If you are like me, you make sure you add the words, “in Jesus’ name, amen” at the end of every prayer.  We know we are supposed to pray that way.  That is how we have been taught.  But I think somehow we have held some secret, perhaps not even fully thought out, idea that as long as we say our prayer is in Jesus’ name, then God will hear us and answer.  Like just saying the name of Jesus is a magic key to opening the doors of Heaven.

Earlier this week I was reading from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  He suggested that praying in Jesus’ name is not simply invoking His name, but to pray in the character of Jesus.  The immediate thought in my mind did not accept that, but the Spirit confirmed the truth of what Chambers said in short order and set me straight.  So let’s look at some Scripture passages to figure this out.

Let’s begin with John 16:23-24 (NKJV) – “And in that day you will ask Me nothing.  Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.  Until now you have asked nothing in My name.  Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

John 14:13-14 – “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

Ok.  So if we keep praying in Jesus’ name, amen, and Jesus said that whatever we pray in His name He will do, why are so many of our prayers not answered the way we want them to be?  Is Jesus’ name not the magic word after all?  Or is there something more to it?

One of the keys to studying God’s word that I have learned over the past few years is that God never contradicts Himself.  If He says something in Scripture that doesn’t seem to jive with something else in Scripture, or in real life, dig deeper, because there is further meaning there.  If you seek that meaning and understanding, God will give it to you.

John 15:5-8 – “I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

There it is.  If we abide in Jesus, and His words abide in us, then what we ask for will be done for us.  Why?  Because then we will be asking for what is already the will of God.

What is an ambassador?  A person so trusted by the leadership of a government that they are trusted to speak for that leadership.  The ambassador knows the will of the leader, and speaks it.  He is not the leader, but he is a representative that is so in tuned to the will and desires of the leader that he can speak with the authority of the leader.

This is what Jesus is talking about.  Just as Jesus, as the Son of God, was the ambassador, so to speak, of God the Father, here on earth, we are ambassadors for Jesus (2 Cor. 5:20).  Jesus came in the name of the Father (John 5:43; 10:25).  What Jesus spoke to us, we know to be the words, and will of the Father.  John 5:19 – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”

In the same way, as ambassadors for Jesus, filled with His Holy Spirit, we are to know His will.  He trusts us to speak for Him, not only to every person that we speak to on this planet, but when we speak in prayer to our Heavenly Father.  When we pray, we are to approach God with the assurance that, because of the Holy Spirit within us, and the Word of God, which we have been able to read and study, we do know His will, which is also the will of Jesus.  Our spirits are to be at one with the Holy Spirit.  When that is the case, then our prayers are truly said in the name of Jesus, as His trusted representatives, speaking His will, His desires.  Wow.  What an awesome thought!  It is no wonder Jesus said he would be present when 2 or 3 were gathered in His will!  I see it!  He says, “I see 2 or 3 saints gathered together.  They are all in sync with My will, one with My Spirit.  That is where I am going to be right now.”

So why is it that so often we find ourselves unsure of what Jesus’ will is?  The very simple answer is that we have not taken the time to build our relationship with Him.  How can we know what Jesus’ will is, if we don’t know who He is or anything about Him?  How can our prayers be in sync with what He desires, if we don’t know what He likes and dislikes?  There is more to knowing Jesus than believing that He is the Son of God and good.  Study the words He has written.  And take time to talk them over with Him over a cup of coffee, or tea.  Seek His understanding and His wisdom.  When you are in a time of crises, or at a crossroads and need to know His will, there is not enough time to develop this kind of relationship with Him.  You can’t know His will then.  Start building now.  Then when the hard times, or the questions come, you will know His will, and will only need to seek to understand it.