Sunday, September 11, 2005

... in Jesus' Name

      It is common everywhere today for believers to end prayer with the phrase “in Jesus’ name.” Probably, this custom comes from Jesus’ statement in John 14:12-14. Most of the time, it simply operates as a formula that tells us that we have come to the end of the prayer. But it is a serious declaration, just the same, with serious implications that we should not ignore.

      Now, for person A to do something in the name of person B is for A to act as though he were B. If I sign a paper in my wife’s name, I do so as though I were she, and she is bound by that agreement, and usually mortgage companies don’t allow that for that very reason. As another example, a power of attorney (so called, in the U.S.) legally sets aside all such distinctions, and therefore any act under the power of attorney is the legally valid equivalent of the same act carried out by the person that granted the power of attorney. And thus one who possesses the power of attorney acts “in the name of” the one who granted it.

      In our time, (at least, in America, where I live) we have little experience of absolute monarchy, and consequently we seldom encounter people who are acting “in the name of the king.” Such a person, though, would be acting for the king in carrying out the will of the king, as though the king himself were present and acting. (In America, we have, “Stop in the name of the law!” I guess that is pretty close.)

      So, when we pray in Jesus’ Name, we are praying as though we were Jesus, acting for Jesus, that is, praying for what Jesus would pray for. But how is this possible? Why is it permitted? Imagine what granting such power must mean.

      Jesus was not and is not fooled by us and our shenanigans. Jesus knew that people would pray for all sorts of silly, frivolous, unnecessary, selfish, contradictory, and wicked things in His Name. So, why did He grant the use of it to His church and people?

      Well, in order for us to pray as though we are Jesus requires us to pray with a mind and will that is conformed to the mind of God in the way that Jesus’ mind was. Only the Spirit can help us with this. (Rom. 8:26) This is grace—the grace of the Lord Jesus towards us. The Holy Spirit grants us conformity to the mind of Jesus (Phil. 2:5) so that when we pray “in Jesus’ Name” we can ask for those things for which Jesus would ask, in conformity to the Father’s will. We seldom do this, lacking in faith as we are, but it is what the Lord wants of us, and it is what He, in His grace, invites us to do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This topic reminds me of a little problem I encountered today at Walmart.

I was buying gift cards to replenish our office supply. We keep a few around for the "down-and-outers" (or posers) who come to the church looking for a hand-out. They can be used to buy gas at our local Walmart as well as groceries. (No booze at Walmart, thank goodness!)

The piece of plastic I use has my boss's name on it. It is a business account and has the name of the church on it as well. I've had no trouble, up until now, using the card and signing my own name. (I'm just not comfortable with forgery!) I knew when the cashier asked to see my ID that I'd have to "'splain." She shook her head and called her supervisor, and from her she got a "negatory." In the meantime, the transaction completed on its own and the white paper came rolling out of the cash register. The supervisor came over and said "we'll let it go this time, but we can't do this again." (Inconvenience factor -- took awhile to punch in all those gift card numbers!) I even had my own personal credit card out, willing to pay for the gift cards that way, if necessary.

Anyhow, somehow this has something to do with today's lesson, but now I've forgotten what the point was.

Oh yes, in Jesus' name. (Amen!)

September 12, 2005 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess when I say "in Jesus' name" I think of the only way we can bring our petitions to the Father is through Jesus. With out Jesus and what He did for me, sin stands in the way and I can not come before the Father and know He hears and will answer,

September 12, 2005 at 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me very much of a sermon by Alistair Begg recently. :)

September 17, 2005 at 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say that since I realized this some years ago, it is the first time I have seen someone else with the same realization!
It is so true and it is so sad that the majority of people understand it literally, that is, they believe that the word "Jesus" gives power or authentication to their prayer.
Even when Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Lord's prayer, he never told them to end like that.
When Jesus said "whatever you ask the Father in my name" he meant that we should ask with his redemption or like he would ask.
It is possibly the biggest cliche of all Christians today.

March 30, 2006 at 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful priviledge God has given us! We can pray to Him through His Son. We must use our priviledge wisely and with reverence. Just like our right to call God "Father"...we must never take it lightly!

July 25, 2007 at 6:37 AM  

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