IN JESUS’ NAME
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
– John 14:13-14
“Momma, what exactly does it mean when we say ‘in Jesus’ Name’ at the end of our prayers?” My daughter was lying on the bed in our spare bedroom-turned-office during my over-two-month-stint of working from home like so many of us have been doing. My children, a middle schooler and high schooler, were now in a routine of working a couple of hours on their online school assignments until about 10 am when they would tiptoe into my office, making sure I was not on a video conference call for work. If the coast was clear, they would plop on the spare room bed to just chit chat on their “break”. It was slightly reminiscent of my real office where co-workers who would come linger in my cube about the same hour after retrieving their second cup of coffee in the morning.
Now instead of co-workers talking work projects, relationships, or vacations, these new “co-workers” were talking school assignments, relationships, or vacations. They were also attempting to lure the family dog from her new snuggle spot she’d declared since I started to work from home: the small gap between my back and the office chair she felt was as much hers as mine! I loved these “water cooler” talks with my kids! Sometimes it was about an assignment. Sometimes it was about the disappointment in missing out on an event like the first formal dance of high school or the last extracurricular competitions in the season. Sometimes it was dreaming about what vacation we might all take when it was safe. I was hearing their hopes and dreams in those conversations. Better still, all the talks were about God, His Word, and their faith. This Momma will always cherish those talks from our COVID days at home. And for whatever reason that day, my daughter was unintentionally testing my knowledge.
Always one to have a quick answer when it comes to Biblical things, I opened my mouth, but strangely, nothing came out. I shut my mouth, crinkled my nose, and then slowly opened my mouth again and said: “Sweet pea, I think I’ve done a good job of throwing that in at the end of my prayers, but I’ve not done a good job of truly reflecting upon its importance or magnitude as I should when I say it.” I did know its meaning, but I felt that I had grown lazy in my appreciation of its meaning when I used it. She had not meant to cause it, but all of a sudden, I felt conviction!
So, what are we saying when we end our prayers “in Jesus’ Name”? She and I began to unpack the phrase.
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:17 to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Everything? Yes, everything. That includes our treatment of others, our choice of jobs we seek, which relationships we pursue, and the activities we pour our time and money into. Obviously, it means we should do nothing then that contradicts God’s will, and that especially means how we pray.
When it comes to prayer, we must be sure we are praying according to God’s purpose and that His will be served. If it is our purpose to be served in our prayers, we are not praying in His name, but our own name. It does not mean we cannot petition the Lord for things and on other’s behalf, but it does mean that we must evaluate and surrender to His will regarding the request and the answer to that request.
Likewise, to declare this statement, we must also be sure that we are actually in Him. The fact is, we have absolutely no rights (and no righteousness) on our own authority to come into the throne room of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for anything. Not even our praise and thanksgiving are worthy of Him much less our repentance, petitions, or intercessions! Isaiah 64:6 declares “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.” We have no chance before a perfect God on our own accord. It isn’t until we come before God with that authority of Christ’s name and His blood covering our multitude of sins that we may enter His presence and call upon His name. It is His righteousness that allows us to enter before Him on His throne, and pray in His name.
1 John 5:14-15 confirms it for us “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that is we ask anything according to His will, He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
Pray: Lord, thank you for making a way for us as sinners to come before You with our praise, concerns, needs, and even our desires. Lord, please help us to seek Your will in all we do and help us to carry it out so the Father will be glorified in the Son. Thank you for the confidence we have in Christ to come before You. And thank You for your loving kindness to hear us, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.
6th Grade Girls Sunday School Teacher
First Baptist Broken Arrow