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Saturday, January 25, 2014

In the name of Jesus

Over the last couple of years I have grown increasingly agitated by the use of the phrase “in the name of Jesus” as people close up their prayers or interject them disjointedly in the midst of their prayer requests. I have, more often than I care to think about, heard the phrase at the end preceded with an “oh…in..” almost like they forgot a magic work. And I believe that is exactly why I’m so agitated, it has become a robotic, thoughtless, magic phrase to somehow validate the authenticity of our prayer request. It is for this reason, when I teach about prayer, I ask people to not say this after their prayer. It is remarkable how difficult this is. It has become a rote exercise, a mindless babble of words, and exercise in spiritual manipulation (as if that actually works with God!). There is very little thought given to the words. In fact, because it borders on thoughtless it can’t actually be a prayer said, “in the name of Jesus.” Believe me I know how agitated many of you who read this will be. I witness this in my courses all the time. So give it a try. Pray and DON’T say the words, “in the name of Jesus.” It is difficult. The Bible does not instruct to use this phrase. Unfortunately, we have reduced an instruction about how to pray to a phrase and not the principle of praying according to the will of God. Remember Jesus’ teaching to “… seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”? Our wish lists, our needs lists, our wants lists, are to be subordinated to the worship and honor of our Lord. That is supposed to the meaning of the phrase, “in the name of Jesus.” It is not to be a tag line at the end of the prayer, but is supposed to be the over-ruling of our desires for His desires. It is to correct our orientation from being self driven, to being driven by the honor and glory of the Lord of Creation. It is not to be a tag line in our prayers, but the overall focus of our prayers. Will my request honor God? How will I insure God’s glory is revealed should He be please to answer “yes?” Am I prepared to give Him thanks should He deem it better to say “no?” We are certainly to present our requests to God, but never as the expense of forgetting to acknowledge the wonder of He Whom allows us into His presence, the One Whose sacrifice allows us to enter the throne room with confidence, and the acknowledgment that the Holy Spirit will present our prayers when our words can’t explain the passions of our hearts. So when you pray today, don’t say “in the name of Jesus,” insure your heart is actually wanting Jesus’ name to be famous through the answer God decides to render. God bless you!