What’s in the Name?

Christians go through their spiritual life invoking the name of Jesus at the end of prayer. It’s what we are taught; it’s what we do to add weight to what we ask for. Even after hearing a teaching or two, we will often use it by rote; mechanical routine, habitual repetition, etc.; without allowing it to support our inner life of faith and purpose. Progress in making this powerful is grasped in the why and how.

The Old Testament uses several names to describe characteristics associated with who God is and how he relates to his people. These names reveal his heart and his power just as his Word does. John describes Jesus as being the living expression of The Word. He wants that living expression in us deeply, so we will have confidence in prayer and qualify the nature of using his name.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.[i]

Jesus is expressing the environment for asking in his name. It is authority drawn from a loving union with him. If Jesus is our Lord, friend and counsel his input will strongly influence what we ask for and seek after.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.[ii]

When we ask, we align with the level of relationship we have with him and faith in light of the truth we’ve been given. We are his people. We are the living expression of his Word and his Spirit. Boldly stated, we are one with Jesus and the Father; we are Jesus and the Father.[iii] We have been given the authority to use his name and believe that God will produce fruitful results.

Jesus understood something we are still figuring out. In John 17, Jesus was talking with his Father, “Holy Father, I am about to leave this world to return and be with you, but my disciples will remain here. So I ask that by the power of your name, protect each one that you have given me, and watch over them so that they will be united as one, even as we are one. While I was with these that you have given me, I have kept them safe by your name that you have given me.”[iv]

He came, spoke and empowered others in representation of his Father by his Father’s name. That level of representation implies he was also an attentive listener; as we should be in representing him.

“Your Word is truth! So make them holy by the truth. I have commissioned them to represent me just as you commissioned me to represent you.”

So, the why is in our representation of Jesus and the Father’s design. The how is in our surrender to Holy Spirit’s life working abundantly in us. We are sent to speak, act and empower others in representation of Jesus and the Father.[v] Yet, we cannot do that in our own name; we do not represent ourselves. Our representation is fruitful through life-union oneness with him.

More about oneness at another time.

[i] The Amplified Bible, Jn 15:5–7

[ii] John 14:12-13, New King James Version

[iii]  John 17:20-23

[iv] John 17:11-12, The Passion Translation

[v] See john 16:25-28, 17:6-10


Lord of Hosts is His Name

Since November; and perhaps more accurately, since March of 2020; spiritual and secular minds have set courses through a morass of countless solutions to our current storms. The debris from one storm is settling and I am certain commentaries and prognoses will sweep out as the clean-up of messes begins.

My personal accounting of this season is that a dull and slumbering warrior was awakened. I am at war with spiritual powers. My wakefulness to the breadth and depth of that war has multiplied in several points. Turning back to a more comfortable outlook is not an option!

As I stated in a previous blog, we must be careful not to write off the election results as a lost war. I’m convinced the praying church will come through this season better equipped for the battles ahead. A multitude of warriors were awakened from various levels of indifference, distraction, discouragement and even success and launched into full alert. Our eyes and ears are open and our resolve rekindled to follow hard after the Commander in Chief of the Hosts of Heaven and Earth. He has the strategic and tactical masterplan. On our best day, our best singular strategy is to hear and obey and trust. Together in unity, we are unstoppable.

Out of all this conflict, I have a deeper conviction about what’s important. Constitutional America is not the world’s savior. The president of the United States is not America’s savior. Politics and economics are not our cultural saviors. The comfortable life of the American dream is far from our commission to exalt the one and only Savior, Jesus, and make disciples of the nations that will become the Kingdom of our God as promised in Revelation 11:15.

If we look at the life of the early church in the book of Acts or that of the hall of faith in the book of Hebrews, we see examples to emulate. Is the Christian life designed to be comfortable? Jesus said no to that question by the words that he gave us. The early church said no by the record they left us. History preaches it’s not to be trusted.

A Reformation of our understanding of the Kingdom of God is in progress. The Awakening is opening the eyes and ears of believers who slumber. And now, what lies ahead is a concerted war for the hearts of the lost.

