Chapter 20—Praying In The Name of Jesus
Jesus’ Name Is the Connecting Link in Prayer Between Humanity and God—In Christ’s name our petitions ascend to the Father. He intercedes in our behalf, and the Father lays open all the treasures of His grace for our appropriation, for us to enjoy and impart to others. “Ask in My name,” Christ says. “I do not say that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loveth you. Make use of My name. This will give your prayers efficiency, and the Father will give you the riches of His grace. Wherefore ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession. He places the whole virtue of His righteousness on the side of the suppliant. He pleads for man, and man, in need of divine help, pleads for himself in the presence of God, using the influence of the One who gave His life for the life of the world. As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ’s merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. As we approach God through the virtue of the Redeemer’s merits, Christ places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in the censer in our hands, in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications.
Yes, Christ has become the medium of prayer between man and God. He has also become the medium of blessing between God and man. He has united divinity with humanity. Men are to co-operate with Him for the salvation of their own souls, and then make earnest, persevering efforts to save those who are ready to die.—(Testimonies for the Church 8:178.)
As yet the disciples were unacquainted with the Saviour’s unlimited resources and power. He said to them, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name.” John 16:24. He explained that the secret of their success would be in asking for strength and grace in His name. He would be present before the Father to make request for them. The prayer of the humble suppliant He presents as His own desire in that soul’s behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.—(The Desire of Ages, 667.)
The disciples were to carry their work forward in Christ’s name. Their every word and act was to fasten attention on His name, as possessing that vital power by which sinners may be saved. Their faith was to center in Him who is the source of mercy and power. In His name they were to present their petitions to the Father, and they would receive answer. They were to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christ’s name was to be their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success.—(The Acts of the Apostles, 28.)
In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints’ prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father.—(Early Writings, 32.)
What It Means to Pray in Jesus’ Name—To pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Saviour’s promise is given on condition. “If ye love Me,” He says, “keep My commandments.” He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience.—(The Desire of Ages, 668.)
Jesus said, “Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.”“I have chosen you: ... that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” John 16:26, 27; John 15:16. But to pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and work His works.—(Steps to Christ, 100, 101.)
God Invites Us to Come to Him in the Name of Jesus—You are invited to come, to ask, to seek, to knock; and you are assured that you will not come in vain. Jesus says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7, 8.
Christ illustrates the willingness of God to bless by the willingness of a father to grant the request of his child. He says, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? Luke 11:11-13.
We come to God in the name of Jesus by special invitation, and He welcomes us to His audience chamber. He imparts to the humble, contrite soul that faith in Christ by which he is justified. Jesus blots out as a thick cloud his transgression, and the comforted heart exclaims, “O Lord, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me.” Isaiah 12:1.—(Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 242.)
Pray Both in Jesus’ Name and by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit—When a man breathes an intensely earnest prayer to God (Jesus Christ is the only name given under heaven whereby we can be saved), there is in that intensity and earnestness a pledge from God that He is about to answer that prayer exceeding abundantly, above all that we can ask or think. We must not only pray in the name of Jesus, but by the inspiration and kindling of the Holy Spirit. This explains what is meant when it is said, “the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.” The petitions must be offered in earnest faith. Then they will reach the mercy-seat. Unwearyingly persist in prayer. God does not say, Pray once, and I will answer you. His word is pray, be instant in prayer, believing ye have the things ye ask, and ye shall receive them; I will answer you.—(The Gospel Herald, May 28, 1902.)
We May Approach God in Confidence Through Jesus’ Name—Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces.—(Patriarchs and Prophets, 252.)
In the name of Jesus we may come into God’s presence with the confidence of a child. No man is needed to act as a mediator. Through Jesus we may open our hearts to God as to one who knows and loves us.—(Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 84.)
God Will Honor Jesus’ Name in Our Prayers—Every promise in the word of God furnishes us with subject matter for prayer, presenting the pledged word of Jehovah as our assurance. Whatever spiritual blessing we need, it is our privilege to claim through Jesus. We may tell the Lord, with the simplicity of a child, exactly what we need. We may state to Him our temporal matters, asking Him for bread and raiment as well as for the bread of life and the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things, and you are invited to ask Him concerning them. It is through the name of Jesus that every favor is received. God will honor that name, and will supply your necessities from the riches of His liberality.—(Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 133.)
We must not only pray in Christ’s name, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This explains what is meant when it is said that the Spirit “maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26. Such prayer God delights to answer. When with earnestness and intensity we breathe a prayer in the name of Christ, there is in that very intensity a pledge from God that He is about to answer our prayer “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20.
Christ has said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24. “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13. And the beloved John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaks with great plainness and assurance: “If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” 1 John 5:14, 15. Then press your petition to the Father in the name of Jesus. God will honor that name.—(Christ’s Object Lessons, 147, 148.)