Don't forget the four magic words or it won't come true.
"In Jesus' name, Amen."
Uh-oh, did I just call those four words a spell?
I did because that is how we often treat them.
The Free Dictionary Online says a magic spell is "a verbal formula believed to have magical force."
Jesus says to pray in His name in John 14 but I don't think He meant it in the way we so often use it.
There's no problem with saying "In Jesus' name, Amen" but that isn't what makes our prayers effective.
(And it's best to end prayers like that if you're praying in front of others because if you don't you will make some Believers stumble.)
John 14:13-14 says, "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."
Here is what I thought this morning about what it means to pray in Jesus' name:
When you use someone's name as a reference you are using all that person is, who that person is to say you are qualified. If you say so-and-so recommends me for this job, if the hiring person knows your reference and respects that person, it will raise you up in the hiring person's eyes.
Do you get it?
Here's another example that I come across a lot in my life. Since my daughter died in March many things come up where we will say, "Maggie would have loved that; Maggie would have said _____ about this; (or) Maggie would have hated this freezing weather."
I can say all that because I know Maggie well. She would definitely have hated the frigid weather we are experiencing right now. I know what her reaction would have been to the snow day our school district had yesterday (yeah!!!); and I even know how she would have walked down our ramp to the car every morning these days.
The better we know Jesus the better we can pray in His name. We use His name when we know what we are asking is something He would ask for, something He would want to do. Those are the prayers we are told to pray. Those are the prayers He guarantees will be answered.
God is not going to grant things that would get between Him and us. He is not going to grant things that will muddle up the lessons He is trying to teach us. He will not grant things that will hurt us spiritually or push us from Him.
A prime example is people praying for a big financial windfall -- like winning the lottery or winning some huge cash prize. I know this happens and there are times that God is in it I'm sure, but the majority of the time God will not answer this for most people because a huge cash flow might seem wonderful but it has ruined so many people's lives. Instead of being a dream it becomes a nightmare.
What about those prayers that are definitely something He approves of but still don't get answered?
I think of my 14 year old who can't walk or talk and has several seizures daily. Why hasn't God healed him? At least from the seizures?
Maybe it isn't the right time. God's timing is perfect. He takes everyone and all things into account when He answers our prayers.
Continue to use those four wonderful words "in Jesus' name, Amen" but know that when you are saying them you are saying that what you are praying is what you believe Jesus would ask for.
Are you being true to Him?