THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Praying in Jesus' NameBy Mark King
Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. John 16:23bFor some people, praying in Jesus' name simply means tacking a phrase on at the end of a prayer: "We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen." Some may even think it is improper to pray without repeating that phrase at the end of a prayer.
To pray, or make a request, in the name of someone else, is to ask that your request be granted, not because you deserve it, but because of your relationship with the one in whose name you are making the request.
I would like to share a couple of examples from my life that may make it a little easier to understand. My father died this past March, and I shared these two experiences at his funeral.
My first car was a 1971 VW Squareback. It was seventeen years old when I bought it and it was the first and last car that I was able to work on by myself or with my dad's help. By the time I bought my next car, everything was computerized so I didn't dare tinker with anything. It seems like I was always working on that car.
One time my dad and I were replacing the muffler. The muffler was held on by three bolts. We were able to get the first two off, but that last one simply would not budge. So he told me to go over to a welding shop nearby and get the owner to cut the bolt off the muffler.
I pulled up at the welding shop and the owner walked out to meet me. He was a big, gruff-looking man wearing overalls — the stereotypical welder. I told him I needed him to cut the bolt off the muffler. He looked at the car, looked at me, and then looked at the car again. From his expression and body language, I could tell that he did not have the slightest inclination to crawl under the car and cut off the bolt.
Feeling that rejection was about to come, I said, somewhat apologetically by way of explanation, "My dad told me to come over and get you to cut off this bolt."
"Who is your dad?"
"I'll do it for $5."
He went back and got his torch, crawled under the car, and cut off the bolt. Then he went back into the shop and got a piece of pipe long enough to make sure exhaust wouldn't get into the car on the way home and fastened it to the existing exhaust pipe.
When he finished all this he explained: "I don't work on mufflers. I hate 'em. And I wasn't going to do this for you until you told me who your dad was."
My dad was not a rich and powerful man, but this welder was a friend of his. When I was making the request in my own name, he had no reason to do what I asked. When I came to him in my dad's name, he was more than willing to do it because of the friendship between the two of them.
On another occasion I was in small department store in my home town. This was in the day before credit/debit cards were common, and I was planning to write a check for my purchases. So I received my total and pulled out my check book and the cashier stopped me. "Do you have a check cashing card with us?" I explained that I did not, so she said that she could not accept a check unless I had a check cashing card on file, but she said she would call the manager.
While waiting for the manager to arrive, she looked at my check. The check had my name on it, and under my name was my dad's name.
"Is this the Leon King who is from Deep Creek?" (Deep Creek is the small community north of town where my dad grew up.)
"Yes it is. He's my dad."
"Then I know this check is good!"
About that time the manager arrived and the cashier told her "You can take this check, I know it's good."
The manager took my check back to the office for further consideration but the cashier told me, "if she won't take your check, you can make it out to me and I will pay for your stuff."
The manager did end up taking my check, but once again I was struck by the significance of my dad's reputation as an honest man and the fact that although I was an unknown, my relationship with him gave me credibility.
In both these instances, my name meant nothing. But my dad's name opened doors.
Praying in Jesus' name is somewhat similar. It is not just tacking a phrase on the end of a prayer. And of course God the Father already knows us. Praying in Jesus name is coming to the Father with the conscious admission that we, in and of ourselves, have no right to expect him to receive us or answer our prayers. We come to him as those who have been redeemed by his Son and made part of his family on that basis. Because of the relationship between the Father and the Son, and the relationship that we have with the Father through the Son, we can approach God boldly — not flippantly or disrespectfully — but boldly as one who belongs. If saying, "in Jesus' name" helps you to remember this, then by all means say it at the end, or maybe even better at the beginning of your prayer. But more importantly, praying in Jesus it is a heart attitude that recognizes that it is only through Jesus Christ who paid for our sins that we can ever enter the Father's presence and make our requests.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession....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
Image Credit: Brooklyn11211; "Squareback"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth Christian-Life God-Father Personal-Life
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