We can sometimes major in legalistic issues when we pray. There is no Biblical prescription that mandates where we can or cannot pray, what our posture needs to be when we pray, whether we open or close our eyes (please keep them open if you’re praying and driving!!!), or what time of day. It also does not say we are to say certain words in a certain order, as if prayer is a magic formula.
At the same time, there are some things that we are to be sure to do when we pray. And one of those things Jesus taught us to do was to ask “in My name.” How are we to understand that? Does that mean we must say, “in Jesus’ name” for the prayer to “count?” Does it somehow nullify our request if we don’t add the right words at the end?
I certainly don’t think we can make it about that. To pray in someone’s name would mean to ask under someone else’s authority. We do not come to the Father in prayer in our own name. We don’t ask “in Charlie’s name” or “in Barbara’s name” when we pray. We come requesting “whatsoever we will” under the authority of the name of God’s Son. When we ask “in Jesus’ name” we are saying “we know Jesus.” We say “we have a right to ask because He said so.”
Rick Warren shared the story taking his son and nine of his son’s friends to an amusement park on his birthday when he was young. As the kids filed past Rick on their way in and he handed each of them a ticket, he got through the tenth kid and an eleventh walked up holding his hand out expecting a ticket. “I don’t know you” Rick said. And then the young stranger said the right thing: “Matthew told me to ask you for a ticket.” Rick said, “And you know what? I went and bought #11 a ticket… all because he said `I know your son.’ And that was enough for me.”
And when we ask what we will in prayer, believing in the name of Jesus… living out the call of Jesus in our lives… desiring what Jesus desires… when we act like Jesus… the Father hears us and responds. “I know Jesus!” we say when we pray in His name.
And the Father says, “That’s enough for Me.”
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:3)
FOR REFLECTION: Do you remind the Father of His Son when you pray?