A pastor told me about a personal experience that has been a great help when I feel inadequate and unworthy of God’s blessing as I pray. He said that after a very difficult day he was trying to pray before he went to bed. As he sought God amidst the discouragement of this difficult day, he thought to himself, Would you have any problem praying if you had led somebody to Christ today and had a great time studying the Scripture? He reflected on this thought and responded to himself, No, I would have no problem praying; but this is not the kind of day I had. I have had an awful day that has been characterized by many wrong responses. During this time of seeking God and reading the Scriptures, he related how he sensed a loving rebuke from God as he reflected on praying in Christ’s name: “Do you want to come to Me in your name or in Jesus’ name?” Only when we learn to pray in Jesus’ name can we use our times of feeling unworthy and inadequate and turn them into confident intercession.
What is meant by the concept of “name” in Scripture? It refers to one’s character. God’s changing a person’s name foreshadowed a change of character that He planned to work in that person’s life (cf. John 1:42). It also refers to one’s corresponding reputation. In this sense the Bible refers to the desirability of a “good name” (Proverbs 22:1). Third, it may refer to one’s authority. If you made a request to a fellow employee, and he seemed reluctant to follow through, would it not radically change things if you informed him that the request is being endorsed or authorized by the president of the company?
“We must humble ourselves before God and receive His gracious gifts.”
We are to come to God in Jesus’ name (John 14:14). We must pray for things that are in line with His revealed character and for requests in which His answers would enhance His reputation. We are also to come to God in Jesus’ authority. I will never deserve God’s blessing and neither will you, but that is not the point. The marvelous truth is that because of God’s grace, Jesus died in order that we could experience all of His blessings (Ephesians 1:3). We must humble ourselves before God and receive His gracious gifts. God’s name is honored as He forgives our sin, for it shows His loving, merciful, wise, and righteous character (Psalm 25:11). His name is honored as He gives us guidance (Psalm 23:4) and allows His people to experience His rest (Isaiah 63:14). When a sheep ends up in the right place, discerning people do not praise the sheep but rather the loving and caring Shepherd.
The key is to come to God with confidence during your needy moments. Humble yourself before Him and let Him use your life to display to the world how kind and gracious He is (Ephesians 2:7—look it up!). At the Tower of Babel the people fearfully attempted to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4). A believer in Christ has the awesome privilege of living for God’s name (Psalm 115:1). In all of life our wonderful Lord can teach us how to draw attention to Him—even in the routine of life (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossian 3:17). This will happen as we learn to come to Him not in our own name but in Jesus’ name.
by Bill Thrasher
Why is it so hard to pray? It’s something many Christians can relate to: the desire to pray but the failure to execute. A Journey to...
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