Recently, we began looking at how we are to use the same authority that Christ Jesus has and do the same things He did in His name. And what we did was we studied what it truly means to do things in His name.
You see, as we made the point of last week, this issue of doing & saying things “in the name of Jesus” has been a topic of great misunderstanding in the Body of Christ. Most Christians believe that to pray in Jesus’ name is simply to tack on “in Jesus’ name” to the end of their prayer and to cast out demons in Jesus’ name is to bombard those evil spirits with a bunch of “in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ name!”
Church, we need to understand that doing things “in the name of” someone else does not simply mean to tack on the phrase “in the name of …” to the end of a statement. It means more than that. We saw that it is more of us acting in the Lord’s place, stead, or authority as we’ve seen in our example. Therefore, it is not just tacking on some magic words to the things we say, pray, or do, but it is actually doing these things “in the place” of the Lord Jesus, as His representative. In other words, it is being cognizant of the fact that every word we say and every work that we do is to be done as His representatives, His ambassadors and His soldiers. Amen.
We then looked at Acts chapter 3 at one of the great examples we have of this—which just happens to be the first healing / miracle we have in the Book of Acts. And we saw how it was faith in the name of Jesus that gave that crippled man perfect soundness on that day. Likewise, our faith in the name of Jesus will bring this perfect soundness in our lives and in the lives of those we minister to. Amen?
So while we looked specifically at doing these things in His name a couple of weeks ago, I want us to now look more into both saying & praying things in His name.
SAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS
You see, church, as we learned from in the story of the Centurion, when one understands this subject of authority, they will understand that simple commands like “Go & Come” or “Do this & Do that” are enough to see mountains moved. That’s because there is indeed power in the tongue—to both create life and to bring destruction. And when we speak from that position of authority even the simplest of commands get results.
But what we find in the Body of Christ is that most believers only respect the power of prayer to move mountains and have zero revelation that their faith-filled words can move mountains as well. In other words, there is time to pray, and there is a time to say. And far too many times we are praying to God about the obstacles in our life, begging Him to do something about them. But the Lord said that we are to speak to the mountain. Let’s look over at Mark chapter 11 …
We know the story: how Jesus cursed the fig tree, and then when they passed back the next day, they saw it dried up from the roots. So, when Peter said, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away,” Jesus answered with— “Don’t try this at home … because I am the Son of God, and you are not…” No, that’s not what He said! He answered with— “Have faith in God!” Now the literal rendering in the Greek language says, “Have God’s faith.” So, while it is certainly important for us to put our faith in the Lord, and that absolutely has its place, Jesus was telling us to have faith like God has it. In other words, have His very own faith and practice it like He does. Amen!
Then, Jesus goes on to further explain how we have the faith of God by saying in verse 23, “For assuredly (Now that means that you can be confident in this. It’s a sure thang!), I say to you, whosoever says to this mountain (So, we see here that we are not talking to God about the mountain; this is us talking to the mountain itself), ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” Notice that in this verse, the word “says” is mentioned three-times, and the believing aspect is only mentioned one. I believe that this means that the saying part is super significant.
So, in Mark 11:23-24, we see Jesus teaching us that speaking to the mountain when we pray is a valid part of the Christian life. But what I find most Christians doing at best is talking to God about their mountain in a spirit of fear and desperation. Church, that is neither saying or praying in His name.
No, we have to learn that there is a time to, as the Lord told Ezekiel, prophesy the dry bones around us. There is time to speak to the storms of life like Jesus did when He stilled the raging seas. And yes, there is a time to speak to the other obstacles (i.e. mountains) that are in our path like Jesus did—things like fevers, fig trees, etc.
But it’s not just about saying things; it’s saying them in His name. And that’s where a lot of people fail. They are not declaring these things from that standpoint of confidence, knowing in whose place they are saying them. Therefore, there’s usually not a lot of boldness in what they are confessing. Sure, they are saying the right thing, but what we say is not always as important as how we say it.
Take water baptism for instance: You know, a lot of people get hung up on what name we use when we water baptize people. But the truth of the matter is that is just being religious and ignorant. You know why? Because it is not just about what we say when we put someone under water. It is what name—place, authority, and stead—we are baptizing people in. In other words, is the person being water baptized truly identifying with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection? Is the person doing the water baptizing understanding the same? That’s what is important, saints—not simply what we utter in that sacred event.
Now I do believe it’s important to say HIS name when we do this, but there are a lot of people who have both water baptized people and been water baptized themselves who did not understand what I am talking to you about today, and because of that, they might have missed one of the most important parts of water baptism.
AUTHORITY TO PRAY
Now we’ve spent a little time talking about the authority we have to make professions & declarations, but I believe it is important to understand something else … Not only do we have the authority to “say,” we also have the authority to “pray.”
You see, I think sometimes those of us who start getting this revelation of the authority we have in Christ Jesus can get into the ditch of only confessing things and devalue the role prayer has. Let me explain …
In our modern day charismatic, word of faith circles and grace camps, I believe we have taken certain truths (that are indeed truths) and developed unscriptural doctrines out of them. Yes, within the past few decades, we have increased in our understanding that we are not waiting on God to do anything. We have come to find out that He has already done everything He is going to do through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And while these are truths that need to be understood, we have somehow minimized the importance of prayers and supplications at the same time. We have not learned to balance the asking part with the believing part.
In most of the radical teachings that have come out concerning faith and grace, it is implied that asking is unbelief because you are somehow not believing He has already done it. But if that were true, then that would nullify countless Scriptures in the New Testament that specifically tell us to ask. Let me give you just a few of them …
Now that is quite a few New Testament Scriptures concerning asking, isn’t it? So it is apparent that it is certainly appropriate to ask for some things while it is also true that speaking to the mountain has it’s place.
But I think a good question to ask is—why is asking even necessary? Like, for example, in Matthew 6:8, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
You see, a good question is—If God already knows what we have need of before we ask Him, then why do we even have to ask? Why doesn’t He just do it? This is a good question, and one that we need to understand in our charismatic circles …
But it’s important to understand that the Greek word used for “ask” has several different derivatives in its definition such as “to beg, request, plead, desire, crave, and demand.” So, you can see from this definition that asking can mean anything from “begging” to “demanding.”
Now biblical asking is not in any way “begging or pleading.” We are told to ask in faith, which is being firmly convinced that what you are asking for is God’s will and/or that He loves you enough to give you the desires of your heart. To “beg” God is a totally unscriptural and ineffective way of asking.
On the other hand, when we ask we are not to get in the other ditch and start demanding things from God like we are bossing Him around. Some have gotten over into this and are void of honor and respect for their God. While it is Scriptural and necessary to remind God of what He has said (not that He has forgotten, but because it is good for us), we are not to do it in a disrespectful manner.
So where is the balance? We are to ask in faith—understanding the will and heart of our Heavenly Father, but we are also to ask in a humble and respectful way because He is our God as well as our Father.
With all of this said, the basic meaning of this Greek word for “ask” is what you normally think of when you think of “asking.” As a matter of fact, if you look up every time this Greek word is used in the New Testament, you will find that in instances in the Gospels and the Book of Acts it just simply meant to make a request. I say all of this lest we try and over-think what this word “really” means in order to back up our pet doctrines. It means what you would think it means.
So, since we have a scriptural precedence for “asking” under the New Testament, we need to ask ourselves some questions: When is it appropriate to ask? What are we supposed to ask for? How do we ask for it?
So, let’s start by answering the question that we started out this teaching with: Why do we have to ask? The reason why we need to ask even though God already knows what we have need of before we ask is because it is a matter of legalities. Let me briefly explain …
As we have seen already, when God created this world He then delegated His authority to the first man, Adam. Psalms states that the heavens are the Lord’s, but the earth has He given to the sons of men. Adam, through willful disobedience, handed over that authority to the enemy, but Jesus came to win back that authority for all of those who are in Him. So, God, through Jesus Christ, has freely given to the church His authority. And since He has given us the dominion on the earth, it is up to us to see His will come to pass on the earth. He has set it up so that if His will is going to come to pass it will have to come to pass through human beings. Therefore, things come to pass that are His will when physical human beings exercise their right to ask, demand, and command. This is why we must ask for things. It’s because God has put us in the driver’s seat. Tell me He’s not a faith God.
In Matthew 18:18, Jesus told us that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. And if you look at the following verse, prayer is the understood subject.
So, from this we can see the authority that has been freely given to us by God on this earth. Whatever is bound on earth is what will be bound in heaven. Whatever we loose on earth is what will be loosed in heaven. Notice that in both cases, Jesus starts with what we bind & loose on earth and then heaven follows suit. This is how God has set it up! He has given us the authority on the earth and so whatever we bind and loose through prayer is what will be bound and loosed in heaven.
You see, when Jesus said, “Knock and it shall be opened to you” He was showing us this same principle: We have to knock in order for the doors to be opened. Why doesn’t God just open doors on His own? Why do we have to knock first? It is because of this structure of authority God has set up on the earth …
Another good question then is—Why would He have set things up this way? I believe one of the main reasons is because it is simply His nature to do this.
You see, God is the epitome of a gentleman. This is demonstrated the best in the fact that He has given us the free will that He has. God is not one to intrude and make anybody do anything they don’t want to do. Therefore, He wants us to invite Him into our lives. He wants us to invite Him to do what He already desires to do for us. You see, God’s greatest desire is to be desired. And one of the greatest ways that we invite Him is through simply asking (or you could say petitioning Him).
