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 

Prayer Is Action

Genesis 4:26
And then Seth had a son whom he named Enosh.
That’s when men and women began praying and worshiping in the name of GOD.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Ge 4:26). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

Recently, in the light of events happening in our city and throughout the world, I’ve had several people ask “Aside from praying, what can we do?” In various social media platforms and on different media channels, I’ve heard people clamoring that “praying is not enough” and that we need to “take action” or “do something” instead of just praying about it.

For centuries, people have prayed. There is something instinctive about prayer. We know that we need to do it and that we can do it. We may not know how. Like Jesus’ disciples, we need the Lord to teach us to pray.

Prayer is action.

When we pray, we are doing something. And not just something simple, but something significant. Prayer has power. Throughout centuries, men and women have been praying to God and witnessing the results of those prayers. But we don’t pray just to get results. We pray to communicate and build relationship with God. God rewards faithfulness. The more faithful we are in our prayer life, the more readily God responds when we call on His name. Are you not more likely to heed the call of a friend than a stranger?

God is faithful even when we are not. Even though we may not practice prayer regularly like we should or constantly like Scripture instructs we should, God hears our calls and cries in our moments of desperation and frustration. Why? Because God is good and God wants to help us. God is for us, not against us.

Morning

Prayer works.

Scripture demonstrates often how people cry out to God and He responds. When we pray, we are doing something. We are reaching out to the all-powerful, all-mighty Creator of Everything, who is able to do all things, and for whom nothing is impossible. If God can’t solve it, it can’t be solved. And we know there is no mountain too high for God to climb, no problem to great for Him to resolve.

Prayer flourishes through commitment.

But prayer isn’t just something we should reserve for times of trouble, but rather a way of life we must strive to grow in daily. If want to see powerful results from our prayers, than we must be willing to put in the time to become powerful prayer warriors. Warriors aren’t formed after a few sit-ups or a couple of push-ups. Great weapons aren’t forged by a few bangs on a piece of metal or by a few moments in the fire. Rarely do we know how to fully use a tool properly without practice.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

No matter how long we have exercised prayer,  we continue to grow in it daily. It takes practice. Like the disciples, who had grown up living in a culture that prayed, God can teach us more about prayer. As we communicate and fellowship with Him–something we do through prayer–the Lord instructs us in His ways and teaches us how to do things.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray like they heard him pray, he gave them this model found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 11, verses 2-4:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Lk 11:2–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Yes, there are other physical things we must do to right the wrongs we see and ease the suffering we witness. Prayer is a launching point and the sustaining bread that fuels us as we seek to impact the world for God’s glory. Prayer is action.