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February 9, 2023 / by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem

I think we all realize that praying in Jesus’ Name has to be more than just a formula we add to our prayers.

In fact, Jesus remarked one time that praying in His Name was an innovation for New Testament era Christians. It had not been done before:

“Truly I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24).

So this doctrine of praying in Jesus’ name was a mighty advance in prayer. Our prayers come through the mediation of our Savior. This is new ground upon which the believer stands. It adds a wholly new character to prayer, since it demands that we bring our prayers into conformity with the mind of Him in whose name prayer is made.

There is a powerful and astonishing promise attached to such praying. “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13).

We come to God in prayer not to invoke His name so that we may get what we want, but to stand in His place and pray in a way that will give glory to the Father, as He did. We pray as Jesus prayed. We pray as He would pray. We stand where He stood, interceding as He interceded. The foundation of our praying is His life, His teaching, His resurrection, His ascension into glory, His intercession for us, and His mission in the world. This is where we find the power and fruitfulness of prayer (John 16:15). Our prayers must be caught up in the greatness of the Name of Jesus.

Have we considered that our prayers are too often self-styled and not Jesus styled? It is a great temptation to view prayer as a means of gratifying our desires (James 4:3). This is why repentance has to be such a big part of prayer. In prayer we constantly bring ourselves back to the place of submission and devotion to the great Name of Jesus.

Submitting ourselves to the Name of Jesus in prayer is a pathway of humility and devotion. There is no glory for God in selfish praying. But there is glory in praying in Jesus’ Name. Let our prayers be conformed to the Word of God and the way of Christ.

Now of course, in the process of life, we must often pray about many things in which we do not know the will of God or the will of Christ. Would Jesus pray this prayer? Would Jesus pray this way? It can be hard to say. We do not know. This is part of being human. So we pray as best we can and leave such things with God.

But let us remember, we can certainly pray with confidence as we conform our prayers to Jesus’ desires and meditate upon the Name of the Lord Jesus and what matters to Him.

Let our prayers be tempered by the person of Christ. His love, His mission, His mercy, His peace, His joy, His will, His purposes. Keep coming as He would come. Keep asking as He would ask. Live and pray in harmony with His will and desires. This is where the power and glory of prayer lies.

Pastor Jeff VanGoethem has been in pastoral ministry for 40 years, including nearly twenty as Senior Pastor of East White Oak. He has returned to East White Oak after pastoring for some years in Dallas,Texas to serve as Associate Pastor of Spiritual Development and Missions. He is married to Karen. They have four daughters and four grandchildren.

Return to February Oak Leaf

February OakLeaf Articles:

Prayer as Fellowship with God by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Prayer in Children’s Ministry by the Children’s Ministry Team
Engaging Your Neighbors Through Prayer by Pastor Justin Waples
Prayer for Your Pastors by Richard Verdery
Prayer in Moments of Crisis by Jeff Fritzen
Praying for Prodigals by Jeoff Jenkins
Prayer as Worship by Meg White
Prayer for Refreshing Our Building and our Hearts by Dave Rowden
Praying in Jesus’ Name by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
Resources for Your Prayer Journey by Monica Ball
Prayer Questions and Conundrums by David Congdon