Praying in Jesus’ Name?

The standard “Christian” way to end prayer is by saying, “in Jesus’ name. Amen.” Have you ever wondered why? If so, I am hoping this blog may help you.

Firstly, we don’t need to verbalize these words as if they are a magic formula. The statement “In Jesus’ Name” is not like saying abracadabra. Instead, it is a recognition of three things:

Authority

The saying, “stop in the name of the law,” came into being in England with the first police force in the early 1800s. “The name of” is a synonym for authority.

The same goes today when emergency services activate their sirens or flashing lights. It is usually against the law to go through a red light, drive on the wrong side of the road, or move faster than the speed limit. But emergency services possess authority in which a higher law cancels out a lower one to protect life or property.

Similarly, praying in the name of Jesus recognizes the authority Jesus has invested in his followers: at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil 2:10).

Association

John, the apostle, records these words of Jesus in chapter 14 of his gospel, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Jesus then gives context to this by teaching on remaining in the vine, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4). The word remain means to be associated, connected, or linked.

Jesus continues, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:5 & 7).

Praying “in the name of Jesus” recognizes our association with Jesus. He has called us “friends”.

Access

My last name is Buckingham, and I was born in London. Next time I visit London, I plan to walk up to the gate of Buckingham Palace, tell them my name, and ask to see the Queen. What do you think of my chances? Buckley’s, I’d say!

But what if I got to know Prince Charles? He and I chat one day at a function, and we become friends. I tell him my wish to see inside the palace that bears my name and meet the Queen. No problem, says Charles, and he makes my wish come true.

I have access because I know the son.

Let that sink in.

The apostle Paul tells us, “In … and through faith in [Christ Jesus our Lord] we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Eph 3:12).

The writer to the Hebrews says that because of Jesus, we can approach God’s “throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:16).

Praying “in the name of Jesus” acknowledges our access to God. We do not come to God in prayer in our name. We come boldly in Jesus’ name!

And so, that’s why we say ‘In Jesus’ name,’ before we say Amen. These words acknowledge our authority, association, and access because of Jesus. More importantly, this must be our heart’s attitude rather than merely mouthing the words.

Any spiritual authority has nothing to do with who we are or what we have done. It is not increased with good works or spiritual brownie points. Our authority rests securely in who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he continues to do in the power of his Spirit.

Rob Buckingham

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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