I remember the church deacon who told me that if I wanted my prayers to be answered, I had to pray “in the name of Jesus.” He said that Jesus told us God would answer as long as we used that formula.
I can certainly see where this well-intended guy was coming from… Jesus did tell us to be sure to invoke his name while praying, didn’t he?
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!
-Jesus, John 14:13-14
So, of course, most believers pray “in Jesus’ name.” But don’t mistake this command from Jesus as a formula for getting answers to your prayers, because that isn’t what he was intending for you to understand. Jesus was saying something much, much more than simply “be sure to mention my name, and you’ll get the family discount.”
Jesus is pointing to a communication revolution.
In the Old Testament, the High Priest was the person appointed to mediate between man and God. He would stand in the Holy of Holies inside the Temple once a year, mediating… Making atonement… Praying on our behalf. He would be the link between God and His people. It was the high priest’s duty to make sure the relationship between God and his people was good. Because of the yearly atonement ceremony performed by the high priest, access to God was granted.
So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
-Hebrews 9:11-12 NLT
Jesus has “once for all time” secured our access to The Father, becoming our new and perfect High Priest, giving us permanent, irrevocable access to the throne room of God.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
The old high priests were human only. They were born knowing only our human weaknesses. Our brokenness. Our separation from God. But Jesus, our new High Priest, was God in the flesh. He was by HIS nature God, yet He walked in our shoes as well. He is the one perfect connection between God and man.
The OLD way of approaching God was imperfect. His new way is perfect. We don’t need a human-only priest to give us access to God… We have the perfect access in Christ.
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
-Jesus, John 14:6 NLT
So, Jesus says to pray in His Name… Not as a magic formula to getting our prayer requests heard by God… He is telling us that HE gives us complete, permanent access to God Himself!
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
-Hebrews 4:16 NLT
So, we don’t have to be scared, nervous, unimportant, or insignificant… We know with absolute confidence that we can come to God in prayer in the name of this great High Priest. There, we will not just receive access, but renewal and grace when we need it most.
This is a gift we should never take lightly. Are you using that gift today?