I am a seeker after God. I have been since I was young. I wonder, question, and ponder my faith and beliefs.
In my childhood home, attending church on Sunday was a given. We invited God into our daily life through table prayers, mealtime devotions, bedtime prayers and Sunday worship.
My dad believed with his whole heart. But his life in God centered around right belief, right prayer, right action and avoiding sin.
When I was quite young, my dad and my pastor taught me to pray in Jesus' name. To my young self, it seemed that God wanted to hear that phrase — "in Jesus' name" — at the end of every prayer.
As an adult, I retained the habit of ending every prayer "in Jesus' name." My ideas about prayer matured and grew, but the phrase remained. I started to wonder why. As I examined the words closely, I began to see.
I knew that the name "Jesus" is derived from a Hebrew word for "savior." Mary named her son Jesus because he was to be a "savior." In Jesus' time, a person's name pointed to the nature and soul of the person. Jesus' name was intricately woven into his nature. He saved, healed, forgave, helped the underdogs of society and founded the way — the walk of eternal life. When I pray "in Jesus' name" it means I pray in the nature of Jesus — believing in him, through him, participating in his nature through my prayer and with my whole heart.
When I say "in Jesus' name" as I pray gratefully for the blessings of the earth — the squirrels in my backyard, the wind whooshing through the pines, the green grass in spring – I am praying in the nature of Jesus who loved the lilies of the field. When I pray for healing and good health for friends and family, I am praying in the nature of Jesus who healed the blind man, Bartimaeus; raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead; and healed the soldier's ear. When I pray for love, joy, peace, patience — the fruits of the Spirit — I pray in the nature of Jesus because it is those fruits that save in this life. When I pray in Jesus' name, I pray in the nature of Jesus, not in my own sometimes-selfish, sometimes-self-righteous, egotistic nature.
"In Jesus' name" means more to me now since I understand what's in the name is also in the soul. And that's the birthplace of a heartfelt prayer — the saving nature of Jesus, the Christ, alive in us, a prayer from the little Christ inside-out.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers