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Praying in the Name of Jesus

What does this priviledge really mean?

by David A. DePra

     What does it mean to "pray in the name of Jesus?" This is a
fundamentally important question, for it stands at the center of our
relationship with God.
(1)  It means to pray with the authority of Jesus. In other
words, if I pray "in Jesus' name," I am speaking the will of
     This is not overstepping the promises of Christ.  If we are coming
in the name of another -- namely Jesus -- or making a request in
their name, we are speaking in their place. We are saying what
they would say -- that is -- asking according to THEIR will. So, in
effect, to pray "in the name of Jesus" is to pray what Jesus would
pray in the situation.
     This shows that to pray "in the name of Jesus" means more
than to merely say the words, "in the name of Jesus." The words
are important, but not the issue. Praying "in the name of Jesus" is
a matter of the heart -- I desire to ask God only for that which Jesus
would ask.
     Ok. But let's suppose I'm mistaken about the will of God? Let's
suppose I pray "in Jesus' name," and it is NOT something for which
Jesus would pray? What then?
     Well, then thankfully, God won't grant my request! God is
faithful even if all of us are off the track! If I am not praying what
Jesus would pray, then I am not speaking for Christ -- for I'm not
praying according to His will. Thus, God won't do what I ask.
     Now ask: Would you want Him to? If you prayed for something
which was NOT the will of God, would you want God to grant your
request? The answer should be obvious.
     Being honestly mistaken about the will of God isn't sin. Neither
should I refuse to pray unless I think I'm sure about God's will. That
is nonsense, for it is through prayer that we discern God's will to
begin with. We should always pray -- but do it with the knowledge
that there is more to God and His purpose than our perception can
grasp. We should always be of the attitude, "Nevertheless, not MY
will, but THINE."
     That is surrender to the will of God. That is praying according
to God's will. And that is praying in the name of Jesus. Surrender
in prayer means that included in my request is the desire that God
look past MY words and MY desires and do HIS will, instead of
mine. This is the way Jesus prayed, and if I am praying "in His
name," it is the way I will pray. It will be my attitude in prayer.
(2)  To pray "Jesus' name," I must pray according to the
will of God. What this reallly means is quite simple: I
must ask God to do what He already wants to do.
     This might seem a strange statement to some. But it is a fact.
To pray according to the will of God means that I ask God what He
already wants to do. Imagine the alternative: It would suggest that
prayer is asking God what He DOESN'T want to do. Or it would
suggest that prayer is asking God what He never thought of. Or it
would suggest that prayer is asking God about something he has
no will on whatsoever. None of these alternatives are possible
regarding the Eternal One. God HAS a will. He is not undecided or
in the dark about anything. He has already decided about what I
am going to ask Him.
     Now, of course the minute you say that we must ask God to do
what He already wants to do, it sounds like you are saying that God
is depending upon us to ask before He CAN do. But this is not so.
God can do anything He wants, anytime He wants. And He does
many things we never ask. But generally, He wants us to ask.
     Why? Well, if you are truly asking God to do His will, what does
it say about you? It says you are BECOMING His will. Sure. And
it says that you are surrendered to His will. Otherwise, you
wouldn't be asking for God to do His will.
     God wants us to do MORE than just ASK for His will. He wants
us to BECOME His will. Our asking will then be more than words.
It will be the product of our relationship with Him as our Heavenly
Father, and the by-product of knowing Jesus Christ.
     God is so great that He has determined not to force Himself
upon us. Thus, He puts us in a process wherein we ask as we
become. We ask because we truly want God to do His will in our
     God is so great that He tells us to ask Him to do what He
already wills to do. He has that much respect and love for us as
individuals. To pray in "Jesus' name" means that I will never ask
God to override His will to do mine. It means I want Him to override
my will to do HIS.
(3)  To pray "in the name of Jesus," I must point only to
Jesus as the reason God should answer. I must never
point to myself as the reason.
     This can be subtle. When you pray to God, do you feel it is
more possible He will answer you because you have recently
obeyed Him? Do you feel like an answer is less likely because
you have failed? If so, then you aren't praying in the name of Jesus.
You are praying in "your own name" -- for you are basing God's
response on YOU, not on Christ.
     The Truth is, there is nothing about ourselves which can move
God on our behalf. Likewise, there is nothing about ourselves
which can hinder God on our behalf. Prayer is not to be based on
anything about US. It is to be based on Jesus Christ.
     What this means is this: When I make my request of God, and
say, "in the name of Jesus," I point to Jesus as the reason God
should answer. I do not point to me. And pointing to Jesus
immediately accrues to me all the priviledges of access to God
which Jesus possesses. It also means that I am telling God that
ONLY if my request is the will of God, and a request Jesus would
make, do I want Him to answer.
     Ok, but isn't it true that if we have sin in our lives that God will
refuse to answer our prayers? Well, first of all, if we say we have
NO sin, we make God a liar. In other words, we DO have sin in
our lives. The question is therefore, what kind of sin?
     If we are in deliberate and intentional sin, having no thought of
seeking God for a way out of our sin, then the question of prayer
becomes moot. In that case, we aren't going to pray according
to the will of God -- because by definition we don't WANT the will
of God. THAT is our whole problem. And God won't answer us
unless we pray according to His will.
     But there is a prayer God will answer. Even in sin, we still have
the priviledge of asking God for deliverance. That IS His will. And
we can always pray that prayer and be sure it is what Jesus would
     If we pray "in the name of Jesus" we already acknowledge that
even the slightest sin on our part is enough to keep our prayer
from God. That is why we tell God to look, not at us, but to His Son.
And incredibly, because God looks at His Son, His answer to our
prayer is as sure as His answer is to Jesus.
     What we see here is this: If I pray in the name of Jesus, God's
answer is as sure as Jesus' name. If I pray what Jesus would pray,
God will answer us as He would Jesus.
(4)  I must pray in "Jesus' name" in FAITH. I must believe
that God will give to me what I ask.
    This is a tough one, isn't it? How do I get from where I am, with
all my doubts and fears, to where I have no doubt that God will
grant my request? How could I ever be that sure?
     Actually, this isn't as hard as we make it. Faith is predicated
upon all of the other things we have seen about praying "in the
name of Jesus." If I am praying what Jesus would pray, asking
God to do what He already wants to do, and pointing to Jesus
alone as the reason God should answer, then how can I NOT
believe? Faith will emerge as the by-product of praying in the
name of Jesus according to the will of God.
     I can believe I will receive what I ask of God only if I am asking
Him to do His will. How could He then NOT answer? How could
God ever refuse to do His own will? He could not. Ask God to do
His will in my life, and then surrender to it, and I can be sure He'll
do it. I can and will believe.
     Herein we see HOW to have faith: Surrender to the will of God.
And if I really understood it, I would see that I cannot have real
faith for anything which is NOT the will of God. There simply is no
such thing. There is only a soulish, human, religious faith.
     Just as I cannot pray "in the name of Jesus" for anything Jesus
wouldn't pray for, I cannot have the faith of Christ for anything
Jesus has no faith for. The minute I begin praying for the will of
God in Jesus' name, faith will be there. The faith of Christ is
ALWAYS there for the will of God.
     Faith is not a state of mind wherein I have convinced myself
that something is true. Faith is not intellectual assent. Faith is not
a rest in what is comfortable. True faith does not originate, nor is it
generated, from myself as the source. Faith is a deposit from God
which enables me to believe and embrace what is already the
Truth in Jesus Christ.  In effect, the will of God carries the faith of
Jesus Christ. Surrender to His will and you will have faith.
     Now, it would be silly to think that I could possibly generate
faith from myself as the source -- up to heaven -- and with that
be able to move God to do my will. Yet some false teachers today
teach this. They say faith is a "force" generated by myself --
through thoughts and spoken words -- which creates reality and
creates what I request. They suggest that my faith somehow acts
upon God and impresses Him so much that He will do what I
insist. But this is error. There is no such thing as real faith unless
it is in the will of God. The will of God always genders faith. If you
want faith, surrender to God's will. You'll find that all the faith in
the world is carried in what God wants to do.
     But how about false faith? What does it sometimes seem as if
we believe -- when in reality we don't believe? Or worse yet, why
does it sometimes seem as if we DON'T believe, when we actually
     Self-will can create the illusion of faith. If we want something bad
enough, it is quite possible to think God also wants it. And this can
create a pseudo "peace" or "faith." It can create a false certainty.
But there may be no reality or real faith behind it.
     Fear can create the illusion of unbelief. If we are afraid that
something is true, our fear can often make it seem so real that we
think it IS true. Thus, if we are afraid that God won't hear us, this can
often make it seem as if He isn't hearing us. And if we buy into this,
we will be led into unbelief. Yet none of it is based in reality.
     Emotions are great liars. They can mimmick faith and mimmick
unbelief. They can make us "feel" like we believe, or don't believe.
That is why we are never to base anything on emotions. We are to
step aside from them and base Truth on God Himself. If I am
praying "in the name of Jesus" I am not praying in the name of my
emotions -- this is, based on how I feel. I am praying through
those emotions and basing my faith on the will of God in Jesus
(5)  If I am praying "in the name of Jesus," my prayer is
not based on MY understanding. It is based on Jesus'
     I do not need to understand all of in's and out's of a situation to
pray about it. God is not sitting in heaven waiting for me to figure
out what He is doing so that I can pray about it and get Him
moving. No. It is sufficient that GOD understands. Prayer is a
means by which I discern the will of God, and come to understand
Him. And more than that, it is the means by which I surrender to
God -- whether I understand Him or not.
     It is human nature to think that if WE understand what God is
doing that we can have more faith. But this is not what the Bible
tells us. The Bible says, "

