Who answers our prayers, the Father or Jesus?

In John 14:13-14, Jesus says he answers our prayers: “I will do whatever you ask in my name,” and “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

But Jesus also says in John 15:16 that “the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name,” which sounds like it’s the Father who does the answering, not Jesus. On the other hand, in John 16:15, Jesus also says, “All that belongs to the Father is mine,” so whatever the Father gives us in answer to our prayers comes from Jesus as well, so now it sounds like both of them are answering our prayers.

John doesn’t make things any clearer either, when he writes later in 1 John 4:21-22 that “we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask.” No mention of whether it’s the Father or Jesus answering; just “God.” And it’s just “God” again in 1 John 5:14, when John writes of “the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

John doesn’t separate the Father and Jesus as to who answers. But the process by which our prayers are answered does separate them, because in John 15:16 Jesus directs us to the Father as the source of every answer, but in John 3:35, “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands,” so Jesus is the agent of every answer. All answers to our prayers, therefore, originate with the Father, but they come to us through the Son. That’s why we pray to the Father, in recognition that everything comes from the Father originally, but we also pray in Jesus’ name, in recognition that everything is now being administered by Jesus, with the Father’s full authority and approval.

What we are acknowledging, then, when praying to the Father in Jesus’ name is the relationship of the Father and Son. By praying to the Father we acknowledge the Son’s love and respect for him, and by praying in Jesus’ name we acknowledge the love and respect the Father has for the Son. We know, then, that when we receive an answer to our prayers it came from that relationship, from the Son wanting to give all glory to the Father by answering us exactly as his Father wishes, and from the Father wanting to give all glory to his beloved Son by giving Jesus his full power and authority to make his wishes happen.

So who answers our prayers? The Father does, and so does Jesus. And we acknowledge that by including them both in our prayers; the Father as the original giver and Jesus as the bringer.

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