In Jesus’ Name

I don’t know when it happened.  Maybe from the beginning.  The phrase, “In Jesus’ Name”, has become, perhaps, the most common valediction for Christian prayers.  For me, it is a habit.  I would have to work at not closing a prayer that way.

There is no mystery where it comes from.  Jesus told his disciples, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)  And again, in John 16:23, “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.”  It seems pretty unlikely that Jesus meant that if you add this particular incantation to the end of your prayers, you will be assured of a favorable answer.

He was talking to His disciples; commissioning them to carry on the work of the kingdom as his representatives.  Think of the modern offices of ambassador or envoy.  These persons represent the interests of their government or monarch.  Their business is to accurately present the position of their sponsor to outsiders.  They represent the name of the entity that they serve.  Each one sent is backed by those whose interests he typifies.  It would be ineffective to deploy an ambassador by telling him “You are on your own.”

So it is with us, if we accept the commission to carry out the mission of the kingdom of Christ.  When we represent Him to those who do not know Him, which is our calling, then our requests to enable that work are indeed in Jesus’ name!  I would do well to always remember what is really behind the ending to my prayers.

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