Praying in the Name of Christ
And I will do whatever you ask in My name [ as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it. (John 14:13-14)
Jesus spoke a wonderful word about prayer to His disciples on the night before His crucifixion: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it”(John 14:13-14). Prayer in the name of Christ has power with God. God is well pleased with His Son Jesus Christ. He always hears Him, and He also always hears the prayer that is really in His name. There is a fragrance in the name of Christ that makes every prayer that it bears acceptable to God. But what is it to pray in the name of Christ?
Many explanations have been attempted that make little sense to the average person. But there is nothing mystical or mysterious about this expression. If you go through the Bible and examine all the passages in which the expression “in My name” or “”in His name” are used, you will find that they mean just about what they do in everyday language.
If I go to the bank and hand a check with my name signed to it, I ask of that bank in my own name. If I have money deposited in that bank, the check will be cashed; if not it will not be. If, however, I go to a bank with someone else’s name signed to the check, I am asking in his name, and it does not matter whether I have money in that bank or any other. If the person whose name is signed to the check has money there, the check will be cashed. For example, if I were to go to the First National Bank of Chicago and present a check that I had signed for $500.00, the teller would say to me, “Why, Mr. Torrey, we cannot cash that. You have no money in this bank.”
But if I were to go to First National Bank with a check for $500.00 made payable to me and signed by one of the large depositors in that bank, they would not ask whether I had money in that bank or in any bank. Instead, they would honor the check at once.
When I go to God in prayer, it is like going to the bank of heaven. I have nothing deposited there. I have absolutely no credit there. If I go in my own name, I will get absolutely nothing. But Jesus Christ has unlimited credit in heaven, and He has granted me the privilege of going to the bank with His name on my checks. When I thus go, my prayers will be honored to any extent.
To pray in the name of Christ is to pray on the ground of His credit, not mine. It is to renounce the thought that I have any claims on God whatever and approach Him on the ground of Christ’s claims. Praying in the name of Christ is not done by merely adding the phrase,” I ask these things in Jesus’ name,” resting in my merit all the time. On the other hand, I may omit that phrase but really resting in the merit of Christ all the time. When I really do approach God on the ground of Christ’s merit and His atoning blood(Hebrews 10:19), God will hear me. Many of our prayers are in vain because men approach God imagining that they have some claim that obligates Him to answer their prayers.
R. A. Torrey
What a privilege we have been given to come to the Father and make our requests in the name of Jesus. This is not just some expression we hang on to the end of our prayers. As a matter of fact it ought to preference our prayers. Suppose you wished an audience with some influential person and although you didn’t know them personally you knew their son and was best friends with him. Do you not think that you would get an audience? Not because you had access, but because you knew the son and he had access. This is the picture of asking in the name of Jesus. Few if any of us could stand on our own merit before God and make our requests. In the book of Job, Job repeatedly requests an audience with God so that he could present his case and though the Bible says that Job was perfect in all his ways, it wasn’t enough to give him access. We read of all the sacrificial lambs brought by the people to the temple and yet none of them with the exception of the night priest was able to come before God. Ephesians tells us that through Christ we have access to the throne of God. Because His blood was accepted as the final and ultimate offering we may now enter the throne room and make our requests.
“But now [at this very moment] in Christ Jesus you who once were [so very] far away [from God] have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:13,18)
What simplicity this gives to prayer. Our access is through Jesus and His merit alone. We are not granted access or refused access on our merit and the power of this knowledge is that our flaws, failures, or sins; and neither our goodness or righteousness have any thing to do with access. It is solely based upon the merits of Christ and when we come totally dependent upon His name, we are coming relying on His grace and mercy alone. We can come before the throne of grace on our worst day if we will do so trusting only in Christ to gain entrance.
Ephesians gives us the secret of why trusting only in Christ and therefore asking in His name for our needs is the secret of answered prayer.
“In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God]. And He put all things [in every realm] in subjection under Christ’s feet, and appointed Him as [supreme and authoritative] head over all things in the church….”(Ephesians 1:7,11,13,22)
As you read the above scriptures you will notice the phrase, “In Him” repeated over and over. “In Him we have redemption; in Him also we have received an inheritance; in Him you also were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” This phrase is followed by the proclamation “And He put all things In subjection under Christ’s feet.”
Everything we can receive, from the grace of salvation to the answer to our prayers is simply and only through Christ. When we receive Him as our Savior and make Him Lord over our lives we are given the privilege to tap into all that heaven has. We can do so, not on our merit, for our efforts are insufficient, but on His merit which He earned through His obedience to the Father.
Every child as he grows up in the home understands the privilege of being a child. Every child has access to food to eat and a bed to sleep in and a home to live in and things to play with. It is not that they somehow merit these things but just because they were born into that household they are granted such things. It is not because they are so good always but because they have been given the name that they have access to the family’s goods. We may remove toys as an act of discipline but that is usually only temporary as a means of correcting behavior. Even when a child does wrong, we usually keep providing their needs. And if we love our children this much, does not God love us more? Like the child in a family who receives benefits not because they earn them or even at times deserve them, we who have received Christ may come in His name and make our petition in our time of need and know that we will be heard because we come in the name of Jesus and because we are His, we are heard.
That little promise that we read in Philippians says:
And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Read it carefully for it says that God will supply your need according to His riches by Christ Jesus. This tells us that it is not through what we have in heaven’s bank but what Christ has deposited and our access to those riches is in Christ alone. As you pray, rely on what Christ has done, rely on the salvation He has purchased, rely on His grace and mercy, and rely on your relationship with Him and know that as you rely solely on Him whatever you ask in His name will be done.
Dr. John Thompson