Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. – Colossians 3:17
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. – John 14:13-14
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. – John 15:16
These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. – John 20:31
“In that day you will not question Me about anything Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. – John 16:23-24
The first time I visited a Lutheran Church I struggled with the idea that the pastor would say, “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I had difficulty adding my “Amen” to that.
I had not really read or considered John 20:23, where Jesus says to his disciple on the first Easter Sunday, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” And I completely misunderstood the concept of speaking, praying, or baptizing “in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I thought of that phrase as formula, a mere formality of words, not expressing any substantive reality or having meaning beyond the words themselves.
Since that time, however, I have come to a deeper understanding of those words. They are profound in meaning and in impact if taken to heart and received in faith. They speak not merely of a formulaic understanding of the nature of God. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a weighty mystery. But they convey a boldness to which we are invited in prayer and in life.
We are to pray in Jesus’ name. It’s like the messenger who goes to a foreign country and delivers a message in his king’s name. The messenger is nothing but a conduit. The king, however, is mighty. The messenger carries the weight of the king’s words in his pouch.
To pray in Jesus’ name is far more than tacking on the words, “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our petition. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are praying not of our own authority, but in the authority of the Son of God! I love the way O Hallesby puts it in his book, Prayer.
We raise a number of objections again, “I can not pray. I do not have enough faith. nor do I have enough love and earnestness. My heart is not spiritual, and I am not sufficiently zealous.”
The Spirit listens camly to all our objections and says, “Everything you say is true. And there would be no hope for you if you were to pray in your own name. But listen again. You are to pray in the name of Jesus. It is for Jesus’ sake that you are to receive what you ask for.” (O Hallesby, Prayer, p. 58)
When we approach God in Jesus’ name, we approach him in the power of his grace, love, faithfulness, mercy, and kindness. Our supply of those qualities is corrupted by sinful hearts, motives, and desires. Jesus purifies all that. So we pray in Jesus’ name and look for God to answer. For Jesus’ sake. In keeping with his pure righteousness, grace, and truth. We pray in Jesus’ name and wait to see how God will answer that prayer.