Nearly every time Christians end their prayers they say: ‘In Jesus’ name. Amen.’ What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name? When we baptise people, why does the minister say: In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…’
For many years, I had absolutely no understanding of what it actually meant to pray in Jesus’ name. I just said it, in the same way I might say ‘Roger – over and out’ when talking on a walkie-talkie. I assumed it was just the way you ended prayers. Thankfully I discovered why…
To act in the name of another means to act on their behalf, to operate with the authority of that person. It means to proceed as if that person were present with you and to perform that action as if that person were doing it himself or herself. When we pray or minister in the name of Jesus, we are doing this action with the authority, presence and power of Jesus himself.
The authority, presence and power of Jesus is another way to describe the kingdom of God, where God rules and reigns. We align our little kingdoms and queendoms with the kingdom of God when we choose to live as apprentices of Jesus, our teacher and master, doing the things he called us to do. As we do that, we act with his power.
For example, in Acts 8:12, Philip is extending the kingdom of God in Samaria: ‘But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised.’
Notice the combination: the kingdom of God was not a nice idea to these disciples, it was a reality they relied on. And they accessed that reality through the name of Jesus. In doing what they did ‘in Jesus’ name’, in a very real sense Jesus was still acting – not independently, but with them.
What will you pray ‘in Jesus name’ today?
I am privileged to act, to pray, to minister and to do all that I do in Jesus’ name. I do not act alone; I operate with the power and presence of Jesus in all that I do.
Gracious Abba, thank you for allowing me to act in your name. I did nothing to deserve this incredible gift. Help me to do all that I do in the spirit that regards you as my all in all. Help me to co-labour with you this day, as together we advance your kingdom. Amen.
What thoughts or feelings did you have about ending a prayer in “Jesus’ name” before reading this chapter?
How might the teaching of this chapter shift what that means to you?