What does it mean to pray “in Jesus’ Name”?
Christians need to understand this lest we end up actually using our Lord’s Name in vain. The Lord’s Name is taken in vain not only in blasphemous cursing but also any time it is used thoughtlessly. We must guard our hearts and minds that our prayers “in Jesus’s Name” do not become mere form or ritual – a standard closing as an executive might dictate to his secretary in ending some business letter. (“Sincerely, John Doe, Vice President of Research, such and such… etc, etc etc…”)
We do well to remember that apart from the Name of Jesus we have no right whatsoever to approach the throne of Almighty God. It is only by His grace that He bears us audience with Him, that grace made possible only because of the atonement of Christ. We “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16) only because of the truth stated two verses previous, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God…” (Heb. 4:14).
When we pray “in Jesus’ Name” we ought be reminding ourselves of this great privilege and, knowing we ask in Jesus’ Name, be forming only requests that we know Jesus would form. James says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3, NIV). Christ-like praying will have the kingdom of God in mind, the welfare of all the Family of God at heart and the glory of God in outcome. Our personal requests ought not be at the expense of any of these! Christ-like praying will also accept the answers God gives – be they yes, no, or wait — adding also “Thy Will be done,” as caveat to what we may presently think best.
When we pray “in Jesus’ Name” We pray soberly, as if we are handling explosives, and in a way, we are. Paul writes “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This is the Name by which we are privileged to pray. We dare not speak it lightly!
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