Tapping the source
"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14.14
Jesus' apparent promise of carte blanche for the believer is frequently misunderstood, most spectacularly in the prosperity gospel heresy, which misleads Christians into thinking that they can indulge their whims and fancies by simply "naming and claiming". When Jesus is quoted by the apostle John as promising his followers a blank cheque in their praying, it is in the context of their mission - to continue Jesus' announcement of the Kingdom - which dominated their lives to a greater extent than it tends to among Christians today. It would not have occurred to the original recipients of John's gospel to pray for fast cars and luxury holidays - or the 1st century equivalent. Their concern was how they could possibly fill Jesus' shoes, especially his insistence that they would exceed his own impact (a couple of verses earlier).
The key lies in the phrase in my name. This does not amount to tacking "in Jesus' name" to the end of our wish-list. To do something in somebody's name means that the whole deed must embody the lifestyle and attitude of the person in whose name we aspire to operate. To ask for anything in Jesus' name assumes whole-hearted discipleship, out of which our prayers will arise as a natural response to the challenges and opportunities we shall encounter. And we need not be afraid or daunted because Jesus has overcome the obstacles and opened our access to all the resources of heaven...