In Jesus' Name, Amen?

Church family:
When you learn that the sermon for Sunday is going to be on the topic of prayer, what thoughts come to mind? Does it bring you a sense of guilt and despair over your own prayerlessness? Or does it bring a sense of peace and joy to your spirit as you look forward to being refreshed by what God’s Word says regarding communication with Him? Or maybe you’re somewhere in between…

God has been laying this topic on my heart for a couple of months now and has been convicting me personally regarding my own communication with Him, but to be honest, I don’t feel qualified to preach a sermon on prayer. I sort of figure that in order for me to cover a topic, I probably should have it mastered in my own life. Which I don’t! But I know that thought is just a deception from the Enemy. We can all greatly benefit from being encouraged from God’s Word to commune with our Loving Father in heaven, regardless of who brings the message. But again, this week has been very tough to prepare. I can attribute that to a lot of things, but I also know the truth of the Scripture that the “schemes of the devil” will find any weakness in my spiritual life and exploit it. There is nothing that the devil dreads so much as Christians being constant in prayer. Prayer is our great weapon against the spiritual forces of darkness. Satan doesn’t care so much that we are busy with work and family – as long as we don’t pray. Satan doesn’t care so much that we read and study our Bibles – so long as we don’t pray. Satan doesn’t care that we are busy with ministry and serving others in our spare time – but he trembles when we pray. Because he knows the source and the power of prayer.

So I want to encourage us to pray. I cannot possibly cover everything Scripture has to say about prayer in one Sunday, but there are a couple of aspects of prayer that I want to draw out from Jesus invitations to pray in John’s Gospel during his farewell discourse to His disciples.

What does it mean to pray “In Jesus’ Name”? Does simply stating “in Jesus’ name” at the end of my prayer mean that I’m praying in Jesus’ name? Certainly not, for I probably shouldn’t pray “In Jesus’ name, give me Lamborghini”. It shouldn’t be a phrase that we tag on to the end of our prayers as some sort of spiritual seasoning to convince God to give us what we want. Or to put it a different way, it shouldn’t be a magical phrase that fits the prayer formula that Christ gave us in order to be heard by Him.

To pray “in Jesus’ name” is to pray “by His reputation”. It’s to pray for His sake, not our own. It’s to pray with His priorities in mind, not our own. It’s to pray according to His will (1 John 5:14). It’s to pray on the basis of what He has already done to bring us close to God, and not on our own efforts to bring ourselves close to God. It’s to pray trusting in his wisdom and understanding and not our own. It’s to submit our whole being to Him in prayer, content that whatever the outcome of our prayer it will be for our good and for His glory. To pray “in Jesus’ name” means to entrust ourselves to His sovereign plan and will for our lives.

Let’s be a church family that is known for prayer. And not necessarily just known by other people. I’m talking about being known by the spiritual forces of the Enemy that would seek to destroy the work of God at GCT and in Hampstead. Let them tremble when our GCT family prays, because we have a mighty God who hears and answers us.

See you Sunday, praying at all times in the Spirit: Kyle

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