Saturday, October 27, 2012

Praying in Jesus' Name

“I have always been taught to end a prayer with ‘in Jesus’name’. Does the Bible
teach this?”—Charles

The practice arises from Jesus’ teaching found in John’s gospel (14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24). Many Christians take His words literally, routinely beginning or ending prayers with this precise formula. This is not a bad practice.

The problem, of course, arises when the words become rote to the point that they have no real significance to the speaker. For some folks, the phrase is a legalistic requirement for legitimizing the prayer. For others, the words take on a magical quality; i.e., the speaker assumes that if he attaches this phrase to the petition, then God is obligated to respond accordingly.

Praying “in Jesus’ name” is affirming one’s faith in Jesus as the Son of God who, as our “great High Priest” (Heb. 8, 9, 10), hears our heart cry. The one who prays with this understanding is reaching out to Him with unfettered faith.

Furthermore, this prayer is a declaration that the one who is praying desires deeply what Christ Himself desires. In ancient thought, one’s name was a reflection of one’s character and purpose. Thus, to speak in a person’s name was to express agreement with the nature and will of that person. Jesus’ name means “The Lord saves”. To pray in His name is to recall who He is and what He has done for us through His death and resurrection. In this prayer, we recognize our need for grace and forgiveness as well as our desire for His will to be done in our lives and in our world (see Matt. 18:19-20; I Jn.5:13-15).

All our prayers, especially our requests, should be couched in our willingness to accept God’s will, believing that He knows what is best for His children.

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