Praying in Jesus’ Name is Not a Secret Formula

Categories Christian Living

Do you end your prayers by declaring “in the name of Jesus”? Or some variation thereof? Why? What are you accomplishing when you do that? Some may say “well, I’m declaring the power of Jesus as my right to have my prayer answered because of what He’s done on the cross” and I’d say they’re only partially right. Today we’re gonna look at three things: why we can even pray in His name, what that gives us access to, and a warning not to abuse this privilege.

First off, I want to emphasize again that praying in the name of Jesus is not a formula. Therefore, you also do not run the risk of not having your prayers answered if you omit the phrase. It’s not about getting a magical incantation correct here. It’s about glorifying Jesus – glorifying His name. We don’t seek any good things in prayer for our own comfort or superficial benefit but for the glory of Jesus’ Christ to be revealed in any and all situations. 

Why We Can Pray in His Name

Okay. So why can we even pray in His name? Because of what He did on the cross. The anonymous author of The Kneeling Christian, put it this way,

 “there is a sense in which some things are done only for Christ’s sake because of His atoning death. Those who do not believe in the atoning death of Christ cannot pray in His name. They may use the words but without effect for we are justified by His blood.”

In all aspects of being a Christ follower: living daily life, praying, reading the bible, fasting, discipling etc. we must always be focused on the centrality of it all – what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Therefore, when we pray in the name of Jesus are we asking for things which the blood of Christ has secured for us?

What His Name Does for Us

So what has His blood secured for us? In a very broad sense, anything and everything that belongs to Him and aligns with His will for us, as well as His promises to us. The Kneeling Christian again shares the analogy of banking. When you or I go to the bank to withdraw, we are only able to access what belongs to us in “our name”. If someone writes us a check to cash, we go to the bank and essentially ask for the money in “their name”. Their name as signed on the check says they’re good for it and they allow it. So, let’s say we’re going to the “bank of heaven” with our prayers (check) signed in Jesus’ name, then we have access to all that is God the Father’s and He’s good for it! 

So, with this blank check from God signed in Jesus’ name do you withdraw just what you need? Or do you take out as much as you can? Whatever you do, does it offend the signer of your check or bless Him? Good questions! The key is to remember when cashing your heavenly checks, do so to His glory! Be good stewards of the opportunity you’ve been given and use HIS NAME for HIS WILL. Seek God’s will for your life so you can ask in prayer accordingly. (1 John 14). It is truly impossible to pray in the name of Jesus if you don’t know His will. That is UNLESS you submit whatever you’re praying to His will. Let me give an example. 

Suppose I pray for healing in a friend but I’m not sure that’s the will of Jesus this side of heaven, then I may say in my prayer, “ Lord I ask this but ultimately I submit to your will.” Jesus himself prayed a prayer like this when he asked that this cup be taken from him (Matthew 26:39).

One other way to learn the will of Jesus is DUH – stay connected to Him. John tells us that Christ said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you you can ask whatever you want and it will be done.” (John 15:7) If you stay connected to Him, you’ll know His will and your prayers will be answered according to His will in His name.

Be Careful

Which leads me to my third point, be careful not to abuse the privilege of praying in His name. I know enough in my walk with Christ that I’m not gonna ask for a cherry red sports car in the name of Jesus. There may be a scenario where Jesus wants me to have such extravagance (I’m not gonna say His no for Him) but goodness, I can’t imagine it! Such an answer to a prayer like that surely can’t help produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in my life. Goodness sakes – certainly not self control! Haha! And I know that Christ’s ultimate goal (His will) would be that I produce fruit in staying connected to Him. Case in point – praying for a sports car would be an epic waste of my time and abuse of His good name.

BUT – did you catch on to it? If I pray for things that would produce fruit in my life and bring Him glory, then THAT is a good way to pray in Jesus’ name. 

So, do you pray in the name of Jesus’? If you do, I bet you’ll really stop and pause on how you use that phrase in the future – and that makes me happy, because I’m sure it will be to His glory!

Jen Ervig #PNW Pastor
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