“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14 CSB)
Somewhere along the way, somebody must have decided to add the phrase “in Jesus’ name” at the end of prayers before “amening” everything. Many of us do this now, as a result, without really thinking a thing about it, which is not likely what Jesus had in mind for this. Of course, this goes back to the verse above from John 14. The idea is that if we ask something of God in Jesus’ name, He will give it to us. The practice of adding this phrase to our prayers has produced in some folks, however, an attitude that borders on manipulation, maybe even on animism, where people attempt to control spiritual forces. Is that what Jesus had in mind when He said this to His disciples?
To ask “in Jesus’ name” means to ask as Jesus Himself would ask, which is to ask according to the will of God. It means to think through what you are asking for, being fully in tune with God, and to be as sure as you can be in faith that what you’re asking for is what Jesus would ask for. It means to ask with His integrity, to the degree that we can. And the key to it all is the Holy Spirit, who makes it possible for us to do that.
As you pray, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and help you be so fully in tune with the will of God that when you pray “in Jesus’ name,” you understand what you’re asking, and that it is in harmony with the will of God.
Indeed, Lord, that is our prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.