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!

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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”?

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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.

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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 

Requiem for a Friend

Your name crossed my lips today. I caught myself before uttering it loud enough for most of the team to hear. But, I know at least a couple of people noticed it. I suppose it is to be expected doing something you did so many Sunday mornings. You would have been sitting behind the piano though. Me? I sat upstairs behind the sound board, talking to the band through the in-ear system through a small microphone clipped to my shirt. Sitting there, I couldn’t help thinking of you, my friend, and how much you are missed.

I’m not sure we’ve recovered from your sudden departure. It’s hard to wrap my mind around. And my heart certainly hasn’t caught up. When you asked me to covenant in prayer with you those few months before He called you home, I had no idea. Neither of us did. Who knew our day of deepest sorrow and  your day of greatest joy were right around the corner?

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Sometimes I hear your voice as I walk down the hallways of the church. Other times, I imagine seeing your bright smile. You brought joy to so many. It’s hard to grasp how your family is handling your absence. They are strong, rooted in the faith you modeled. You would be proud of them. Your amazing legacy lives on through the people whose hearts you touched.

You spoke truth, but always in love. You lived a lifestyle of prayer and worship. The light of Jesus shone brightly through you each day you walked this Earth, regardless of any hardship or trouble you faced. You were a faithful soldier, boldly sharing the Gospel, not only through your words, but through your actions.

“Remember,” you said, “you’re either pointing people to Christ or pushing them away. We show them Jesus by the words we speak and the works we do.”

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Oh, how you loved Jesus. I cannot help but be sad that you are gone. The Chinese buffet is not the same without you. There’s an emptiness that wasn’t there before. I am a better person due to your brief presence in my life. Know that I am overjoyed for you as you dance in the presence of the Lord. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. One day, we will be reunited.

Until then, we’ll continue lifting His name up in song on Sunday morning, pointing people to Jesus.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

The Good News and Insidious Truth About the Powerful Ways of Habit

Habits, like gravity, are a powerful force. Gravity keeps us grounded and stops us from floating off into the dark vastness of space. Gravity keeps planets on course and keeps order in the universe, ensuring things stay in their proper place until they have run their natural course. Likewise, good habits help us stay on track and keep our house in order. Bad practices, like asteroids crushing their way through the Milky Way or rogue satellites crashing down to Earth, disrupt our life, leading us astray and pushing us off course.

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Good and bad habits both gain strength through repetition. Practicing good habits transforms them into routine. The more we practice unhealthy habits, the greater disruption they exercise in our life. The ‘gravitational pull’ of our good habits increases the more engrained they become in us over time. However, unpleasant practices, like their good counterparts, also exert a great pull on us. Once a bad habit has us within its gravitational force, it is reluctant to let go, preferring to do whatever is necessary to keep us in orbit, until we spiral out of control.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)

Good habits that aid spiritual growth include reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture, consistent prayer, regular worship, playing an active part in your home church, helping others especially the poor and hungry, mentoring individuals in their daily walk, fasting routinely, meditating on God’s work in your life, and keeping our mind, heart, and soul healthy through eating right, regular exercise, and staying active.

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Breaking the chains of bad habits like addiction, negative image reinforcement, and self-debasement or overcoming past abuse, oppression, or enslavement doesn’t come easy. Truthfully, I’ve found that only through Christ can I rise above the forces that seek to keep me under their control and don’t mind destroying me in the process. Simply put, I found I needed Jesus to overcome unhealthy habits. Otherwise, it seems impossible.

But isn’t that great news? You and I don’t have to go it alone. Created in His image, we have a God who loves us and walks with us through the valleys and stands by us on the mountaintops. We are not alone.

How cool is that?

Go in peace and may your week be filled with abundant blessings.

RBantau_072017 Devo Guy