John 14:13, 14

“In Jesus’ name, Amen.” These words of Jesus contain a remarkable promise. They tell us that whatever we ask—anything at all— if we ask it in the name of Jesus, He will do it for us. It would be hard to find a promise broader than that. “Whatever you ask . . . in my name . . . I will do it.”

Our problem is not with the promise but with the condition. What does it mean to pray “in Jesus’ name?” Praying in Jesus’ name refers to a certain formula we add at the end of our prayers. So there is a sense in which every prayer we pray should always be offered in the name of Jesus.

But that still doesn’t tell us what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name.” Perhaps the best way to attack that question is to consider first what it doesn’t mean.

I. What it doesn’t mean

Praying in Jesus’ name means more than simply adding a phrase to the end of a prayer. Here’s a bit of Bible trivia that may surprise you. Go back and read all the prayers in the New Testament. Not a single one ends with the phrase “in Jesus’ name, Amen.” Yet surely those prayers were being offered according to the promise of this text. That tells us that this promise deals with much more than saying a few words and then saying Amen.

II. The importance of names in the Bible

Let’s spend a few moments thinking about the meaning of names in the Bible. In our day, names don’t have an intrinsic meaning. You might be Joe or Jack or Mary or Susan, but those names don’t automatically convey any particular message about who you are. But it was different in Bible times.

First, names in the Bible often represent the character, personality, origin, or destiny of different people. Jacob means cheater, Nabal means fool, and Peter means rock. What about the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Lord means Master, Jesus means Savior, and Christ means the Anointed One sent from God. When you call out to the Lord Jesus Christ, you are declaring that He is your Master, your Savior, and the Anointed One sent from God.

Second, names also represent authority. We see this principle at work in the great confrontation between David and Goliath. Just before the battle begins, David boldly tells Goliath where his power is coming from (1 Sam. 17:45).

Third, names represent a person’s reputation. We see this clearly in reference to the name of the Lord. The very first petition of the Lord’s Prayer is “Hallowed be your name.” To “hallow” something is to treat it as being of great worth. You hallow God’s name when you treat it with the respect it deserves.

To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray based on who He is, with His authority, in order that His reputation might be enhanced in the world.

III. Praying “in Jesus’ name”

What does it mean to pray “in Jesus’ name”? Here are six answers to that question.

A. When you pray in Jesus’ name, you are confessing your faith that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Hebrews 10:19-20 tells us that we now have confidence (the Greek word means “boldness” or “freedom”) to come into the very presence of God by virtue of the blood of Jesus. The only One who can bring you into God’s presence is the Lord Jesus Christ. “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). If you do not come to God through Him, you cannot come at all.

B. When you pray in Jesus’ name, you are acknowledging that His name is the supreme name in the universe (Phil. 2:9-11). By virtue of His victorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, God has exalted Jesus to the very highest place in the universe. He has the greatest name in the universe.

C. When you pray in Jesus’ name, you are admitting that there is no power to answer your prayers in any other name, including your own. The whole point of prayer is to admit our total dependence on God. And we come to God in Jesus’ name because “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

D. When you pray in Jesus’ name, you are asking that God’s reputation be enhanced through the answer to your prayer (John 14:13). The purpose of our prayers should be to bring glory to the Father. After all, this is why Jesus came to the earth (John 17:1). Jesus came to glorify God through His obedient life, His sacrificial death, and His victorious resurrection. To glorify God means many things, not the least of which is to enhance God’s reputation in the world. When our requests will glorify God, we may be sure that they will be answered.

E. When you pray in Jesus’ name, you are asking that everything you ask for be consistent with God’s character, will, and Word (Rom. 10:13). Calling on the name of the Lord means asking for that which is consistent with all that Jesus is, all that He says, and all that He wants to accomplish in the world. Think of it this way: You cannot lie or steal in Jesus’ name. You cannot ask God to bless adultery in Jesus’ name. You cannot ask God to bless your sin in Jesus’ name. You cannot swear in Jesus’ name. You cannot ask God to bless your anger in Jesus’ name.


What difference should it make to pray in Jesus’ name? It should deepen our sense of total dependence on Christ. We pray in Jesus’ name precisely because our own name carries no weight with the Almighty. On our own, we stand before God wrapped in the filthy rags of our own self-righteousness.

Finally, there is a clear gospel call that should be made. If you need to be saved, I know the name of the One who can save you. If you want to be forgiven, I know a name that can wash away your sins. If you want a new life, I know a name that can give you new life here and now.

There is no name like the name of Jesus. It is the only name “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It is the name that is above every other name. One day all creation will bow down before that great name. And in that name we may bring our requests to God, knowing that whatever we ask in His name, He will do for us. This is the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.