It has been a common practice for followers of Christ to end their prayers, “In Jesus’ name.” While this may seem like an appropriate and respectful way to conclude prays to God, what does this mean?
While on earth, Jesus, being fully God and fully man, modeled a life of prayer as he imitated a lifestyle of dependence on His Heavenly Father. He gave specific instructions to his disciples on how to pray through what is commonly known as the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13). His instructions on prayer help us understand how to praise and thank God, seek forgiveness and restoration and to bring our needs and concerns to God. Other Scriptures highlight the importance of seeking forgiveness from others as you pray to God. In the Bible, Jesus gave us an example of a devoted prayer life as he took time in the early morning to go off by himself and pray (Mark 1:35). He prayed for healing, deliverance and that God’s will would be done.
In the book of John, Jesus was preparing His disciples to carry on His work He started on earth. He told them not to worry and to trust that He would take care of them. He then communicated a simple instruction to radically shape their prayer life. He said in John 14:13-14, “And 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.”
What a promise! Jesus said he would answer their prayers asked “in His name.” He even repeated it to them. At first read, one would think Jesus is offering to do anything one requests. To pray “in the name of Jesus” means to pray in such a way that God is glorified in the prayer or the outcome of the prayer. So these prayers prayed to God in Jesus name are answered in such a way to bring glory to God. The power in prayer is realized when we learn to pray for the things that will bring glory to God.
Understanding the phrase “In Jesus’ Name” can radically change our prayer life. Before asking God for something, ask yourself this question: “If God answers this prayer, will He be glorified?”
Frank Alioto is the pastor of The River Covenant Church. The church meets Sundays, 10 a.m. at The Challenger Learning Center in Kenai. Frank also serves as a chaplain with Central Emergency Services and can be reached at 252-2828 or www.therivercovenantchurch.org.