We all pray. For those who prefer another word, how about this. We all have hopes, wishes and wants, presented to an unknown but innately-recognized entity we believe can provide what we desire. If you are of the Christian faith, you believe your requests or pleas are heard and provided through the name of Jesus. In John 14:14 Jesus reminds us that “if you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” As a result of this, every Christian prayer usually ends in some variation of “in the name of Jesus… Amen.” But what does it mean to ask or pray in the name of Jesus? What does it truly mean to invoke that name besides the perfunctory religious act taught to us by our elders?
“If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14
I believe that out of the millions of Christians on this planet, few truly understand the power of that phrase. Most repeat it out of habit, usually the dying or least important part of their prayer, since they have already presented what it is they desire. Others give reverence to it, but only out of religious obligation. In other words, they say it because it says so in the Bible. While some may find one of these two to be worse than the other, I believe they are both in the same situation. One of ignorance, because neither has inquired as to the meaning and importance of said phrase beyond their own personal gain. To inquire is to show interest. In this case it’s to initiate relationship or to display a loving heart towards another without personal agenda.
God created us in his image to have relationship with us. If he wanted beings to just do as he says without understanding or agreeing, he would create beings without freewill; automatons if you will. When we act as robots, especially seeing God only within the context of what we can gain from Him, we do discredit to our lineage. Meaning we are not acting as ones created in His image, in our Godly authority. Ironically, the very thing we must do to understand the reason behind God’s words is the same required to invoke the name of Jesus in the fashion intended, we must have relationship with Him.
Obviously, the invocation of Jesus’ name possesses power, otherwise it wouldn’t be necessary to utilize it. Jesus promises that “anything in my name, I will do.” But such a promise, which is to use the power of His name, is only available to, or is most potent to those who know him in a certain manner. Mind you, the invitation is open to everyone, but only those who are open to having relationship with Him, will the depth it its meaning and power be made available.
To understand what it means to invoke the name of Jesus, it is helpful to know Whom and What you’re calling upon. John 1:1-4 is representative of the Being and Power invoked every time we say “in the name of Jesus”: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. In other words, in the beginning of creation, when God spoke (for a lack of a better word) and said “Let there be light..” and every subsequent event and creation, this Word, or Jesus is the power emanating from God that brought everything to be. This same Entity now tells us that if we accept and exercise the rights of our true lineage, of being in God’s image, one characteristic of which is having no doubt, we are allowed access to this power, to Him. I see this as vividly and as potent as us exercising our dominion over any of our body parts; something often taken for granted, given its seeming ease. Similarly to learning how to use this body effectively over time through the building of a relationship with it, so is it when it comes to God.
In conclusion, Theist and Atheist alike, Christian or non-Christian, whether praying, asking, pleading, wishing, or hoping, remember that you’re asking for something you’re unable to provide for yourself. As such, the utmost reverence is an intuitive notion. Regardless what we call Him, depending on our views, I believe the Entity through which, and by which everything that is, came to be, is the one and the same. As for me, I believe that the Word made Himself flesh as Jesus, which means “God saves.” I pray this was helpful in furthering your understanding and appreciation for what it means to pray “in the name of Jesus.”