Why Do I Pray “In Jesus’ Name” ?

Have you ever wondered why Christians pray “in Jesus’ name”?

Awhile back, a friend of mine and I attended a luncheon bringing together people from different faiths to explore working together for the greater good of the community. The spacious banquet room was filled with about sixty representatives from every faith you could imagine. Naturally, the Big 3 (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) were scattered around different tables. Catholics sat next to Protestants, who came in full-force, hailing from different denominations. Methodists sat next to Baptists, Baptists sat next to Presbyterians. You get the picture.

All in all, it was a pretty cool scene. Once it became time to start, an event organizer opened the meeting with a prayer, ending his prayer in what I consider to be the traditional “in Jesus’ name.” This quickly drew the ire of a Rabbi attending the meeting, who happened to be sitting at our table. He expressed his preference that we forego ending prayer in the name of Jesus as he found it deeply offensive. He pointed to an Imam who sat one table away from us and explained that ending prayer in this manner was disrespectful of his faith as well. The Rabbi pointed out that not everyone believes in Jesus and praying to him is blasphemous in the traditions of some faiths. Needless to say, my friend and I, who are both Christians, were taken aback by the Rabbi’s request. Neither of us had ever considered not praying in Jesus’ name. Had we ever ended a prayer without closing it that way? Yes. Could we not pray that way? Well…NO.

While we did not expect the Rabbi or the Imam or any non-Christian to pray in the name of Jesus, being told that we as Christians could not do so was completely a different story. Thankfully, when push came to shove, the agreement was reached that each person would pray according to their faith traditions while respecting the manner of prayer of others in the room. Whew!

praying hands TDG

As a Christian, have you ever wondered why you pray “in Jesus’ name”?

Often, we use phrases in a religious, ritualistic manner without understanding why we do what we do. This is certainly true of praying in the name of Christ. So why do we do it? As believers, the Scriptures serves as our go-to source for biblical insight and faith. So what exactly does the Bible say about praying “in Jesus’ name”?

The Devotional Guy_sharing Gospel

Let us take a look at a few verses:

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He follows that up in verse 13 saying, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” And finally, in John 16:23-24, Jesus shares, “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, 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.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul points out that through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have “boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:12). The writer of Hebrews states, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heaves, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Why Do I Pray

These verses reveal the biblical foundation for praying ‘in Jesus’ name’.

As broken and fallen people, we can only access God through faith in Christ because Jesus died in our place and took our sin upon Himself, bearing the penalty and paying the debt for our sins. Through the atoning work of  Jesus we gain access to God. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life through whom we can connect to the Lord. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into the Kingdom and become children of God. Jesus has made all things new and brought life where once there was only death.

John 1624

Jesus is our advocate. In anticipation of his death on the Cross, Jesus instructed his disciples to pray to God, the Father, in His name. Our faith in Christ opens the door to a personal relationship with God. It is our relationship with Jesus that gives us the privilege of not only entering into God’s presence through prayer, but the assurance of our prayers being heard. He makes it possible for us to have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.

This then, is why we, as Christians should pray. “In Jesus’ Name”.

 

May the Lord fill your life with abundant blessings.

Amen.

RB 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is our acknowledgement of the blessings and gifts we have received over the course of the past year. Scripture denotes the importance of giving thanks to God for all his multitude of blessings and  wondrous works, recognizing our dependence on him and gratitude to him.
      Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2 (ESV)
As Christians, we have a lot to be thankful for. We honor God by giving thanks to him for the gift of his salvation, that we have received by grace through faith. Through thanksgiving, we recognize that God is at work in our lives and all around us. Our job is to find where God is at work and join him, working as his co-laborers in Christ, to bring in the harvest.
And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd.  And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.
Mark 8:6-7 (ESV)
We have lots to be thankful for on a daily basis. It is easy for us to take basic things for granted in our culture. We are so blessed that sometimes we can forget that these basics are not something all people have. I woke up today in my warm bed, with a roof over my head, food and beverages in my fridge. I am not worried about what, where, or when I will eat today. My wife and I are blessed with plenty. We are debt-free, we are able to pay our bills, meet our needs, and acquire our wants. We are blessed with family and great friends.
How about you? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?.
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 (ESV)
As you go about your busy life today, be sure to pause this week and give thanks. You do have something to be thankful for.
god-with-us

Hey Jude: Truth Remains

The Epistle of Jude is a letter written in the latter third of the First century to a remnant of believers struggling to steward the faith and retain the orthodoxy of the Apostles’ teachings as they faced living life in a challenging world and troublesome times. Jude, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, is considered by most to be the author of this letter written to a church overrun by false teachers, abusing their charm and influence, to distort the Truth of the Gospel.

The justification of ethical and moral failure begins when we deviate from doctrine. In Jude’s day, like in ours,  false prophets twisted God’s blessings to satisfy their insatiable thirsts and deviant appetites. They warped the sweetness of the Lord’s good mercy and grace as a license to sin and to do what they considered to be right in their own eyes.  The believers of Jude’s day struggled with the call for the church to adapt to changing times, modernize their views, and rethink the tenets of their faith. The world around them challenged them to grow up and catch up to the times. False teachers urged them to reject authority and participate freely in defiling blasphemous acts. As was then, so is now.

rb_truth

Who is to say what truth is? Surely the Lord did not intend for you to live unhappy and unfulfilled? These lies are as old as the day is long. There is a Truth. It is knowable because God has revealed it in Scripture. God did not save us to satisfy our own pleasures, but rather, we are redeemed for His pleasure and purpose, to perform His will, not ours. As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin, but soldiers in the spiritual army of God, defending the faith, sharing the love, the joy and the hope we have received and experiencing the peace showered upon us through Christ’s work on the Cross.

As Christians, we are set apart, in the world, but not of it, to do a work God planned in advance for each of us. While it may be an offensive message in our day, through our words and our deeds, we must share the message of hope through salvation in Jesus Christ with those with whom we interact and encounter.

The focus of our faith is not us, but God. Today, just as then,  we must defend our faith from those who seek to distort and destroy it. We must continue to reject false teachings attacking the Truth. We must be prepared to give an answer for the source of the love, joy peace, and hope we exhibit living a life of faith in these increasingly turbulent,  troubled times we call the 21st century.