Saturday, March 19, 2011

In Jesus' Name

13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14. ESV.)

Whenever praying, I thought I had to close (each time) with, "In Jesus' name, amen." (I did not always believe this...but I cannot remember when I started.) So now, it's a habit...(though heartfelt). However, when recently re-reading Wayne Grudem's chapter on prayer in his book SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY I realized though Jesus is my mediator, I do not have to use a special phrase to make it so (or acknowledge it to be true). I suppose I saw the wordage as like a "please" or "thank you". As if God would say, "Well, okay, since you asked nicely."

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 in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15. ESV.)

Unfortunately, I feel this practice of mine misses the mark when teaching my children how to pray. I know why I say, "In Jesus' name" (and it's not wrong to say it) but my kiddos might not have a solid understanding and therefore it can possibly cause some confusion and/or promote legalism. (Which reminds me of an article I read one time entitled "Raising Little Pharisees" but that is a post for another day...if I can remember where I read it.)

Regarding this topic, Grudem states the following,
"[N]one of the prayers recorded in Scripture have the phrase 'in Jesus' name' at the end of them (see Matt. 6:9-13; Acts 1:24-25; 4:24-30; 7:59; 9:13-14; 10:14; Rev. 6:10; 22:20).

"To come in the name of someone means that another person has authorized us to come on his authority, not our own....

"Thus, the name of Jesus represents all that he is, his entire character. This means that praying 'in Jesus' name' is not only praying in his authority, but also praying in a way that is consistent with his character, that truly represents him and reflects his manner of life and his own holy will...(1 John 5:14-15, Col. 3:17)...

"[G]enuine conversation between persons who know each other never depends on the use of certain formulas or required words, but is a matter of sincerity in our speech and in our heart, a matter of right attitudes, and a matter of the condition of our spirit.
" (Grudem, Wayne. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL DOCTRINE. Zondervan. 1994. Pgs. 379-380.)

17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17. ESV.)

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