Don’t treat prayer like an oil change. Prayer is so much more than that.
“I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it… In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 14:13-14 and John 16:23)
“It’s been good talking with you. I know You heard me. And by the way…in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Whether the prayer has been a simple conversation with God or was poured out from a breaking heart, how often we hurriedly tack on four words that we presume necessary to make it a “proper prayer”. It’s as if we believe that God must hear us now because we have finished the formula.
In Jesus’ agonizing time in the Garden of Gethsemane, His words were simple, a cry of His heart to a Father He knew loved Him and heard His voice. During heartbreaking, confusing times like those, formulas are useless because they involve only the mind. When hearts are breaking and minds slog through muddiness, words are from the heart, real, desperate and loaded with emotion.
“In Jesus’ name” is not a formula. Praying in His name means praying with Jesus’ authority and asking God the Father to act upon our prayers—in His time and way—because we come in the name of His Son. When we pray in His name, we are praying His will, as if in His stead, much like when we act on behalf of a loved one in a power of attorney situation. We are praying just as Jesus would.
Dr. Mark Roberts says that when he was young, praying “in Jesus’ name” was something like a magic formula, ensuring that God would hear his prayers. He goes on to say that it might be good not to use the words unless—or until—we have given serious thought to what we are praying: does our prayer in some way lie within the realm of God’s will? And for clearer understanding of that will, we must spend concentrated time in discovering the glorious God of the Bible and in careful listening to His Spirit. “In Jesus’ name” then becomes a powerful statement of faith.
Question: How does praying the way Jesus prayed affect your prayer life?