Do we hope to find spiritual power in a formula, treating God like a vending machine? Do we act as if the right words, or the correct ritual, or being in a sacred place, will get us what we want?
The seven sons of Sceva, thinking they could command demons in Jesus’ name, found out the hard way: there’s no power here. (Ac 19:13-16) If we ask for the wrong thing, or for the wrong reason, God isn’t going to hear us no matter what tag line we use. (Ja 4:3)
If God promises to do whatever I ask in His name, then this must mean I’m asking according to His will (1Jn 5:14), at His command (1Ki 18:36), on His behalf, as if He Himself were saying it (De 18:18-19), and for Him, to please and honor Him. Tacking His name onto any other kind of prayer is abuse; it’s taking His name in vain.
God knows what I need before I ask Him (Mt 6:8); my prayers don’t inform Him, and He can’t be manipulated. The form, the place, the technique of prayer … it’s nothing. God’s after our heart; let’s be after His.