Jesus is the ideal example of a person committed to prayer. He modeled for us how to go to our secret place and speak with our heavenly father. Jesus showed us how to worship first and then make requests. He taught us that it is a personal thing. And by His example, He assured us that the God in heaven does indeed hear and respond to our requests.
But a good reminder might be to consider the way we end our prayers. Almost all of us finish off our prayer time with the expression “in Jesus’ name, amen.” And too often, it is by rote. We aren’t really thinking it through; we just want to finish off the season of prayer with a good, spiritual phrase.
Sometimes, I am afraid that our final words in prayer are a kind of code to make sure that the lock on the “spiritual blessing vault” is opened. It is like we have the words of Malachi 3:10 in mind. (“Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”)
But the truth is, God’s storehouse is not a vending machine and punching in the right code does not open it. God’s direction, His peace, and His blessings are distributed according to His will, His purposes and His plan. As we pray, we need to track the model Jesus gave us to follow.
Jesus was submissive. He modeled living a sacrificial life and He made sure that His life shined for His heavenly Father. When we pray in His name, we are stating our commitment to do that same. We are assuring the Lord that we will be submissive, not demanding. We set those prayers in a daily context of living for others. And we pledge to live in a way that brings God glory (not us).
The phrase “in Jesus’ name” is not a tag line. It is not a spiritual label. It’s a statement that we want to pray like Jesus does.
Let’s all try to keep that in mind this week as we pray.