What Does It Mean to Pray In Jesus' Name?
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
I stood in front of the mirror brushing my teeth. The rest of the house was unusually quiet for a Saturday morning. Normally, we’d be hustling our oldest son out the door for his rec league basketball game. His dad, the coach, would insist on getting there a few minutes early, and I'd be waiting on the Keurig to spit out my coffee before walking out the door.
But this Saturday was different. I was heading to the gym by myself, filling in as coach for my husband who was still stuck in quarantine with my son. Toothbrush in hand, thinking about the game ahead, I shot up a quick prayer, “Lord, help me not to look stupid.” I love basketball, I know the game, I spent countless hours behind the bench keeping the book and taking stats as my husband coached junior high and high school teams. But this was my first attempt at coaching, and I was afraid of looking clueless. Mere seconds after my prayer (a prayer I sincerely meant), I realized it was the wrong one.
My prayer was focused on my desire to avoid embarrassment. It was all about me. I didn’t ask for God to use me to encourage the boys or push them to work hard. I didn’t pray that my words and actions would bring God glory. No, I simply prayed that I wouldn’t look stupid.
And that moment led me to think about all the prayers I send up. How many times have my requests focused on me rather than God’s will and glory?
Jesus told His disciples (and us) “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14, NIV). Asking in Jesus’ name is more about our hearts than the words. “Lord, help me not to look stupid. In Jesus’ Name, Amen” doesn’t make it the kind of prayer Jesus is talking about here.
The notes in my study Bible explain it like this, to ask in Jesus’ name means:
1) the believer’s prayer should be for His purposes and kingdom and not selfish reasons
2) the believer’s prayer should be on the basis of His merits and not any personal merit or worthiness
3) the believer’s prayer should be in pursuit of His glory alone
And so now I’ll look at my prayers in a different way—making sure they align with God’s will, focus on what Jesus can do through me, and bring God glory. And God—who not only hears my prayers but also sees my heart—will know that what I’m asking is in Jesus’ name.
*Want to join me in meditating on God’s Word this week? Save these words as your lock screen. Write them on a notecard and place them somewhere you’ll see them during your day. Throughout the week, recite them to your kids, your spouse, or a friend. When we focus on His word, He will use it to produce results in our lives.