It is the common practice for us to begin or end our prayers “in Jesus’ name.” This is because Jesus instructed us on several occasions to pray in His name.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:13,14)
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (John 16:23,24,26,27)
The meaning of this is simple and yet bears restating. We have no right to request anything of God if we are unforgiven sinners in a state of rebellion against God’s authority. You would not come before the king of the land to ask a favor after violating his decrees and expect a positive response. You may get one, but you must not expect one.
But in Christ we are viewed as righteous, as free from all the deserved guilt of our disobedience. If that same man wanting a favor from the king sends the king’s own beloved son to make his request, he is much more likely to get it. But Jesus goes beyond even that by saying that in Him we are beloved sons of the Father and may approach Him ourselves. He is not asking for us, we are asking for ourselves, because in Jesus we have the same standing as He has before the Father.
Jesus offers us the privilege of using His name before the Father. He is our credit reference. Because we love and respect Him we must not use His name for improper requests (see the previous articles on conditions for prayer). But for proper requests He lends us His authority. It is not so important that we actually say the words “in Jesus’ name” as that we recognize the privilege we have. What greater motive to pray do we need?