Why do we pray, “in Jesus’ name”?
The phrase gets tacked onto the end of many prayers, but I think it has about as much meaning to us as “amen.” Amen does not mean, “That’s it . . . I’m done now,” the little period at the end of my prayer. Amen (ah-mane) is an ancient Hebrew word that was transliterated (kept virtually intact) into New Testament Greek. It is a pronouncement, firm and authoritative: “Yes! So be it! Let this be done!” Amen is a declaration; in that sense, it is like a command. Or it once was; now it has the emotional force of “talk to you later” at the end of a phone call.
“In Jesus’ name” is even more of a command—far, far more declarative and final, like the drop of a judge’s gavel. We are using the authority of the ruler of all galaxies and realms to enforce the power of what we have just prayed. We have been exploring the way things work in effective prayer; as we look deeper into the spiritual realm, we discover that the whole thing runs on authority. It is the secret to the kingdom of God, and one of the essential secrets to prayer that works.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Matt. 8:5–10)
I’m guessing it took something pretty remarkable to “astonish” Jesus (he was astonished). Did you notice what it was? The centurion understood authority. “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed! I know, because I am under the authority of my superior officers and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come” (vv. 8–9 NLT)
Remember—there is a way things work.