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own

understanding. (Prov. 3:5)

     If we are to "lean not upon our own understanding" then it means
that leaning upon our own understanding is going to take us to the
wrong place. And we can lean upon our understanding in two ways,
one positive and one negative. We lean upon our own
understanding when our faith is based on what we can understand,
or when our fears are founded upon what we can't. Both are not
true faith. They are actually based upon faith in ourselves, instead
of in God.
     The true knowledge of God found in Jesus Christ is never the
result of ME having gotten through to God. No. It is the result of
God having finally gotten through to ME. God is not moved by
our prayers. WE are moved by our prayers. God's answers are
merely the outcome of US having been moved to where God has
always been waiting. And when that happens, our understanding
of what God is doing often comes with it.
(6)  Prayer in "Jesus' name" will keep our hearts and
minds in Jesus Christ.
     God never bargains with us. He offers everything free of charge,
but on HIS terms. Thus, we must surrender to God without
conditions attached. In prayer, this means that we must surrender
our request to God.
     The Bible tells us what happens when we surrender to God.
Paul says,
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
     The peace of God "passes all understanding," that is, we can
rest in faith -- not because we understand -- but because we know
God understands. And if we will surrender to God in this way by
faith, then God will "keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
     If we want to know how to keep centered in God through prayer,
right here it tells us: Be anxious for nothing. In other words, refuse
all fear. And then surrender all to God. If we do, our hearts will not
only be right with God, but our minds will progressively undergo a
renewal according to the will of God. The result? Yes, we will
KNOW the will of God. But we will BECOME His will.
     Jesus gave us the authority to pray in His name, not so that we
could get God to do our will, but so that God could give us HIS will.
And it is good to know that if we pray for God's will, that we cannot
fail to realize it.

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