And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:13-14)
Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:16)
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and you joy will be complete. (John 16:23-24)
Evangelicals have made a habit of concluding all prayers with some form of the phrase “in Jesus name” with only a vague notion of why they do so. In many cases, it has taken on the veneer of a magical incantation, as if by including these words the prayer is guaranteed to be fulfilled. Kind of an abracadabra for Christians.
A person’s name is how we know them. Our family and friends are not disembodied beings that we know by their features; the big one, the red haired one. We know them by their names and associate all that they are to us in that name. Say the name of your wife or husband. Not only do you see his or her face in your mind but you get the full sense of your love for that person. You feel exactly what they mean to you.
So it is with the name of Jesus. He’s not just a man. He is Lord. His name represents all that that means to us. Praying in His name says two things. One, we are His representatives, serving Him and what we do carries the full force of His Lordship. Second, when asking for what we need to accomplish His will, we ask in the full force and credit of our Lord. What we ask to fulfill His will is not denied. The empowerment we desire to fulfill His will is not denied.