John 14:13-14 (NLT)13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Christians have been taught that we are always to end our prayers in Jesus’ name. We have been taught so well that it often becomes ritual with no meaning other than it’s what we have always been taught. It’s almost to the point of believing that if we don’t end the prayer in Jesus’ name that God won’t hear or answer.
Some think that saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer results in God’s always granting what is asked for. That’s like treating the words “in Jesus’ name” as a magic formula.
If it is absolutely essential we must say something like “in the name of Jesus” in order for God hear and answer prayer how do we explain all the answered prayer in the Old Testament?
1 Kings 17:19-23 (NLT)19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed.20 Then Elijah cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”22 The LORD heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived!23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
1 Samuel 1:10-11 (NLT)10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.11 And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut.” 19 The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the LORD once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the LORD remembered her plea,20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the LORD for him.”
Jesus never taught his disciples to say “in Jesus’ name” or “in My name” at the end of their prayers, and none of the prayers in the New Testament end “in Jesus name” or “in the name of Jesus”.
Acts 7:59-60 (NLT)59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
We often pray ourselves without ending with “in Jesus name”. What about the times we pray “Lord have mercy” or “thank you Lord” or just “Help”?
I have two questions;
What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name?
Praying in Jesus’ name literally means praying with in the authority He has given us. He has given us the authority to ask the Father to act on our prayers because we come in His name.
Think of it this way. Jesus’ name is a key, and if you have the key I doesn’t matter if the key belongs to you or not as long as you have it you can open the lock. The power belongs to Jesus but he has given you His key.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT)9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Just as an Ambassador has the authority to speak for the leader of a nation we can speak with the authority of Jesus. It is just as if Jesus Himself was talking.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NLT)20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Praying in Jesus’ name is praying for things that will honor and glorify Him. Praying in Jesus' name means the same thing as praying according to the will of God,
1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
If I don’t end of my prayer in Jesus’ will God still hear and answer?
Saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer is not a magic formula. If what we ask for or say in prayer is not for God’s glory and according to His will, saying “in Jesus’ name” is meaningless. The words “in the name of Jesus” are more than just a signal that the prayer is over. To pray in Jesus’ name means to ask in His merit not ours.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
When Jesus told us to pray in his name, he wasn’t talking about the words with which we end our prayers. The prayer we call The Lord’s Prayer does not end with anything like “in my name Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT)9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us today the food we need,12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
We pray in Jesus’s name whether we use those exact words or not, when we approach God under the authority Jesus has given us. We can obey Jesus’ instruction about praying in his name without saying “in Jesus’ name” or some such phrase at the end of our prayers.
He told is to be persistent and confident but never said we had to actually speak His name so that God would hear and answer our prayer.
Matthew 7:7-11 (NLT)7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
If saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers reminds us that we are praying with the authority that He gave us, and in the knowledge that it is in His righteous we approach God, then this is a great practice. If saying “in Jesus’ name” helps us seek God’s will when we pray, then we should always say it. But, if we think that saying “in Jesus’ name” is what it really means to pray in His name, then we are missing the point.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.