At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His disciples: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24). By offering to let us pray in his name, Jesus is offering an amazingly great privilege. It’s as if he is giving us blank checks to be drawn on his account, knowing we will use them for his honor and his advantage.
Jesus is demonstrating great trust in us. He is trusting that his honor and his interests are safe in our hands. Consider what it would mean to place your estate in the hands of another person: your credit cards, your home, your investments, your automobiles, your responsibilities, everything.
You’d pick that person very carefully, wouldn’t you? You’d really be giving that person control over your life and your future.
That’s essentially what Jesus did when he authorized us to use his name in prayer. He gave us authority over his accounts. He asked us to exercise control over his estate—the kingdom of God.
We exercise our authority by prayer. By prayer we ask the Father for all we need in order to do the job. By prayer we ask God to deal with demonic forces contrary to his will. By prayer we direct God’s grace and power to strategic locations where it is needed.
Three phrases in particular help us understand what it means to pray in Jesus’ name.
First, we are authorized to be Christ’s representatives. When we come to the Father in Jesus’ name, we come as those who are authorized to act in his place. We “represent” him. When we stand before the throne, the Father recognizes us as persons who stand in the place of his Son. That makes us acceptable.
Second, we come to God on the basis of Christ’s merit. You and I have no claim on God, but Christ does. He merited the Father’s favor by his perfect life and sacrifice. When we come in Jesus’ name, we are identified with him. We come on the ground of his claim on the Father. Our access depends solely on what Jesus has done.
Try to imagine yourself coming to the Father on your own, apart from Christ. You are unauthorized to come, because you have no claim on God’s favor. In fact, you have a huge debt with God because of your sins and you can expect nothing but God’s blazing wrath. That’s the opposite of coming in the name of Jesus.
Third, we come asking in accord with Christ’s will. We have the mind of Christ in us, so what we ask is what Jesus would ask. He is asking us to ask for him. We are able to ask what he would ask because our wills are in sync with his will.
The Father so loves the Son that when we introduce the Son’s name in prayer, we have his ear, we have secured his willingness, and we have touched his heart.
- Think about the responsibility you have for building some part of Christ’s kingdom. What help do you need from the Lord to do this well?
- What can you do to learn how to be more conscious of Jesus’ will as you pray in his name?
Have you ever added the words “in Jesus name” to a prayer when, in fact, the prayer did not really represent his will?
- Praise God for the gracious provision of his Son, Jesus Christ, as the One through whom you are able to approach the throne and receive a hearing from God.
- Confess any selfish praying that has not truly represented the mind of Christ and has not been in accord with his will.
- Ask for anything you need in order to accomplish God’s will in your life and in your world.
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