In my last post I explained that Christians are the only people who can rightfully close their prayers with the words “in Jesus’ name.” Now with this post I want to offer a second fact about praying in Jesus’ name. That second fact is this: To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in submission to God’s will.
It is only fitting that praying in Jesus’ name would entail praying in submission to God’s will. After all, Jesus was the very embodiment of one who was submitted to the will of His heavenly Father. Consider the following passages. First, in John 6:38 He says:
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Second, Matthew 26:39-44 tells us that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times in the garden of Gethsemane on the night of His arrest:
O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.
Third, Matthew 6:9-10 says that Jesus taught His followers to pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done.
Christian, you need to grasp the concept that prayer isn’t you sending God on an errand. It isn’t about you getting your will done in heaven either. It is much more about God getting His will done on earth. You see, your prayer-time is a good time to die. I’m talking about you dying to your wants, wishes, aspirations, plans, and schemes. Don’t spend twenty minutes in prayer telling God what all you want to happen and then have the audacity to close your prayer with the words, “in Jesus’ name.” When Jesus hears such a prayer in heaven, He must say to Himself, “That’s not how I lived my life, and that’s certainly not how I prayed.”
I think each of us would do well to follow the example of the legendary evangelist D.L Moody. He used to pray the following prayer:
Lord, if what I ask for does not please you, neither would it please me. My desires are put into your hands to be corrected. Strike the pen through every petition that I offer that is not right. And put in whatever I have omitted, even though I might not have desired it had I considered it.
Another good role model in this area would be the renowned preacher Phillips Brooks. He wrote:
Every true prayer has its background and its foreground. The foreground of prayer is the intense, immediate desire for a certain blessing which seems to be absolutely necessary for the soul to have; the background of prayer is the quiet, earnest desire that the will of God, whatever it may be, should be done.
And so, Christian, the next time you tack the words “in Jesus’ name” onto the end of your prayer, I hope they will be in line with the requests you’ve made throughout the prayer. If they aren’t, your best move would be to restart the prayer and do a more Christlike job with the requests. Yes, it will take some time. Even more than that, it will take some dying. But the end result will be that you will be able to use the words “in Jesus’ name” and have them be more than just lip-service.