At the end of so many prayers, we hear and say: “in Jesus' name we pray, amen.” Why? Well, it’s not just a traditional, canned ending to prayers. In the book of John, Jesus Himself emphasized the importance of praying in His name when teaching the disciples how to pray.
"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
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16
These are promises straight from Jesus Himself! “Whatever” we ask. “Anything” we ask. Wow! There is power when we pray in the name of Jesus.
So what’s in a name?
It’s because of Jesus that we even have the opportunity to pray in the first place. When He gave His life for us on the cross and rose from the dead three days later, He restored His original design for humankind – that we can have a direct relationship with Him. We are no longer under the law and separated from Him by sin, but through His free gift of salvation we are forgiven of our sin when we believe He is God. We can now commune directly with God Himself, and that means we can talk directly to Him through prayer, just like a relationship with a close friend. It’s because of Jesus’ precious blood that we even have the privilege to call upon the Father, anytime, anywhere.
“For through Him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18
His Spirit lives in us.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He makes His home in us. His Spirit dwells in us. We are no longer ourselves, but Christ who lives within us (Galatians 2:20). It’s the Helper or the Holy Spirit who God the Father sent in Jesus’ name that teaches us all things and is always with us.
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7
Jesus was comforting His disciples with accepting His coming earthly departure in this verse as the Spirit would later come to allow each and every person direct access to God all of the time, above and beyond what Jesus could do as one man, in one place, at any given time.
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24
As a new creation in Christ, we now have His Spirit in us. Just like a woman who takes her husband’s name in marriage, we now take on the name of Christ when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. We pray in His name as His humble and obedient children because we love Him. Andrew Murray says it beautifully in his book “Teach Me to Pray”: “To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray in unity and in sympathy with Him. Such prayer has power. If with Jesus you glorify the Father, the Father will glorify Jesus by doing what you ask in His name.”
The Spirit in us prays on our behalf, and Jesus intercedes and advocates for us with God the Father.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He (Jesus) makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
He rose from the dead, is alive, and lives to forever intercede for us at the right hand of the Father. It’s Him that is really doing the asking and taking our requests to the Father when we pray, receiving those requests from the Spirit who lives in us.
How amazing is it that we have the power of Jesus in us? Before Jesus promised that the Father will give us “whatever” and “anything”, He said:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12
Our strength and power IS Jesus. He alone is the power of prayer. It’s in His name prayer is powerful. It’s nothing we’ve done or earned, it’s all Him. What a privilege it is to pray!
So, is it about ending each prayer with the memorized phrase of: “in Jesus name, amen?” just to sound all churchy? No! Like anything concerning our relationship with God, it’s not about checking the box, but rather your heart’s motivation. When you pray, acknowledge from the depths of your heart and mind that it’s through Jesus that you can even pray in the first place. Picture Jesus sitting at the right hand of God praying on your behalf. Have confidence that when you are praying God’s will (His Word), in unity with Jesus, that you will receive what you ask. Allow these truths to sink into your heart and change your heart’s approach to praying, and come to your Lord in gratitude and adoration. The next time you say, “in Jesus name,” your heart will be outpouring praise versus it just being the typical ending to your prayers.