What did Jesus mean when he told the disciples in John 15:16 “…whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”? Or when Jesus again told his disciples in John 16:23-24 “…whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”?
Most all of us have heard these verses and have grown up hearing prayers end with “in Jesus name we pray. Amen.” But is that REALLY praying in Jesus’ name? Is that REALLY what Jesus meant when he said to ask the Father in MY name and he will give it to you?
As I was reading the “news” one day, I came across an article discussing how “terrible” it was that a particular school would not let the valedictorian conclude his speech with a public prayer ending with “in Jesus’ name”. It brought home the fact to me that we have it all wrong! Ending a prayer with “in Jesus’ name” is not necessarily praying in Jesus’ name! If that young man (and reporter) correctly understood what Jesus meant when he told the disciples to pray in his name the article would never have been written (Political bias goes to the extreme in both directions. But that is another blog for another day!)
So, let’s get this straight. Praying “in Jesus’ name” is not always ending our prayers with “in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.” There is certainly nothing wrong in ending a prayer with “in Jesus’ name.” And most all of us do…..but, sadly, it’s usually out of habit.
Praying in Jesus’ name means to pray under his authority. We are to pray to the Father because Jesus himself gave us the authority to do so. We are to lift our petitions to the Father as if we were speaking for Jesus. We are praying in the character of Jesus.
Consider this illustration: If I were out of the office and desired a letter to be written to a client, I would ask my office manager to write the letter for me. At the bottom of the letter, instead of signing my name, she would sign her name above my typed name and write the word “for” before my typed name. She was writing the letter under my authority and signing her name meaning she was communicating with the client in my name instead of hers.
That is the way we are to communicate with God our Father! We cannot approach God on our own. As a matter of fact, it is only through the work of Christ on the cross that we can even dare to approach the throne of God. We MUST come to God and pray in Jesus’ name because there is no other way.
The next time you come before God in prayer, try something similar to this: “Father, I come to you in the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son…” or “Father, we thank you for forgiving our sins and allowing us access to your throne by the work of Jesus Christ, your son…”
If you come before God realizing that you can do so only through Christ it will change the way you pray for others and yourself. It will also change the way you come into God’s presence and acknowledge who he is. Then, go ahead and do it. You can do it – it’s ok! Since you have already come before God and stated that you’re coming to him in Jesus’ name, all you have to do to end your prayer is say “amen.”
God bless! And amen!
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" - 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV)