People end their prayers with “in the name of Jesus” without understanding all it entails. The word “in” is a preposition of position and it carries with it a doctrinal truth that all believers need to know.
The book of Ephesians could be called the “position book” and the word “in” brings our position into focus. This doctrinal truth is called our “ascension privilege” and it is our position in Jesus Christ. Therefore, our standing before God rests in Jesus Christ and praying in the name of Jesus is the way our prayers are heard. In the name of Jesus, is an acknowledgment of the believer’s position in Jesus Christ and an understanding that our prayers are heard as we approach the throne of grace.
It is in obedience to the command of Jesus, for we cannot pray in our own standing but we pray in His. Praying in the name of Jesus means praying according to God’s will. Shortly before the crucifixion, Jesus told His followers to pray in His name — in other words, to make requests according to His will. He pointed out that power is attached to prayer offered in this way. “The Father will give you whatever you ask in My name” (John 15:16).
Praying in Jesus’ name states both out relationship with Christ and our right — through Him — to approach the Father directly. At salvation, we went from being foreigners and aliens to being children of God (Ephesians 2:19). Our Creator has become our Heavenly Father. He hears our requests because we have been made family through the redemptive work of His Son. The presence of Christ’s Spirit within us proves we are one of His own.
Jesus’ death opened the way for us to have immediate unhindered admittance to the Father’s presence. In the temple, a veil closed off the Holy of Holies from man. When Jesus finished His work of making the last priestly sacrifice (Hebrews 10:14), that veil was torn in two (Mark 15:38), symbolizing the spiritual truth that access to God was now open to all who believe. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the right to talk to God directly without a human intermediary (Ephesians 2:18).
The glorified Christ now sits at the right hand of God, where He intercedes for us and serves as our High Priest (Hebrews 7:25). He has instructed us to come and ask for what we need. These words give us the authorization to enter the throne room of grace at any time and speak personally with the Father. To everyone who has received Jesus Christ as Savior, the Lord has granted the right to use His name.
Based on our kinship with Jesus, we have access to the Father and can come with Christ’s authority to make requests. But to use the Savior’s name, we must also agree with God’s purposes. Praying in the name of Jesus means we are asking in agreement with His character and His will. As servants of God, we are to make it our priority to obey Him and His will, not our own. By allowing God’s Word to abide in us — to become part of our thinking and our standard for life — we will learn to pray in accordance with His plan.
“In Jesus’ name” is a phrase of confidence. It is a confession of certainty that our prayers will be heard. When I pray in Jesus’ name I come boldly before God because of the power of His name. Jesus has literally given us His name. When we use His name, we are confessing that He is mine and I am His. To pray in His name is to ask by His authority; and to ask by His authority is to ask in accordance to His will as revealed in His Word. To ask in His name is to ask according to His nature, and His nature is one of submission. This, by the way, is why prayers that ask for things contrary to the Word of God will never be answered.
Name in Scripture represents the very essence of the person. A person’s personality, character, reputation and authority are all wrapped up in His name. God’s name is exalted in Scripture, and His name is excellent. We are to exalt His name in our prayers and in our praise. God has highly exalted Jesus and given Him a name that is above every name. His exalted name brings worship and praise. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we may expect the answer in accord with the value of His name. So we can pray with great and excited expectation.
We do not come to God in our own power or authority but in that which belongs to God alone. It means that you know you are totally unworthy of receiving anything from God and that the only reason God should grant our requests is that we come in Jesus’ name. It’s a heart attitude. In all of our prayers, we should try to say, “in Jesus’ name.” The phrase means nothing without the heart attitude. I am nothing and can do nothing without Jesus. Therefore, who I am makes no difference, but when I come in the name of Jesus — that is authority and that is power!
We have the right to approach God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The purpose of prayer is to glorify God and enjoy Him or enjoy seeing His answers to our prayers. Scripture approaches prayer from the assumption that it is meant to be answered, that it is meant to get results. You might say, “I’ve been defeated this week. I’ve fallen into sin. I overslept and didn’t get up for quiet time this morning.”
Maybe we even blew an opportunity to witness. And so we think there is no use in praying. God sure wouldn’t answer my prayer today. Now we are coming to God with a lack of confidence. As I kneel before God and look at my own life, I see my sin. I see my failure. I see my weaknesses.
But this simply drives me to Jesus Christ, and I say: “Father, I come today through Your infinite grace and through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and I base all of my requests on Your righteousness. I come before You, not in my own power, not in my own righteousness, not in my own capability. I come before You in the authority of Jesus, Your Son, who gave me access in this faith in which I stand because of Your shed blood. I come on the merits of Jesus, not on my own merits. As someone said, “Jesus Christ bought and paid for on the cross the answer to every prayer that we will ever petition.” There’s something about the name Jesus. It is the sweetest name I know. Let’s stop right now and give thanks to God for the incredible privilege of prayer!
Milley Brewington is a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.