing the works of Jesus in this present world that such great promises regarding prayer have been given to His people. But His people are not at liberty to claim the Saviour's promise, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it," in order to obtain something very special for themselves. His certified promise does not authorize us to make him a servant of our own comforts in life. The Master has assured us that the Father is mindful of our personal needs, and wills to give good things to His children, but our creature comforts are not the things which matter most in this life. Our chief concern should always be to obtain power through prayer to achieve the greater works for Christ.
A careful study of the Saviour's words reveal that it is His purpose to glorify the Father through the life and love and labors of His redeemed people. When once we fully comprehend this amazing truth it will not be difficult to understand the meaning of the praying that glorifies the Father in the Son. When Jesus said, ". . . He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also. . . ," He revealed the obvious fact that a man has both the mental and moral capacity to perform the works of God in this world. It is apparently true that all men do not have the same natural abilities to serve God in this world. The Master disclosed this truth in His parable relating to the Kingdom of heaven.
"Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability . . ." -- Matt.25:15
Jesus would have us understand that each man shall be rewarded according to his faithfulness in performing his assigned task. The Master will not require more than any man is capable of doing for Him. It is impossible for any man to accomplish the works of Christ unless he first possesses the works of Christ in his own heart. We must not overlook the fact that moral character and moral conduct are so intimately related that one does not exist apart from the other. A man's character is always exemplified in his conduct. The Saviour said,
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good . . ." -- Luke 6:45
Jesus revealed the effective cause for achieving His works when He said,
". . . The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." -- John 14:10
Paul stated this sublime truth when he said,
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." -- Phil.2:13
It certainly is possible for Almighty God to impart the inherent qualities of His divine nature to a redeemed soul, seeing that He did impart His image and likeness to the first man in the original creation. When Jesus said, ". . . I go to my Father," He was speaking of His death on the cross and His ascension to the throne in heaven. If we sincerely believe in the provisional sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we must believe that the inherent graces of mercy, truth, and holiness together with the fruit of the Spirit can be produced in the heart of mortal man.
When we request Christ to perform His works in our hearts we are devoutly praying that the Father may be glorified in the Son. We must open the doors of our hearts and extend to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit the right to rule us for ever, when we truly pray that the Father may be glorified in His Son. Jesus assured us that the heavenly Father would make His abode with us in answer to prayer. Surely a people so signally blessed would be able to exemplify the greater works of Christ in their diligent labors. It is apparent that our Lord has not limited the power made available to His people through prayer in His Name. When He said, ". . . I will do it," He placed His unlimited power at our disposal. He reveals himself to be an Almighty Servant standing ready and willing to do anything and everything pertaining to His works in answer to prayer. While meditating on these amazing promises it is necessary to keep in mind that the primary purpose of Christ in answering prayer is, "That the Father may be glorified in the Son."
The measure of our faith and the fervency of our prayers determine the effectiveness of our labors for Christ. If our faith is weak and our praying passionless we cannot expect to achieve much for Him. A man can ease his accusing conscience by explaining that he failed to accomplish the works of Christ because of adverse conditions where he lives and labors. When a man is willing to face the facts, he may discover that he failed because he had not believed in Christ for the very work's sake, and prayed fervently in His Name. We cannot justify our failures by pleading our lack of natural ability. I am persuaded that God does not impart a greater measure of natural ability to us when we are saved by grace, but I do firmly believe that He releases the powers of our souls when we give ourselves to Him. Only the Creator knows the latent forces and inherent potentialities in an immortal soul. When these spiritual powers are released by the indwelling Spirit of God the whole world can feel the dynamic force of a living Christ.
When Jesus said, ". . . Believe me for the very works' sake," He was pleading for a faith that would not fail to give the message of redeeming love to the whole world. He was thinking of the generations yet unborn when He gave us the right to ask anything in His Name. While Jesus was in the world, mankind could see His miracles, hear His messages, and be blessed by His ministry. The astonishing fact is that the people of yesterday saw Him crucified, dead and buried, but cared very little about Jesus of Nazareth, the penniless preacher of Palestine. They were too engrossed in their own affairs of life to be impressed by a suffering Saviour. The world of today is too busy to be bothered with thoughts of life eternal. It is God's will to reveal the Son's works to a perishing world. He has willed that the works of His Son shall be accomplished in this present world through the labors and consistent living of His people.
Let us heed the pleadings of the Christ, and believe His promise to answer our prayers that the Father may be glorified in His Son. Let us continue to believe on Him for the very work's sake and pray in His Name for power to achieve the victory for Him on earth. No matter how sorely we are tried, nor how dark the hours may seem in times of sufferings, we must continue to pray that the Father may be glorified in the Son through our services and sacrifices in His work. Let us ever keep in mind that the countless years which have fled into the dateless past have not outmoded the works of Christ, neither shall the oncoming ages overthrow them. His glorious works of grace performed in our hearts and exemplified in our living and labors shall glorify the Father in the Son throughout all ages, world without end.