What’s the cost? May we resolve to give our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor for the sake of our King and Savior, Jesus, as our American forefathers resolved for the sake of our country. That first step to commit will always be wrapped around our relationship and connection with him and with his people. Can we put aside our differences, our expectations, our frustrations and disappointments, even our anger and get on with it in love for Jesus and one another? After all we have a common enemy. If we hang together, we’ll see the glory of God.

A Greater Objective

Few people have even a basic understanding of war. For any number of mysterious reasons, I have read the who, what, where, when, why and how of it for decades. The depth of my fascination has given me character observations of leaders and common soldiers, understanding of traditional and innovative strategies, a peek into the minds of those who took huge risks and pulled off a victory, as well as those who made stupid blunders with costly consequences. And yet, woven into the bigger picture of all of these, is the barely visible threads of Almighty God as part of the fabric. Influencing that picture is often prayer movements that are rarely seen in the mainstream historical record. Earthly wars are proof there are spiritual influences behind them; it’s a parallel existence.

Perhaps I will expand on that premise another time. For now, there is a more pressing idea I’ve seen that should be unpacked regarding these times.

Within the scope of any war is any number of battles. Within the scope of any battle could be an undeterminable number of skirmishes provoked by a planned firefight or unexpected engagement. Chance engagements often sway who’s the victor of a battle. A war can be filled with many battles. But it’s those who learn the hard lessons of battle that continue to fight their wars with better strategies, logistics and tactics [planning for deployment, supply, maneuvering for battle].

As Christians, we must be aware that while we are on this planet, we are surrounded by conflicts. On a personal level, how we handle them with love determines how we move forward.

In my early days my greatest efforts were focused on eradicating conflict and keeping the peace. At that time, I was unwittingly defining peace as comfortable. For example, I worked hard to make enough money so that I didn’t have to worry. In other words, I didn’t have to depend on El Shaddai the all sufficient one for my needs. I wanted to be self-sufficient, often producing the wrong results. Until I learned the hard lessons that taught me humility, identity and my Father’s love, having more than enough self-provision was not a blessing. It distracted me from the deep intimacy with Papa we all have been given to live out. I also learned not to pursue the comfort zone at the expense of true peace that comes from understanding the authority of sonship and its accompanying partnership with my Father.

On a community level, being real; that is being humbly transparent and vulnerable; and taking risks to build deeper communication and healthy connection requires tremendous bravery. Relationships are the joints of the body of Christ and they open arms for revealing the Father’s love. However messy or imperfect relationship building may be, it is a necessary pathway to the high purposes of learning to love and interdependence. There is a constant invasion of thoughts from outside forces that seek to create conflict and separation. The nature of that battle runs deep and often produces wounds. Avoiding community usually reveals a battle lost and an undeveloped world view.

Let’s switch to the bigger picture. Global and national warfare is a preexisting fact of the spiritual world we live in. Satan seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Stealing peace, killing hope and destroying love targets the soul of humanity made in the image of God. Taking down nations accomplishes his goals on a large scale and sets him in a position to influence minds at high levels.

We in America have been engaged on that level of warfare for some time. But recently, prayer movements are gathering momentum on a scale I’ve never seen before to push back the overt takeover of our beloved nation by an ungodly agenda. Our Heavenly Commander-in-chief is also bringing other nations to alliance with what he’s doing. One of the thrills of being part of this, is watching the ground swell it’s creating.

As a strategist, I understand the simplicity of winning the battle. But a thought came to mind while considering that victory, that posed the idea there’s a greater objective to be gained. — “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our God and of his Anointed One!”[i] — I saw in my mind, a people of prayer that had risen above the nations; not just our nation; to establish a kingdom covering for a kingdom work that will reach the entire planet.

The urgency of this hour has a much larger significance. This moment in the conflict is a stepping stone once the prayer armies are gathered.

That thought stirs questions that should be answered.

Once the battle for this election is over, will the armies simply return home? Or was this season a call to prayer arms for a greater revolution?

When thought about, there’s a lot at stake in the responses. There’s a lot to be said about sustained prayer movements on the current scale we are experiencing. The potential is mind boggling. May I suggest that we look far more forward than what’s at hand.

[i] Revelation 11:15 (TPT)