In Jesus Name We Pray…
“In Jesus name we pray…Amen.” I have ended my prayers like this for decades. To be honest most of the time I don’t even think about it…it just rolls right off my tongue. Maybe it’s the same for you or perhaps you’ve heard others pray those words out loud and wondered, “What’s that all about?”
A few days ago I read this Scripture passage, “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And we know if he hears us in whatever we ask that we have obtained the request made of him.” (1 John 5:14-15, NRSV). The “him,” “his,” and “he” refers to God, so if I make a request of God in prayer that is something God agrees with, does that automatically mean I’ll receive what I’ve asked for? Hmmm…
That got me thinking about that phrase I usually end prayers with, “In Jesus name we pray…amen.” I picked that up from family members and others that I heard pray out loud when I was growing up in the church. Jesus himself said that “If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” (John 14:14, NRSV).
So is praying for things in Jesus’ name the magic formula that gets us what we want from God? Is deciding something is God’s will and asking God for that to happen an automatic win for me in the prayer department? I don’t really think so.
When I pray “in Jesus’ name,” I need to have the attitude and desires that Jesus had and still has; things like putting my desires aside and thinking of others like Jesus did (think cross). It means serving others in what I pray for. Praying in Jesus’ name needs to be less about me and my benefit…and more about others.
When I pray for things in accordance with God’s will, I need to be focused on wholeness/healing of others and creation. I need to leave room for the free will and choice of others, because God does. And I need to leave room for how God may want me to be a part of how prayers are answered.
Most of all I need to realize…we all do…that praying boldly in Jesus’ name and in accordance with God’s will are okay. But we also need to realize that when we do, it puts us out there in the adventure of partnering with God and the risen Christ to make God’s desires for my life, other’s lives, and our world a reality. That might make me think a little before I end my prayer the next time. You?
Your partner on the journey,