So this is why asking is necessary. It’s because God has given the authority over this earth to the sons of men. Therefore, He desires to be invited by His creation—both by us speaking things into existence and asking for God to do the things we cannot do. So, saying (i.e. confessing, declaring, prophesying, etc.) is no substitute for praying.
So, when we pray, yes, we need to go into it knowing our need for God, but we are also supposed to be going into it from this authority mentality to where we understand that God needs our participation too. Amen? Yes, He needs us to ask, guys!
PRAYING IN HIS NAME
So I’m here to tell you today that prayer is also a gift of this authority that we are learning about—particularly when you look at the correct protocol for prayer.
Just look at the Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (or, the Lord’s Prayer, as many call it): In that example that Jesus gave answering His disciples’ request to teach them how to pray, we see how authority in intertwined in many of those things.
For example, the very first requests that Jesus taught us to make are— “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Again, why would the Lord teach us to request this? Isn’t God the One who determines when, where, and how His kingdom will come on earth? Isn’t it totally up to Him whether His will is done here as well? No, this is what religion teaches us, but simply by virtue of the fact that Jesus taught His disciples to request this shows that we evidently have a part to play in how, when, and where His kingdom comes and His will is done. Amen?
But we can also see the authority we have in prayer by understanding the correct protocol of prayer: Didn’t Jesus teach us in the New Testament that prayer is to be offered up to the Father “in His name”? Let’s look at a few Scriptures …
In John 16:23-24, Jesus said that in that day, we will ask Him nothing, but whatever we ask the Father in His name, will be given to us. And in John 14:13-14, Jesus said that He will do whatever we ask in His name. And finally, in John 15:15-16, Jesus said that He was no longer calling us “servants,” but “friends.” And because of Him choosing and appointing us as His friends, we are commissioned to go forth and bear fruit—receiving whatever we ask the Father in His name.
So all of these Scriptures that revolve around prayer and petition place a great emphasis on praying “in His name,” right? And we understand that praying in the name of Jesus is not simply to add His name to the end of our prayers. Rather, it is us praying to the Father with the understanding that we are praying in Jesus’ place, in His stead, in His authority. In other words, we are praying to our Heavenly Father from the standpoint of it essentially being like Jesus Himself were the One doing the praying. This teaches us the importance of prayer and petition being done “in His place, as His representative, and through His authority.” Therefore, a major key to seeing answers to our prayers is understanding whose place we are approaching God in, namely the Lord Jesus Christ.
You see, if I approach God with things like, “God, I know I’ve screwed up. I am unworthy and undeserving, and I know I am low down dirty worm, but I just ask …” Well, I just prefaced my petition by approaching God “in my name,” not “in His name.” Why? Because I came to Him talking about who I was and what I had done. No, saints, we need to approach God “in Christ’s name” by talking about all that He is and what He has done. Now, this does not mean that we always have to rehearse all that He has done every time we pray, but simply that we come to Him with the mindset that it’s all about who we are through His blood and His Spirit. Amen?
So when I am praying, I don’t say the phrase “in Jesus name, I pray …” for my own benefit—like it’s some magic phrase that makes my prayers work. If I am doing that, then I am not praying in Christ’s name. No, most of the time the reason we want to add Jesus’ name to things we are praying & saying is for those around us. For example, when Peter & John healed the man at the beautiful gate, they told the man to rise up and walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Have you ever wondered why they added that Jesus was “of Nazareth”? It’s not that adding those two words is going to cause the miracle to happen. No, it was because those around them needed to know that the One they were doing this in the place of was from Nazareth. In other words, since these were Jews, knowing which “Yeshua” they were representing was important.
So my point is that more often than not, using the words in the name of Jesus is done for the person we are ministering to and for those witnessing it. But it really doesn’t need to be done for us—unless of course we need to remind ourselves whose name we praying in.
You see, I personally like to include in my prayers a time of praise & thanksgiving for all that Jesus has done for me by His grace. I like to say something to the affect of— “Father, I come to You in the grace of Your Son, where His blood has cleansed me and I have been clothed in His righteousness. Thank You Father for all that I have in Him and for all I can do in Him. This is the name I am praying in …” I do this because I like reminding myself that this is grace, mercy, and favor is what I am praying in and not anything else. Amen?
So praying in the name of Jesus is obviously an important aspect of our authority. Amen? We must understand whose authority we are asking in. We need to know whose place we are approaching the Father in. Failing to understand this can result in us praying in another name, and that doesn’t get results.
So, church, let’s make sure we do everything we do in His name and not in our own. This understanding whose authority we are praying & saying in is critical to seeing the results when we speak. Amen.