What Does it Mean to Pray in the Name of Jesus?
Last week I spent some time thinking about my prayer life and that led me to go back over some of the scriptures about prayer. It is interesting to remember that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and I think that as a disciple today, I still need to learn how to pray, and find more effectiveness in my prayer life. It is also important to remember that Jesus spent a lot of time alone, in His relationship with the Father.
The first thing that came to me was that Jesus said that He only spoke and did things based on His relationship with the Father, the words that the Father gave Him to speak, and the things that He had seen the Father do (John 8:38). So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does (John 5:19, NLT).
We can see that everything that Jesus did was based on His relationship and abiding in the Father. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me (John 14:10, NLT). Then I had to ask myself, “Is that how I pray? Do my prayers come from my abiding in the Father?” He was telling His disciples to ask in His name. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! If you love me, obey my commandments (John 14:13–15, NLT).
This made me think about the real meaning of asking anything in the name of Jesus. I thought it must mean more than giving God a wish list, a list of what I think the world needs, or people need, and asking God to perform some tasks. I think it means that I have to learn to spend time with the Father, to hear from Him, and to do the things that He does. Then, when I pray, I am actually praying in the name of Jesus, with His approval, with His authority, using His name, representing Him before the Father, saying the same things that He would be saying to the Father. Is that how I pray? Would He sign His name at the end of all my prayers?