What Does It Mean to Pray "In Jesus' Name?"

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

As people devoted to prayer, these two verses from John 14 are key for us to learn how to pray effectively. 


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I think the first lesson we need to absorb about prayer is this: Jesus wants our prayers to be powerful, effective, productive. The Lord wants our prayers to get an answer.

We shouldn’t merely pray because it is a good spiritual discipline that helps us personally. It is commonly said that the greatest benefit of prayer is that it changes us. But that’s not the whole truth! It is true that praying gives us greater peace and perspective and fills us afresh with God’s Spirit.

But in these verses, Jesus teaches us how to pray so that he “will do” whatever we ask. This point is so important that Jesus repeats it for emphasis: “What you ask in my name, this I will do” and “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” Jesus wants His disciples to know how to pray like He did, which brought the Father’s answer.

When you pray, are you praying in such a way that you expect God to do what you ask? As we pray for God’s intervention in our country, what are you asking Him to accomplish?

The second lesson about prayer from these two verses is that we must pray in Jesus’ name. What does it mean to pray “in His name?” Is it only that we conclude our prayers with the tag, “in Jesus’ name, amen?” 

Jesus said in John 5:43, that He came “in my Father’s name,” and not “in his own name.” In that passage, Jesus means that He came for His Father’s glory, not His own, and that He came to do His Father’s will, not His own. 

When we pray “in Jesus’ name,” our requests should be for Jesus’ glory, not our own, and our petitions should center on the Lord’s will, not ours. Praying in Jesus’ name resists self-centeredness and cultivates our heart for God and His desires more than our own.

The Lord is so kind to us, that He promised that prayers focused on His glory and purposes will also benefit us. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Our Father, we come to You in Jesus’ name! Forgive us for being consumed with ourselves when we pray. Empty our hearts of selfishness, and instead, fill us with devotion for Christ alone! Let our thoughts, words, and actions be consumed with glorifying Jesus. Let Your Son be the first and greatest pursuit of Your people in this nation. Reveal the Savior to many, many of our fellow citizens who are far from You, and give them faith and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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