What does it mean to Pray in Jesus’ name?
In John 14:13-14 Jesus said the following to His disciples: “Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
Many people have misinterpreted John 14:13-14 to imply that if you say a prayer and then end your prayer with the phrase “in Jesus’ name”, then you’ll receive whatever you pray for.
Furthermore there are others who wonder why their prayers are never answered by God, despite using the phrase “in Jesus’ name” whenever they pray.
In John 14:13-14, Jesus does not imply that we should invoke His name as some kind of magic incantation which gets us the things we want.
Instead in John 14:13 Jesus Himself reveals why we should pray in His name: We should pray in the name of Jesus “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
To pray in Jesus’ name means that when we pray, the Lord will eventually answer our prayers if our requests bring honor and glory to God.
Answered prayer must always bring us to the realization that it is not by our own intellect, power or ability – but all answered prayer is by the grace of God and for the purpose of glorifying God in our life.
So whatever we pray about will be answered by God if the Lord has decided that it will give glory to Him alone.
To pray in Jesus’ name means that the content of our prayers should be in accordance with the divine will and purpose of God.
1 John 5:14-15 says: And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.
Therefore praying in Jesus’ name is not a magic phrase which gets God to comply to our personal passions. Instead when we pray, our motives and heart must be pure and authentic. Our motives must not be selfish, prideful nor be rooted in any characteristic of our sinful nature.
James 4:3 says: You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
To pray in Jesus’ name also means that we pray with spiritual authority as sons and daughters of God. To pray in Jesus’ name means that we pray with the understanding that it is Jesus who has the name that is above all names (Philippians 2:9).
When we pray we must understand that we represent Christ who has authority above all things to the extent that every knee shall bow and tongue confess that “Jesus is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Therefore praying in Jesus’ name means that we recognize the supremacy of Christ and that all things ultimately submit to the power, the authority and the character of Jesus Christ.
As we pray in Jesus’ name we are seeking not our will be done, but for God’s will to be done. To invoke the name of Jesus in prayer means that we are seeking to acknowledge the will, the authority and the glorification of God through our prayer requests.