By Thomas Kirkpatrick
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9)
Defining prayer is a never-ending conversation with God the Father through His Son secured in the Power of His name, Jesus. Scholars would say communication, but I say conversation as God desires fellowship with His children. Communication can travel on a one-way street, but there has to be two-way traffic to have a conversation. Sometimes I forget that sometimes as I pray my thoughts of praise, petition for my needs, seek intercession for my loved ones, and thanksgiving that He would listen and answer my prayers. How selfish I am that I speak my thoughts and seldom wait upon the Lord to return my speech with His Words. I have been in the company of people who are so busy talking and are so selfish that they never listen to an answer. It isn’t very pleasant to go through a one-sided conversation. I wonder if that is annoying to God also.
If prayer is a conversation, then praying back His Word and waiting for His answer has become a great aid to my Bible studies. What good is it to have a great counselor if you do not expect to hear His counsel? A prayer is an act of worship, much like those marvelous conversations I had with my father. Today I so long for the times we would sit and talk over life together. Those insights of my father come back to me today and guide my decisions. How much higher a continuous conversation with the Holy Spirit, as He guides every decision and directs my path through my journey. A constant acknowledgment of Him in all I do opens the door for Him to direct my path in every endeavor. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Guidance and counsel of the Almighty, All-Knowing, and Ever-Present God is the power of the name of Jesus.
When we invoke the name of Jesus, we are drawing on the Person of Jesus. When we believe in the name of Jesus, we are accepting the work that He has done through His love to finish His work on the cross, that He gave His life willingly, that He suffered the complete death on behalf of us, and that He rose from the grave to ensure His power over death. That absolute power ensures His promise of eternal life for each one who believes in His name. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
Any power that Christians access in Jesus’ name comes from true faith in who Jesus is and what He does for sinners. To use the name of Jesus in a meaningless way or for insignificant things will offer no power to the speaker. In fact, it may be used in vain. I had a friend once tell me as we were driving down the road that the light turned red because I didn’t say “stay green in the name of Jesus.” I offered no reply. The Jewish people have so much reverence for the name of God they do not speak it. We must be careful not to use the name of Jesus outside of the will of the Father as Jesus came to glorify His Father.
No man gave Jesus His name. God gave the name and delivered it through the angel Gabriel. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yehoshua and means God saves. There is no other name that can bring God’s salvation. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus came to seek and save the lost; He is the only path to God’s salvation. He is the Savior of the sinners of God’s people.
Jesus being born in the likeness of a man, and it did not take the power of His deity away. He laid in the manger as a babe in swaddling clothes, and He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords. (Luke 2:11-12) He was entirely God and fully a man and lived in the complete will of the Father and finished His work on the cross. He had come to seek and save, and by His obedience to the Father’s will, He accomplished the Divine work willingly. “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” (John 10:18) To all who call upon His name in faith can be forgiven of all their sins; they will receive salvation by God’s grace and receive His righteousness that they will have eternal life in the Kingdom of God. “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Because God now sees us through the righteousness of Jesus, He is our High Priest, and through Him, our prayers can be heard by God. We are instructed to pray in His name. “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” (John 16:23) As Jesus, our advocate, we pray in His name in the expectation that if Jesus endorses our prayer, God will answer. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) If we are praying in the name of Jesus, then we are praying in His authority to ask God the Father to act on our petitions. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10:19)
We do not hear the name Jesus much in our society today, but the name was common in the first century. Joshua, in the Old Testament, carried the same name. What makes the name of Jesus rise above all other names is the Person Jesus is and what He has done for all of mankind. The fullness of deity rest upon Him. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9) He is God in the flesh who came to dwell among men and has the full radiance of God’s glory upon Him. “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3) If a person has no faith in Him, no personal relationship, and does not submit to His Word in obedience, then the name of Jesus has no power for that person.
We must always be careful not to use the name of Jesus for our selfish reasons, to gain glory for ourselves rather than the God we serve. Jesus endorses our prayers for the glory of the Father, and He will glorify us before the Father. “These whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30) Now, as then, we are to submit to His rule in our life, as His Spirit leads us on the path He has prepared for us. The Power of His name will cause the adversary to flee from us. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
All the power of our Creator, the Lord God Almighty, is given to the name of Jesus. Whoever confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the grave will be saved. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) Jesus has given His own authority to use His power to serve to do the good work of His Kingdom. The Powerful Name of Jesus gives us the authority to pray to the Father in praise and thanksgiving and to deliver our petitions for our needs in doing that work. The good work in His mission to seek and save the lost that they too will experience God’s gift of salvation.
The Christians are sons and daughters of God’s family, children of God who have faith in the Person Jesus Christ. As we go through the trials of this world, we call on Him, participating in His power that God’s will be done through us. Jesus is the rock of our salvation, the fortified tower we run to and find safety. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick is the Associate Pastor of Senior Ministries First Baptist Church of Durant.