Many parents give names to their children that are unique, or “old-fashioned,” or quite common, like my name (Jane) that appeared along with Dick and Spot in my first reading book! But behind every name is a person who is significant.
For centuries people throughout the world have revered the person and name of Jesus, even nonbelievers. For Christians, there is more to Jesus’ name than any other name because there is power in his name! He has the immeasurable power to love and act on our behalf and to carry out his purposes.
When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples, he told them that he would be leaving them—really leaving them. How distressed and frightened they must have felt! But our dear Lord went on to tell them that they need not worry because they could ask him for anything in prayer. But Jesus included a specific condition for their prayers in John 14:13, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
In the Bible, the name of God is more than a name; it embodies all that God is—his character and all of his attributes. God revealed the fullness of his name to Moses at the burning bush when Moses asked for his name. God responded, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
When we pray in Jesus name, we are praying for God's shalom to bring everything together in harmony. We may not know what God’s will is, but we do know that he is listening and working all of the time to bring about his perfect purposes in the world.
We can follow Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 NIV). We must surrender our desires to God’s will.
But before we even begin to pray, we must first consider why we are praying and what we are asking so that our hearts and minds will be aligned with the Father’s intentions. Our purposes and petitions should reflect our desire to fulfill God’s will and bring him honor and glory. Asking in Jesus’ name helps us pray in ways that are consistent with the person and work of Jesus, and we are less likely to pray for self-focused or unnecessary things.
We can trust in the name of Jesus. There is no other name in the universe that holds so much love and hope for us all.
–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director