In Jesus Name

It’s become fashionable in many churches to strive to avoid the use of “Christianese.” This is a made-up name for church lingo that can be off-putting to new believers or the “God curious” because they don’t understand what it means, and nobody tells them. One example: “In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.” This one can be confusing to more than just newcomers to church. Even some longtime believers may not understand why prayers are closed with “In Jesus’ name.”

Some mistakenly believe it’s a sort of secret password that gets you into an exclusive club, or that it’s a way of saying “I know Jesus, let me in.” It is neither. It is a simple acknowledgment that as sinners our only access to God the Father comes through God the Son.  The connection to the Father that was broken in the Garden of Eden is reestablished by the grace we receive through faith in Christ. And with it comes the confidence that God hears our prayers and answers them:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)

So, does this mean we must say “In Jesus’ name” to close a prayer? I don’t believe it does. God knows what is on our hearts. He knows if we have earnestly accepted His son and that our desire is to pray for things that align with God’s will.

Still, it is fitting and proper to formally profess that belief by proclaiming that you pray in the name of Jesus Christ:

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:13-14 (NIV)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16 (NIV)

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:23-24 (NIV)

So, if you didn’t know that some people say “In Jesus’ name,” or knew they did but didn’t know why they did, or if you’ve been saying it yourself and didn’t know why, now you do. Whether or not you choose to say it is up to you. What’s important is that what you pray is what’s in your heart and that in some way you declare it with your mouth:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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