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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

What Does It Mean to Pray in the Name of Jesus?

Jesus once made a statement that sounds rather sweeping: "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14). That is a fantastic promise, but it must be understood properly, because simply adding "in Jesus' name" to the end of every prayer does not guarantee success.

In our legal system, we have what is called the grant of a power of attorney. This means that an individual who owns property, money, or some right gives control over it to someone else, and that person acts in the owner's name. In whatever he or she does regarding the thing under control, the action is done with the owner's authority. It is as if the owner himself were acting. Likewise, in the promise above, Jesus gives us His authority to make requests of the Father. When we ask in His name, it is as though Jesus Himself were making the request. In that name there is absolutely awesome power.

For this authority to be exercised properly, however, the attorney must be a faithful agent of the owner. That is, his actions must be in accord with the owner's wishes. To do otherwise is to abuse the power of attorney. We see that this is true also of God: "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14). So when we prepare to ask something of God in Jesus' name, we need to be sure that our request reflects His will, not ours.

Then, too, God answers prayers offered in Jesus' name "that the Father may be glorified in the Son." The result of such prayer should be that God is honored and glorified, for that is its whole purpose.

Jesus has given us the power to ask in His name, and it is a wonderful privilege of which we should take full advantage. But to misuse that power is presumption.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson. 

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