Dear Members in Christ,
Why do we pray in the Name of the Lord Jesus? (John 14:14)
Christians end their prayers by saying, “We pray this in Jesus’ name.” Why do we say this phrase?
Is it just an utterance so that those praying with us know that we have come to the end of our prayers? That is true at least in appearance. Often, in corporate prayer (i.e. a prayer made in the assembly of God’s people), when the one leading the prayer utters the phrase “we pray and ask this in Jesus’ Name”, the congregation will know and respond with a resounding “Amen.” Can it be that it is just a formality, is it all there is to it? The answer is no! The practice of ending a prayer with “in Jesus’ Name” is scriptural and we have much to learn from it.
Praying in His Name is to make a petition upon His authority
Firstly, we pray in Jesus’ Name because it is scriptural. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:14, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” This is by no means the only place in scripture. We pray in Jesus’ Name because He taught His disciples to do so in several passages of the Gospels. Some often-cited references are passages from the Gospel of John such as John 14:13,14; John 15:16; John 16:23, 24, 26.
The Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray in His Name, i.e. on His authority as the Son of God, and acknowledging His finished work. In the verses preceding John 14:14, the Lord Jesus had taught the disciples that He is the way, the truth and the life. His authority is from the heavenly Father, and at the end of His earthly ministry, He shall go to the Father. The Lord Jesus says in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” And thus He assures His disciples that they shall accomplish great works, because, “… whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13.
The Lord Jesus assures that the disciples will do “greater works.” Such works were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles in the spreading of the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, and to foreign lands.
The apostles would have remembered this promise of the Lord as they went about the work of the Gospel. Just as an ambassador acts upon the authority of his king and conveys any requests made to his ruler. The authority of their prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is about to “go to the Father.” John 14:12. It is He who has taught and sanctioned them to make their prayers and requests in His Name.
We ought to remember that the Gospel of Christ ought to be central in our lives, our church, and our service. The purpose of our every endeavor in life is to glorify God. Whether it is a petition for our health, our livelihood, our church, however mundane, every area of the Christian’s life is to be lived for the glory of God. Therefore, by following God’s will any prayer for these areas is to be said in the Lord Jesus’ Name.
By Praying in the Lord’s Name, we acknowledge His work of atonement for us
Secondly, by praying in His Name, we are also acknowledging His atonement work on the cross for our salvation. The verse Acts 4:12 states, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Before His betrayal and crucifixion, the Lord told His disciples, “And ye now, therefore, have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. … Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:22, 24.
In this time of great sorrow, the Lord Jesus reminds His disciples of the redemptive work that He will accomplish. He assures them in this hour of sorrow that, “the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” With these words, He comforts them, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24. By praying in the Lord’s name the disciples would be acknowledging that the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ enables them to make the petition before God. And the Lord Jesus assures them, “that your joy may be full.” What a wonderful work of redemption! What blessed assurance!
We also pray in Jesus’ Name because He is our Intercessor and High priest. Hebrews 7:25 reads, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Thus, praying in Jesus’ Name expresses our acknowledgment that we have salvation only through Him, and He is our mediator before God.
With the Lord Jesus as our mediator, we have the assurance that our prayers will be answered, for God is pleased with his beloved Son. We acknowledge His Name because, by His death and resurrection, He has purchased our righteousness before God, and we have access to the throne of grace.
Summary: Praying in Jesus’ Name and according to God’s will
Let us be exhorted to be wise and have understanding in our prayers. The phrase “we pray in Jesus’ Name” is not a formality to indicate the closing of a prayer. By doing so, we acknowledge the authority of the Lord Jesus. We acknowledge that we are servants of the Lord Jesus, doing His bidding, making petitions for every area of our life and our service in the church, for the glory of God. Also, we are praying according to the will of God in obedience to His beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
May our people be encouraged to pray, in the privacy of our homes, as well as at our church prayer meeting, for the work of the Gospel of Christ and the glory of God.
Dn. Lim Seh Beng