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Why Christians Pray, 'In Jesus' Name'

Why do we pray this way, and why is Jesus central to our prayers?

Contributing Writer
Updated Jul 08, 2024
Why Christians Pray, 'In Jesus' Name'

When I was a kid, my mother told me to say the name of Jesus anytime I was afraid. I remember doing this a few times when the darkness seemed too sinister or I had a nightmare. At the time, I was not a believer and did not understand everything about Jesus or what He did. However, I was left with the impression that the name of Jesus is powerful – more powerful than I knew.   

Christians have heard countless prayers end with, “In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” We are so accustomed to these words that we may overlook their significance. Why do we pray this way, and why is Jesus central to our prayers?

The answer is found in the significance of Jesus’ name, what He did for us, and His instructions for praying. Our position in Christ and our reliance on Him is central to our prayer life.  

Jesus Christ: A Powerful Name 

Praying in the name of Jesus requires that we know who He is and what He has done for us. We will never find a name more important or powerful than the name of our Lord and Savior. In the Bible, we find that He is the:  

Savior – The Hebrew equivalent of Jesus’ name means “Yahweh is salvation,” which is fitting because He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Christ came to earth to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and to offer His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). And that is what He did. On the cross, He died for the sins of the world. In His resurrection, He conquered sin and death. All who place faith in Him receive salvation and life that never ends. As Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV).  

Son of God At His birth, Jesus was called Immanuel. This name fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy but also revealed His divinity (Isaiah 7:14). He is “God with us,” the Word made flesh to tabernacle with His people and save them from their sins (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1, 14). All the miracles He did proved that He is God the Son, as only the Lord could control the weather, heal people, and raise the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is the crowning evidence of His divinity, affirming He is who He claimed to be – God in the flesh.   

Supreme King – Jesus is the Messiah whom the Old Testament prophesied (Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 16:16). One day, He will rule on the throne of David as the King of Israel, for He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32; Revelation 19:16). Not only will everyone know that He is the King, but all will acknowledge Him as Lord. As Philippians 2:9-11 says, 

“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (NIV). 

His name is above any other as the Supreme King of the universe.    

Biblical Significance of Praying in Jesus’ Name 

During His earthly ministry, Jesus instructed the disciples to pray in His name. As He told them, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father” (John 14:13, NLT; see also John 15:16 and 16:23-27). We are told to pray in the name of Christ, knowing that the Father will hear and listen to us because of His Son.    

All this stems from our position in Christ. Before we were saved, we were alienated from God and lived in rebellion against Him (Colossians 1:21). We could not approach the Father or have a relationship with Him because of our sinfulness. However, when we placed faith in Jesus and received the gift of salvation through His death and resurrection, we were reconciled to the Father (2 Corinthians 5:18).  

As symbolized in the tearing of the curtain in the temple at Jesus’ death, we can now approach the Father without any hindrance (Matthew 27:51). The curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the sanctuary. No one, except the High Priest once a year, could enter the Holy of Holies lest they die (Hebrews 9:7). Since Jesus is our perfect Mediator and High Priest, we no longer have to fear being struck down in the presence of God (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14-16). When the Father looks at us, He sees the Son’s blood covering us, which makes us righteous in His sight. Thus, we can pray to the Lord with confidence (Ephesians 3:12).  

When we pray in Jesus’ name, we acknowledge that we are only who we are and in the position we are in because of Christ’s grace. He has bridged the gap between sinful man and holy God. We pray in the name of our Savior to declare our dependence on Him.   

Do We Have to End Every Prayer by Saying “in Jesus’ Name?” 

Some people use Jesus’ name at the end of prayer in a ritualistic way. They think the mere recitation of words means they are praying in the way God wants. At times, they may even use the Lord’s name superstitiously, as if the mention of Christ’s name will grant them whatever they ask.  

Christians are to pray in Jesus’ name but do not always have to end their prayers this way. We pray with a dependence on Christ, which is the biblical way to pray. Jesus told us to abide in Him, and He will abide in us (John 15:4). When we do so, we can trust that whatever we ask in His name, in dependence on His death and resurrection for our position before the Father, then we will receive what we ask (see John 15:7). Our prayer life is entwined with our relationship with the Savior.  

If we are abiding in Him and depending on His grace when we pray, then we do not necessarily have to say, “In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen” after every prayer. We are already approaching the Father through the Son. Biblically, the emphasis is on the foundation of our prayers: Are we trusting our own merit, or are we relying on Jesus? Are we abiding in Christ and depending on His grace? 

Believers may choose to end their prayers with an acknowledgment of their reliance on Christ, however, they should avoid doing so mindlessly or merely to say the words. God does not listen to us more intently if we needlessly multiply our words (Matthew 6:7). Saying “in Jesus’ name” is not a magical formula for having our prayers answered.   

What Does This Mean? 

Praying in the name of Jesus is not so much about the words we use, as it is the way we approach our prayers. To pray in Jesus’ name depends on what He has done so that we can talk to the Father. Through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ, we have received the blessing of communing directly with God and having a relationship with Him. Therefore, we pray with reliance on Christ, knowing that in Him we are accepted and can approach the throne of God the Father confidently.  

Because of God’s grace, we have salvation and a new life. This same grace is the foundation for our prayers as we abide in our Lord and talk to Him. May we remember this and praise Christ as we kneel, bow our heads, or lift our hands, for in His name we pray.    

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Kristina Kuptsevich

Sophia BrickerSophia Bricker is a writer. Her mission is to help others grow in their relationship with Jesus through thoughtful articles, devotionals, and stories. She completed a BA and MA in Christian ministry, which included extensive study of the Bible and theology, and an MFA in creative writing. You can follow her blog about her story, faith, and creativity at The Cross, a Pen, and a Page.

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