How many times have you heard a prayer ended with “and we ask all these things in your name”?
Personally, I’ve heard it too many times to count. Now, there’s nothing wrong with ending a prayer this way, but just because we do end it this way doesn’t guarantee that we are actually asking on His behalf. Would Jesus Christ Himself be asking for what we are asking for?
Here’s the deal: when Jesus told His disciples that He would do for them whatever they ask for in His name, He wasn’t meaning that they could ask for anything and then just tag it with “in Jesus’ name”. He meant that whatever they ask for ON HIS BEHALF He would do. He meant that whatever they ask for THAT IS FOR HIS PURPOSE He would do. He meant that whatever they asked for that was IN HIS WILL He would do. They didn’t need to say “in Jesus’ name” at the end of their prayer for Jesus to know whether or not they were actually praying on His behalf.
Think about this: if the President of the United States sent me as an ambassador to the President of China, I would be received because I was sent by the President of the United States. But if I showed up in China of my own accord and demanded to meet with the President, I would be laughed out of the building or worse, arrested. If Barack Obama did send me, he would be sure to instruct me on what I was to accomplish while there and what his purpose and needs were. He would send me as a representative of himself. However, if when I got there I started making my own plans and asking Xi Jinping for personal favors, I would no longer be operating on behalf of Barack Obama. I would no longer have the authority of the President of the United States backing me. I would now be operating in my own name.
When we pray, our prayers are heard simply because we are in Christ. The Father receives us and hears us because we have been made one with the Son, and the Father always receives and listens to the Son. We never go to the Father on our own accord. We go in the Son. The door of fellowship with God is opened to us because of the Son, yet when we enter in, how much of what we say and ask for is in His name? How much is in our own?
Here’s an opportunity: spend some time with the Lord in these scriptures, and turn the phrase “in my name” into “on my behalf” and see if anything new stands out. (Matthew 18:5, 20) (Mark 9:37, 39; 16:17) (Luke 9:48) (John 14:13-14, 26; 15:16; 16:23-27)