Reading Andrew Murray’s “With Christ in the School of Prayer,” has been such a great companion on my sabbatical. The book is organized conveniently into 31 chapters so I can read a chapter a day. This is my second month of doing so and it has been transformational!
“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” John 14:13-14
Murray writes, “He (Jesus) wanted to teach them and us that His name is our only, but also our completely sufficient, plea. The power of prayer and its answer depend on the right use of the name.” I read that and thought about all the times I prayed, “In Jesus’ name.” I thought about why I did so. Well, Jesus did say so here in John 14 as well as in John 16. But being totally honest, so often, I say those words automatically, in a very rote, end-of-a-prayer kind of way. I even rush through those words, especially when I’m hungry!
But Murray reminded me and challenged me that it is far more than a way to end a prayer. Far more! He writes,
“What does it mean to do a thing in the name of another? It is to come with his power and authority, as his representative and substitute…What does it mean when Jesus gives us power over His name–the free use of it–with the assurance that whatever we ask in it will be given to us? Jesus solemnly gives to all His disciples a general and unlimited power to use His name at all times for everything they desire. He could not do this if He did not know that He could trust us with His interests and that His honor would be safe in our hands.”
Wow! Closing my eyes, I thought about the truth of what Murray was writing. Suddenly, a relatively recent event came to mind. Last December, Jo and I were blessed with a trip to Arizona to join up with very close family friends to watch their son play in a football game. We have known this family for years, watching our kids grow up into adults. I can’t tell you what I thrill it was to finally get to see him play in person. We prayed consistently all through college and now as he plays in the NFL. As we walked with our friends to the stadium, I get a text from their son. He tells me to go to the will call window to pick up some passes for after the game. There were passes for the families to greet players following the game before they headed out. I showed the text to my friend and said, “Isn’t this just for the families of the players? Am I now His asian uncle?” He laughed and said, “Yup, that’s what you are. You are family.” So I said okay and went to pick up the passes.
Our instructions were to go down after the game, show the pass and give the security the name of the player we were family with. For some silly reason, I was a bit nervous going down after the game. After all, I was not aware of any Asians on that team. But we followed along, got to the area, gave his name, and lo and behold, they let us in! I guess I am his Asian uncle!
Anyway, as I meditated on the truth of praying in the name of Jesus, I thought, “If giving a name of a professional football player could get me access where the general public was not allowed, that is nothing compared to the power of the name of Jesus! It’s not even close. It’s not even in the same universe!” And if I was so thrilled to give a name of a person, to say, “Yes, I know that player. He’s family,” how much more thrilled should I be to give the name of Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Really, that should be the thrill of all thrills!
The profundity of that truth and personalizing it, brought me to my knees. This was no small thing. This was far more than an end-of-a-prayer thing I say. This is something powerful. This is something to be held with much reverence, awe, honor and respect at the power of God and His trust in us. It was also another breathtaking example of God’s great love for me. That God would entrust me with His name! To think that He loves me enough to trust me with His interests and that His honor would be safe in my hand. This was God saying, “You are family!”
That truth leads me and draws me closer to Him. I want to be worthy of that trust and honor. It doesn’t lead me to be flippant but to more passionately seek to bring glory to Him in all that I do. It motivates me to seek Him in greater ways so that I would be in totally alignment with His will. And from out of that alignment, I can pray with confidence, asking in the name of Jesus. What an amazing thing! May I never again just say those precious and powerful words, “In Jesus’ name!”