November 24, 2015

Praying in Jesus’ Name

Written by Shana Schutte

Praying in Jesus’ Name 11.24

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 24, 2015

He . . . sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45

Guest Writer: Meet my friend Shana Schutte. We are blessed to have her as our guest writer.

Some prayers are lifted to God through tears, shouts, or whispers. Some are canned, and we know them by heart. We read others off the back of a book, the back of a bus, or the back of someone’s T-shirt. We shoot some up to heaven in the grocery store checkout line, in the shower, or when we’re stuck in traffic. I used to think that all prayers made to the God of the Bible were good. But that isn’t true, because not all prayers are the product of a pure heart asking that God’s will be done on the earth “as it is in heaven.” Instead, some prayers are attempts to boss God around. Prayer can be a way of making God in our own image, of trying to push Him out of the driver’s seat. Crazy! Humans—the grasshoppers of the earth—telling the God of the universe what to do.

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in (Isaiah 40:22).

Some people even have the notion that the phrase “in Jesus’ name” is some kind of magic statement guaranteeing a favorable answer from the Father. But it isn’t that at all. Imagine living in a country where a king reigned, and I came to you and said, “In the name of the king I command you to bow to me.” What would you do? Of course, you would bow, because I would be representing the king; I would be coming “in his name.” This is what it means to pray in Jesus’ name: it means to represent Christ and His will in prayer, which means we stand for what He stands for, and we reject what He rejects. It doesn’t mean we’re toting a magic potion in a three-word sentence to get what we want at the expense of discipleship, obedience, and surrender to God’s rule.

Sadly, if we demand that Christ answer our petitions because we’ve prayed “in Jesus’ name” or because we’ve commanded this or that “in Jesus’ name,” it can lead to accepting the lie that God is a betrayer or that He’s unfaithful when the answer we want doesn’t fall into our laps. In all issues of life, it’s critical to let God be God. Don’t get me wrong—prayer can change anything, and the Bible says that we should pray with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18), but God knows the difference between being used and bossed around and a humble petition. If you aren’t sure what your motive is, ask God to show you. Remember: any doctrine that promises a pain-free life if only we believe enough, do enough good works, or pray hard enough is a setting us up for a nasty fall into a pit of believing God is unfaithful.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)!

Prayer:  Lord, sometimes it is so hard to surrender to your will. Please help me to love you more than myself so that my love for you motives me to submit to you in prayer. Help me to be in service to you in all I do, including how I pray.

Application: Find a quiet place today and focus on submitting to the Lord in your prayers. Confess your surrender to Him as Lord of your life through a verbal or written prayer.

Related Readings: 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1; Luke 6:12

Tweet this today: Praying in Jesus’ name isn’t a magic phrase; it’s about submission to Christ. #WisdomHunters #ServetheLordThroughPrayer

Worship Resource: 4 minute video- Matthew West: The Motions

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Comments

  1. Kristen Mossman says:

    I don’t think praying in Jesus’ name is prayer through “representing a king”, but rather Jesus is our channel to the God in heaven through which we communicate. When we pray in His name, we are cleansed of our sin, so that God will see us through His son and hear our prayers. This is not a demand at all, but rather a request. It is up to God what requests He chooses to fulfill. We know God is not unfaithful, we’ve read that in the bible. But His ways are not our ways, as is also written, which would lead us to understand why some prayers cannot be answered.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Kirsten,
      Thank you so much for your sincere, thought-provoking comments. (Let me apologize for taking so long to respond – I have been away). You had some good reminders in your comments; “But His ways are not our ways, as is also written, which would lead us to understand why some prayers cannot be answered”.
      In Shana’s devotional, I think she uses the analogy of stating demands or requests as if “living in a country where a king reigned” to show us the powerful and loving difference we, as believers, are given as we pray to “our true King”, not as a demand but as humbled child of His (willing to accept whatever His answer may be with an obedient heart).
      I know when I read this devotional, it convicted me really to think about the way I pray and approach our Lord and Savior.
      Thank you again, Kirsten, for your comments. We love hearing from our Wisdom Hunter’s family and look forward to hearing from you again soon. We are thankful that you are a fellow wisdom hunter.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours,
      Gwynne

      “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
      Philippians 4:6-7


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