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?
Is that why most Christian prayers end with, in Jesus’ name? Are we using His name like a charm or a mojo? like a magic trick to ensure God hears us? (Jn 14:14) Isn’t this a bit like witchcraft?
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.
One thought on “In My Name”
De 18 contains the first appearance of the phrase “in the name” (vs 5) in our English Bible (KJV), and also of “in my name” (vs 19). In total, there are 6 references in this single chapter: all relating to what God has commanded, or hasn’t. I take from this that this text is important in understanding this concept and applying it properly, which I think is very important.