Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Do I have to say “In Jesus’ Name” at the end of my prayers?

I was always taught that at the end of my prayers I need to say “in the name of Jesus” or some other equivalent statement. If you do a quick internet search, you will find that others were taught the same. The question needs to be asked, “Does the Bible teach it is a requirement to say ‘in Christ’s name’ at the end of our prayers?

What does “in the name of Jesus” mean?
This phrase is not a magic formula, instead it is a statement of authority. When we engage in Christian behavior, it is not by our own authority but Christ’s. A police officer may say “Stop in the name of the law!”. The officer is saying that by the authority of the law, an individual needs to obey him. Does an officer always need to say “in the name of the law”? No, it is understood that the authority of a Policeman comes from the law, whether they say it or not.

Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School articulates it in this way,
"Christians always pray in Jesus' name, because that's the only way we pray. That is to say, from a biblical perspective, to pray in Jesus' name is to pray in his authority seeking his agenda and purpose. That doesn't have anything to do with whether we say the words 'in Jesus' name' at the end of our prayer or not. In fact, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, in what we call the Lord's prayer, he didn't teach us to pray saying 'in Jesus' name' or 'in my name' at the end of the prayer. That's a fine tradition for us, because it reminds us that we are in fact praying in Jesus name, but whether or not we say those words has nothing to do with whether we're actually praying in Jesus' name or not." (1)
Many things we do are said to be in Jesus’ name.
  • In (Matthew 18:2) Jesus speaks of being gathered “in My name”. 
  • In (Mark 9:37) He said to receive a child “in My name”. 
  • In (Mark 9:41) He speaks of giving a cup of cold water “in My name”. 
  • (John 1:12) says that we have the right to become children of God when we believe “in His name”. 
  • (John 20:31) says that by believing we “have life in His name”.
In fact, Colossians 3:17 states that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus...”. No one would assume that you have state “In Jesus name” before you give someone a cup of cold water or that every time you receive a child you must do it “in His name”. 

Answer
It is a biblical practice to say “In Jesus name” while praying, however, it is not a requirement. At times our prayers may be a simple “thank you” or “help me”. Just because one does not actually state “in Jesus name I pray”, does not mean that their prayers are without the authority or support of Jesus.

By Cliff Sabroe
(1) http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/september/8.18.html?start=2 
Image from http://upliftingchrist.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/in-jesus-name-960x540.jpg