Why Do We Pray In Jesus Name?
The “Name of Jesus” is not some token, or formula that, once added, guarantees the answer to our request. According to what the Bible reveals, it is to be a solemn statement that the preceding / following words (or actions) are in-line with the very will and purpose of God—what we believe to be the words He would say, or actions He would take if He were physically present.
Let’s look at some scriptural foundation for using Jesus’ name, and implications of that Name.
The Name of Jesus
Jesus was a quite common name for men in Israel at the New Testament time. It is derived from the Hebrew name, Joshua. But, that name was given to one unique individual that would forever change its use:
Luke 1:31 And behold! You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS.
32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom, there shall be no end.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.
In the announcements to both Mary and Joseph, the child’s name is given directly by God’s messenger—it is to be Jesus. This is the name of the one who would fulfill the prophetic role of the Messiah of Israel. In this name, He would sit as ruler of all the Kingdoms of the world. In this name, He would be the Savior of all mankind. As “Messiah—Christ”, Jesus would be the Lord and Savior of the world.
The Apostle Peter follows this same line in Acts:
Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Act 4:10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in this name does this man stand before you whole.
11 This is the Stone which you builders have counted worthless, and He has become the Head of the Corner.
12 And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
What we see here, then, is that the “Name” by which He would Rule/Save is Jesus. The title given to Him as Ruler/Savior is both Lord and Christ. The title Lord connects Him to Divinity: He is God—all Supreme, Eternal, all Present, Holy God. The title Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew title, Messiah. This title connects the man, Jesus, to all the Old Testament promises and prophecies made since the Fall of mankind—the one who would be the Redeemer, Savior, Substitute, True Sacrifice, Restorer, and Everlasting Ruler of Israel. Jesus is both Lord and Christ!
It is the name of Jesus that has been established as the ultimate authority in the realms of Heaven and Earth.
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth;
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Notice, again that the name is attached to both titles. Authority is not just in the titles Christ or Lord but in the Name of the one who bears those titles, Jesus. This combination is used so frequently throughout the Book of Acts that I cannot make reference to every occurrence. But, here are some that stand out to me.
Act 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
The addition of the phrase, “…of Nazareth” is a distinction made by the Apostles of the New Testament era, and by the Angels at Jesus resurrection. It individualizes “this Jesus” from any other “Jesus” of that time. It is not the “sound” of the word, but the reality of the life, death, and resurrection of “this” Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of Israel that we are making reference to when we use, “that Name”.
Act 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
This is one of my favorite of all scriptures—there is so much Theology here. Notice, that it is again the “man” who is anointed, who does the good deeds of healing and deliverance because God is “with” him. And, what is the “name” of this one? It is Jesus!
Act 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecute.
When the Lord called Saul (Paul) to be His Apostle, He distinctly proclaimed His name—the name of the One who was Lord, whom Saul was persecuting, and the One whom the believers were following even unto death at Saul’s hands. It was Jesus!
So, the “name” of the one holding all authority, and by which men are to be saved is Jesus—He is the Christ, the Lord of all.
Praying in Jesus’ Name
What about prayer? Here are Jesus’ own words on that subject:
John 14:13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
John 15:16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.
John 16:23 And in that day you shall ask Me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
24 Before now you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.
As I stated previously, this is not to be an empty formula or token phrase. It is meant to evoke a solemnity in the one praying/asking.
1. I am asking in the name of the One who holds all authority; the one who is Ruler of all; the one who is my Lord, and Savior, my King, my Redeemer, my closest friend. Therefore our prayers should be earnest, sincere, calling in “humble confidence” upon the promise He made to us: “…I will do it!”
2. I am asking confidently because I have offered my life to Him, I have desired His will above mine, and I have considered the revelation of scripture—His word. When I ask, “…in Jesus’ Name” I am submitting myself to the revelation of His will as recorded in the scriptures—my selfish, childish, greedy desires will not be answered or even heard. But, what I ask, “…according to His will” will be done.
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
Actually, the words highlighted above are all from a Greek word that means to ask, desire, demand, require a thing from one who is in authority. Those are really strong affirmations regarding the effectiveness of our prayers, and the confidence we can have when we pray according to His will.
That really is what, “…in Jesus’ name” implies. We are not throwing some formula at the end of the prayer, we are saying that we “believe” what we are asking is truly in accordance with His will as a result of what we have read, studied, and meditated from His Word.
Praying in Jesus’ name was the pattern used by the Apostles:
Acts 3:6 …in the name of Jesus of Nazareth…
4:10 …by the name of Jesus of Nazareth…
4:30 …By stretching forth your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus
8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Even by the 7 Sons of Sceva:
19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"
It is interesting to note here that the “Name of Jesus” had authority, though the men themselves did not. Even though they were not believers, they were asking in accordance with the very will of God. This is why unbelievers may at times get prayers answered – especially when they are calling on the Name of the Lord (Jesus) for their salvation!
That is the “power” of the Name of Jesus.
“What about praying in Christ’s name?”
You could say the same about praying in Messiah’s name, the Lord’s name, our Savior’s name, even God’s name, etc. Those are all Titles that are His by Divine order. Some titles are His because of who He is, some because of what He always has been, some by what He did as the Incarnate Son of God, and others by the position He now holds in Heaven. However, no matter what Title He is given, one thing is forever established: the Name of the one holding the Title is Jesus!
I love the words of Revelation 1:4–5
4 …Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
(Also notice that the true title of this Book is, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”)
Jesus is His name. It is the name we declare, the name we seek, the name by which we are saved—the name in which we pray. In fact, Paul says:
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
This is not a matter of “semantics” or an argument over meaningless words. It certainly isn’t a matter of adding token phrases, catch words, or formulas. It is a matter of declaring the name of the person in which all authority is established. I believe that some people use the phrase, “in Christ’s name” because that is what thy have heard/learned. Others use it because it sounds “religiously proper”. There may be some who use it to avoid offending those who cannot tolerate the mention of the name of Jesus. But, the Biblical use is always, “…in Jesus’ name; …in the name of Jesus of Nazareth; or …in the name of Jesus Christ” And, the common denominator in all those names is Jesus!