Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. – John 14:12-14
Jesus spoke the words (and others) above to His closest followers as they made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest. Considering that context, is it wrong for us to claim them? Some might say that Jesus’ promise should be limited to these men, but the broader context speaks of the coming Holy Spirit being available to all Christ-followers. With this in mind, I believe that we are right to apply them to our own lives. Whatever a Christ-follower asks, they will receive.
Of course, there are at limits on the “whatever.” First, any request we make of the Lord must be in concert with the content of His character. We cannot expect Christ to provide if we ask for something that is outside His moral teachings and example. Second, the intended outcome of our request must be in line with the purpose given above, “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Will God be glorified if Christ honors your request? Finally, our requests should be made in the context of doing the “works of Christ our Head.” As His body, we continue to live out His life until His return. Our prayers should reflect this reality.
With this understanding, we could expect Christ to positively answer this prayer: “Jesus, in Your name cast out laborers, raise up Your harvest, and provide for their spiritual growth in order that Your kingdom might increase, and Your Father be glorified in every place and among every people (ethne) on earth.”
Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. – Phillips Brooks