Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
To pray in the Name of Christ…is to pray as one who is at one with Christ, whose mind is the mind of Christ, whose desires are the desires of Christ, and whose purpose is one with that of Christ.
In recent years, I have consistently begun my prayers with these words: “Father God, in Jesus’s name, and by the Holy Spirit…” This affirmation actually changes the way I pray from the outset. In this day’s devotional, I want to propose that “in Jesus’s name” was never designed to be a tack-on at the end of our superficial requests. Rather, praying in His name brings us into a reality that changes why, how, and what we pray, from the very opening moment of our communion with God.
TRUTH OR TRADITION?
Many believers seem to invoke Jesus’s name in order to secure a prime parking place at the mall, a pay raise at work, or even the winning lottery ticket. Like me, maybe you have used “in Jesus’s name” as a prayer-concluding formula to persuade God to give you something you really wanted, or thought you needed.
Most of us know that the idea of praying in Jesus’s name is far beyond the routine of adding these three words on the end of our supplications. Yet, it is the traditional thing to do. In group or public prayers, it is a given that whoever prays better wrap it up with “in Jesus’s name.” When they fail to do so, they may get a few raised eyebrows and expressions of doubt about the spiritual legitimacy of their prayers. After all, will God really hear their prayers if they fail to include this three-word add-on?
JESUS’S NAME IN WORSHIP-BASED PRAYER
One of the amazing benefits of a worship-based, gospel-focused approach to prayer is that it fundamentally takes our eyes off ourselves and fixes them on Christ. We establish our prayer experience on Him, not ourselves. We seek to pray His thoughts, not our own. As the Spirit takes the conductor’s wand of the Scriptures and orchestrates our praying, we cannot help but turn our eyes upon Jesus, as the beautiful old hymn encourages us:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
At that moment of wonder and intimacy, we are really in the place to truly pray in Jesus’s name, regardless of the final three words of the prayer.
ASKING IN JESUS’S NAME
We all like guarantees. Advertisers tout “satisfaction guaranteed” and money-back guarantees on the products they want us to buy. Jesus, by the authority that only the Son of God can offer, makes a bold guar- antee about prayer: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
Jesus keeps speaking of the power of His name in prayer in this upper room interaction. In John 15:16, Christ expands our under- standing of the necessity and proper use of His name: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” In John 16:23–24, He states, “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 these verses, we are confronted with a condition and a result for all of our requests. The condition is that we ask in Jesus’s name. Samuel Chadwick explained:
Prayers offered in the Name of Christ are scrutinized and sanctified by His nature, His purpose, and His will. Prayer is endorsed by the Name when it is in harmony with the char- acter, mind, desire, and purpose of the Name.
In his excellent book The God Who Hears, W. Bingham Hunter summarizes the New Testament teaching about praying in Jesus’s name with these four truths:
- It seeks the glory of God.
- Its foundation is the death, resurrection, and intercession of Jesus.
- It is offered by Jesus’s obedient disciples. Hunter points out that praying in Jesus’s name is virtually synonymous with obedience to Jesus.
- It asks what Jesus Himself would pray for.17 Hunter goes on to summarize:
The shortest and perhaps the best answer is simply: Jesus prayed according to the will of God. And that, ultimately, is what it means for you and me to pray in Jesus’s name—to pray according to the will of God.18
This explains why Jesus was so emphatic that whatever we ask in
His name, we will receive.
Dr. Randal Roberts of Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, says:
It is to pray in a manner consistent with His values and pur- poses.… It is to pray with the glorification of God as the supreme motive; it is to pray as Jesus would pray were He in our circumstances; it is to pray as His followers who have been appointed as instruments of fruit-bearing in the out- working of His mission.… It is learning to ask for the good things that He delights to give from the devoted heart that He delights to bless.
What happens when we pray in Jesus’s name? What is the ulti- mate purpose and result? According to Jesus’s multiple commands in His upper room discourse, the outcomes of praying in His name are:
- The Father will be glorified in the Son.
- We bear fruit that remains.
- Our joy will be full.
How many times have you been frustrated rather than fulfilled in prayer? Frustration comes from bombarding heaven with our self-styled ideas of what God should do to accomplish our will in heaven. Fulfillment comes from knowing that His will is being implemented on earth. Deep reward is found in knowing that the Father is glorified by our prayers, and that our relationship with Him is producing the lasting fruit of deep character and spiritual impact. Joy comes from this deep fulfillment.
So as we pray together, let’s give it a thoughtful try: “Father God, in Jesus’s name, and by the Holy Spirit…” And in all your praying in the days to come may we affirm a primary passion for the person and purposes of Jesus. It will change the way you commune with God and will transform your life.
Excerpted from “21 Days of Deeper Prayer: Discover an Extraordinary Life in God” by Jim Maxim with Daniel Henderson, © 2020 by Jim Maxim. Published by Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.whitakerhouse.com.
Free audio prayers found here: www.acts413.net/deeperprayer