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Because of Jesus's great sacrificial act, His crucifixion, the curtain (barrier) in the Holy Temple was torn from top (God), to bottom (humanity) so that we now can approach God, Eph 3:12, 'In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence', without fear. In John 14:6 Jesus says,'I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'. That means to me that we are to pray to God in Jesus's name because He is the _only way to the Father. As Michael said above, using Jesus's name isn't a magic formula to ask for things we want but to ask for what will honor God and for what is within His will. I seldom ask for something for me but ask instead for the well being of my children and grandchildren, for my friends and family, for my Christian brothers and sisters, and for those yet to come to Jesus. I ask these things in Jesus's name knowing God loves me as a son and with faith that He will honor my prayers.
We read in Philippians 2:9, 10, “Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him the name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth.” “In the name of the Lord” used referring specifically to the second person of the trinity. This is in James 5:14, where the elders are told to anoint the sick with oil “in the name of the Lord.” The general significance of “in my name” can be comprehended partially from common usage. When an individual does something in the name of another, it indicates union which may be of different kinds. This signifies that one is fully in trust on Him. Praying in the name of Jesus also means that one is solely depended on Him. It is like employer /employee relationship where employee does everything on behalf of the employer. Believing the `finished work on the cross’ is quite significant when we pray in the name of Jesus. The basis of our prayer life, is our union with Christ. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray. This first of all has its relation to our position before God. We are joined in “legal union” with Jesus. We are His partners, His servants. We are working in His name. This is our position in virtue of our redemption and new birth. We are carrying out His task in His name. We are joined in “Life union” just as the father is with the son. Our position is not that of one outside the family of God, but one of God’s kin; we are sons of God.
Praying in Jesus' name indicates not only our belief in God, as all Jews and many others believed, but also affirms belief in Jesus, in His resurrection and completed work of the Cross.
"What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name?" To me, in my usual attempt at a short and on point answer is this 'student of God's Word, child of God and saved by His grace and mercy' submitted input for an excellent question! I look at this 'in total awe' and with a 'total submission' mental attitude and state of mind! It is from a deep understanding that God firstly didn't 'have' to create me, form me, make me and mold me in my mother's womb these 56 years plus ago! He didn't have to put me as the 4th child of parents that were truly raised separately in very strong Christian homes. And, he didn't have to bless me with being born in the best country that has freedom of worship, for which is an extreme blessing. I was blessed to be raised in church, taught to read the Bible, sit up straight and listen to the preacher, etc. I make all these points to submit my emphasis background for my answer: As God's created beings in which He "breathed into the breathe of life" and made a way for us to one day have our souls be in the presence of our Lord Jesus, forever worshiping Him in Heaven, He has granted the ultimate privilege to each of us while here on planet Earth! His blessing is to be able to simply speak to Him, to call on His blessed name,to ask Him for His favor if it be His will for our lives, to address Him as my Lord, my King,...and, best of all "my Savior!" Bluntly, for me....I cannot express in words my adoration, respect, awe, wonderment, or undeserved honor it is to me for Jesus to have "loved a wretched soul as I" and having "lived and then to have died on that cruel wicked cross" for my sake, for His purpose of saving me from eternal damnation in Hell, is almost incomprehensible to me! My love for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is to me, without measure, for I feel and know in my heart that I could never, ever, NEVER repay Him! "All to Jesus, all to Him I owe, blessed savior...all to Him I owe!" (from an old gospel hymn). Praying to Jesus daily, in His name, sometimes numerous times a day, is the very least of what I could, should or would be doing to honor our savior! For, it is "by and IN the blessed name of God's one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that we have a home in Heaven! "Jesus Paid It all, all to Him I owe...my blessed savior, all to Him I owe." "Praise God we have a savior! And, His name is Jesus Christ." ~~Andy~~
When I was saved in 1975, I was taught to "pray in Jesus' name." So I added that phrase to the end of my prayer (not as a ritual) but as in obedience to God's Word. Then one day (not even studying the subject) a thought came to mind. I remembered watching TV as a child and the show The Untouchables came to mind. In a certain scene, there would be 2 GI's outside a door (with the bad guy inside) and one GI would say, "Open up in the name of the Law." Now, neither of those two had the last name "Law". What he was saying is... we represent the government (whose law you broke) and we are going to see that you are tried (and if found guilty) that you will be punished accordingly. They represent the government and are acting on that basis. So, when we pray in Jesus' name, we don't come to GOD on the basis of who we are (Hell-deserving sinners) but we come on the basis of Who Jesus is. (our Savior, our Lord). We don't approach God demanding anything but we ask... if it be Thy will.
What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name? It is simply and only an acknowledgement that only reborn believers can approach the throne of God. In other words, nonbelievers are not granted access to the throne of God (according to scripture which you can study on your own). So then someone might ask "If non believers cannot communicate with God, how can they ask that God save them from the condemnation resulting from their sin?" The answer is, God knows everything (omniscient) and God will make the communication possible if a person truly wants the salvation offered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that Abraham, David, Solomon and others communicated with God prior to our Lord's earthly ministry, however, unlike believers of today, they did not have unlimited access to God's throne as we enjoy as reborn believers (Christ's personal intervention and blood atonement was needed).
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