Praying for God, to God
(What it means to Pray in Jesus’ Name)
In scripture there is major significance in a person's name. For example in Exodus 3 when God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and to tell him to let the Israelites go Moses asks Him who he is to report to Pharaoh who it is that sent him? In other words, by whose authority is Moses being sent. It is here where God reveals His personal name to Moses. God says to tell Pharaoh that 'I Am' has sent you. 'I am', being the verb form of God's revealed name 'Jehovah' or more correctly in Hebrew, 'Yahweh'. Therefore Moses goes as a messenger for Yahweh implying Moses' words are really from God and God is prepared to back up what he intends for Pharaoh to do! Or, in other words Moses goes in God's name.
That seems to me to be the idea behind praying in Jesus' name. It is not just a tag on the end of a prayer.
So, when we pray in Jesus' name we are to pray in the purpose, character, and mission that Jesus has in the world today!
I break it down like this from the start of the model prayer in Matthew 6.
Matt 6:9-10 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. (NLT)
1. “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.” V9
It was Christ’s first purpose in prayer to pray that God’s name would be honored in the world! God is very concerned about His reputation or the reputation of His name! We are to pray the same to God, that His reputation will be upheld in the world through His people. Consider this verse, 1 Sam 12:22 “The LORD will not abandon his chosen people, for that would dishonor his great name. He made you a special nation for himself.” (NLT) And these verses from Numbers 14:15-18 “Now if you slaughter all these people, the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 16'The LORD was not able to bring them into the land he swore to give them, so he killed them in the wilderness.' 17 "Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed it to be. For you said, 18'The LORD is slow to anger and rich in unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion..." (NLT) Moses here in Numbers appeals to God to spare Israel not because they deserved it but because of God’s reputation being tarnished toward the other nations! And God heard that plea and responded! To pray in Jesus’ name is to first pray that God’s reputation will be upheld in any given situation we find ourselves in. Our first life goal is to get more concerned about God’s reputation than our own things. This will greatly alter or view of the things of life.
2 Sam 7:23
23 "And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods?
26 I prayed to the LORD and said, 'O Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your own people. They are your special possession, redeemed from Egypt by your mighty power and glorious strength. 27 Overlook the stubbornness and sin of these people, but remember instead your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 28 If you destroy these people, the Egyptians will say, "The LORD destroyed them because he wasn't able to bring them to the land he had sworn to give them." Or they might say, "He destroyed them because he hated them; he brought them into the wilderness to slaughter them."
2. Next Jesus teaches us to pray in v. 10, “May your Kingdom come soon.”
The next thing in praying in Jesus’ name is to pray for the success of Christ’s mission on earth! Have you ever thought that Jesus wants us to pray for Him to be successful? That is a new one to most people but that is exactly what Jesus means here! What was Jesus’ mission here? Yes He came to die for sinners but if we look at His teaching He repeatedly told us what His mission was and is today. Let’s look at Isaiah 53:10, “But it was the LORD's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD's plan will prosper in his hands.” (NLT) Simply put Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan, God has a plan for the world and Jesus knew it. For a few verses on Christ’s teaching let’s look at the purpose and scope of God’s plan as first taught by Jesus. Matt. 4:23, “Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease.” (NLT) Notice Jesus came preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God coming to earth. This is the major purpose of His mission. Another verse from Matt. 6:33, “And he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” (NLT) Here again Jesus relates that we are to be first concerned about the success of His mission, to see His Kingdom established! Have you ever thought that Jesus wants us to pray to the Father that His mission will be successful? Almost sounds absurd, but non-the less there it is! This is the second point of praying in Jesus’ name, to pray for His success in establishing the Kingdom. And one more verse though there are many I could site. Matt. 13:19, “The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts.” (NLT) Pray that the Good News of the Kingdom planted in the hearts of people will thrive and flourish as well as in other areas God will show you that Christ is working. You can know that God hears these prayers!
3. And 3rd in v. 10 above Jesus teaches us to pray, “May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.” This is what I call praying for the ‘Veracity of God’s Word’ in the world and the church. How do we know God’s will, what He wills to be done on earth? We know His will through the Word, the Bible. God is even more concerned about the reputation of His Word than about His own name! Look at this amazing truth from Psalm 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (KJV) God is steadfast in His resolve to see that His Word, or will, is carried out. He has set a plan into motion. He has told it to us in His Word. His Word will hold true! Isaiah 55:11, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (NLT) We should pray that God’s Word is upheld and honored in the church, world, our homes etc. I call this praying for the ‘Veracity of God’s Word’. We need to uphold God’s Word as relevant for living today. It is not out of date, it is timeless!
Jesus wants us to first pray to God for God’s success! A novel idea! Then, after we pray about the things God is focused on, Jesus teaches us to then bring up our daily things to God and the model prayer continues, Matt. 6:11-13, “Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (KJV)
I believe those first three things represent what it means to ‘Pray in Jesus Name’! Much more than a tag on the end of our prayers! Try praying like this and possibly you will find some help in learning to pray in Jesus Name first and foremost!
Labels: Jesus name, prayer