Lately I’ve been thinking about the scriptural implication and use or mis-use of prayer and petition in the name of Jesus Christ. As each day brings us closer to Christ’s return I am moved to pursue a zero-sum approach to Bible study. That means no assumptions, no automatic pre-conceived notions learned from any source other than the revelation of God’s word by the Holy Spirit.
The scholarship and witness of others is of great value and import. But in “such a time as this” I’m not going to knowingly leave any falsehood in place.
Some folks believe that if our faith is sufficient then anything we ask “in His name” must be granted. If our request is not fulfilled the assumption is that our faith was deficient.
After searching the entire New Testament for any linkage to this issue a few patterns developed:
- Baptism is to be done “in the name of…”
- Disciples will preach and/or heal ” in the name of..” and bear “the name of…”
- With few exceptions all is “in the name of” not “by the name of..”
Is it possible to stray from God’s intent when considering the name of Jesus?
There’s Power in the Name
There is power in the name of God the Father and Jesus Christ our Savior. These names are holy and not to be bandied about frivolously, but the power comes from the relationship you have with the One who bears the Name and not simply using that Name.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23
These verses from the gospel of Matthew tell us two things, (1) that it is possible to prophesy, exorcise demons, and do wonders without a relationship with Christ, and (2) that just because one does such things in His name doesn’t mean He will acknowledge us as kin. It’s worth considering the thought that using His name without specific permission (by relationship) may, by definition, be lawlessness.
May I suggest this article by David Reagan titled Praying in the Name of Jesus? It is well done and there’s no reason for me to reinvent a wheel that rolls perfectly well already. Mr. Reagan’s doctrinal positions are solidly founded in scripture.
[Read more in Rapture and Revelation, chapter title, “The Name of Jesus is a Stumbling block of offense”]