Praying “in the name of Jesus” always seemed like a talisman to me. It was a crazy thing to tack on. It sounded like a magical charm – not a prayer. Yes, Jesus tells us to ask for things in his name.
John 16:23b-30 (NRSV)
23 On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. 25’I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’ 29His disciples said, ‘Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.’
I get it now – Jesus is the proof that God is real, that God makes good on his promises. Jesus is God made flesh, is real, is here with us. Our God loves us so much that he comes down to be with us, right next to us, even inside us. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are recalling that – to ourselves, and to God. We are reminding ourselves and God that he cares and wants the best for us.
(Started 12-3-12, left to work on for later and forgotten. Edited today. I think I’ve written something similar since I started this.)