If you’ve spent much time in church, you’ve no doubt heard someone end a prayer by saying, “And Lord we ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.” But have you ever wondered what all is involved with praying “in Jesus’ name”? Well, to help you with that, I’d like to devote a short series of posts to the subject.
I’ll begin by giving you the Bible passage from which we draw this whole idea. It’s John 14:12-14. There Jesus says to His chosen twelve apostles:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
All right, now, with the passage quoted, the first thing we need to learn about praying in Jesus’ name is this: It can only be done by a Christian. Before you label me as a bigot, please note that Jesus addresses His words specifically to, “he who believes in Me.” That narrows the field down quite a bit, doesn’t it?
The fact is, there are a lot of people out there praying in the world. It’s even become a cliche for politicians, celebrities, and such to say to the victims of some tragedy, “You are in our prayers.” That sounds so compassionate and comforting, doesn’t it? And, for the record, I don’t question the motives or emotions behind such praying. What I do question is the power behind it. You see, ideal power in prayer comes from praying in Jesus’ name, and the only people who can legitimately pray in Jesus’ name are us Christians. Oh, sure, lost people can mouth the famous words at the end of their prayers, but that doesn’t mean they’ve truly prayed in Jesus’ name. It just doesn’t work that way.
In the next few posts we are going to learn the incredible importance of these words, “in Jesus’ name.” What we’ll find is that the words are not only the key to an effective prayer life but also to living the Christian life. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, and so for now I’ll just ask you to stay tuned. For this first post, we’ve begun where we had to begin: at the beginning. Now that we’ve laid down the necessary foundation for the subject, we can move on out into deeper waters.