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