May 28 I Friday
2 Chronicles 4-6
“You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” —John 14:14
Occasionally, we meet someone who will say they believe in God, mostly because they agree there has to be a great mind behind creation, but will openly admit to not believing in Jesus. The reason for many people is that in a time of crisis, they made legitimate requests, praying earnestly in Jesus’s name and their requests were met with silence. Considering the opening verse of this devotion, they will then question the credibility of Jesus, perhaps acknowledging He preaches a wonderful message, but wondering, is He telling the truth?
We often conclude our prayers with “in Jesus’s name.” When we know what that means, we gain a better understanding of how God works. To illustrate, when I lived in Britain, I sometimes received a letter asking for money from people I did not know, and I always gave it to them. The reason was because on the envelope and letterhead was written, “On Her Majesty’s Service.” The letter was from the taxman, operating under the authority of the Queen. By the same token, to say, “In Jesus’s name,” is to say, “I am acting under the authority of Jesus.” To abuse the name of Jesus is to do things in His name, which we claim are under the auspices of the Lord Jesus Christ when they are not.
The third commandment says, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God...” (Exodus 20:7). Many people think this is a euphemism for swearing, but taking the Lord’s name in vain is not about swearing, but about engaging in God’s work under our own initiative and authority. In Philippians 2:13, Paul says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.” Part of the work of God is to bring our will into conformity with His will. When we pray in Jesus’s name we have confidence our request originates with Him. Effective praying is not adding “in the name of Jesus” as a formula for receiving, but as a request for His purpose to be accomplished in our situations.
We may not understand the personal will of God in times of hardship and crisis, but we do not give up on Him. We trust Him as He guides us and He will adjust our reasoning so that we begin to see our circumstances from His perspective. Jesus is always true, trustworthy and faithful. To pray in His name makes essential that in all things it is the will of Jesus we are praying for, not our own. It is usually in retrospect that we see God’s will was best for all concerned and far exceeded our own.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, keep my heart aligned with Yours, so that it is under Your authority and in Your name that my prayer life is built. Thank You, Lord.