praying-handsThis week has been full of questions and reflection. And as I was reading “The idolatry of God”  I was reflecting on Jesus asking us to pray in his name. I think in our traditional thinking we connect this with John 4.6 (No one comes to the father but through me) or we possibly se think of Paul talking about Christ’s righteousness becoming our righteousness and so when we pray in his name we become pure enough, or clean enough to actually petition the father.

But what if we got it wrong? What if Jesus, when he said pray in my name, actually meant the opposite? What if when we pray in Jesus name, pray in the name of the Nazarene (Can anything good come from nazareth)? What if we then pray as the outcast, the one who failed politically and religiously (Being nailed to the cross signifies both of these failed arenas)? What if praying in Jesus name means praying as if we acutely feel the absence of god (My god my god, why have you forsaken me)?

What if praying in the name of Jesus means stepping into the role of a nobody, an outcast, like the least. What if it means shedding our privileged positions and our entitlement?

I wonder how we would pray then?

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What if we doesn’t pray at all and still live a happy life as a good human being thinking about our fellow man?

liene lazdina

I think that “in my name” comes from John 14:13 – Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. And I think its like an “assurance” for Christians that the prayer will be answered because at the end you say ” I pray that in your name, Jesus” . And Jesus himself says – whatever you ask in my name, this I will do! Although I don’t think its all that simple 🙂 I remember once after praying in a group, I forgot to say the magic words at the end, and one girl whispered ” you have to say “in Jesus name” otherwise it won’t come true, the prayer won’t be answered” ! But there must be a reason why Jesus said that, why he wants us to pray in his name. I believed that we have to do that because we are not good enough and pure enough to speak to the Father straight, we have to go through Jesus first, He makes our prayers sound good and sweet 🙂

liene lazdina

You say that it’s the whole divide theology. But are we not divided? We are divided into two teams: team “Jesus” and team “World” (according to the bible). Why can’t we just pray the way we pray, without using Jesus as a spell or security code? Isn’t “amen” in the end enough? And are we not all outcasts and outsiders, no mater what team we are in ?

liene lazdina

I think we need to rediscover what Christianity is all about. There are a lot of things we need to rethink and rediscover, but I don’t think prayer is one of them. I truly hope that this is at least one thing that I understand correctly – prayer is how we communicate with God, whether out loud, public or silently in our hearts. Please tell me I got at least one thing right 😀

Mia Dalqvist

I really don’t think that prayer in Jesus’ name is meant to be used as a spell (as in the example Liene gave from praying in a group) – because then prayer would be sorcery.

I believe that the biblical references to “pray in my name” means praying as Jesus would have prayed in the same situation. To be Jesus’ spokesperson, so to speak. That isn’t easy, and I don’t think it happens particularly often that we get this right, but when we do – then amazing things happen through the power of God.

Now, this is another way of praying, another sort of prayer, than the individual and personal conversation with God/Jesus we more or less continuously have ongoing throughout our day and our life.

Graeme Randall

I have quite a different take on this. For me, I have come to understand it in terms of familial relationships. There is much throughout the Old and New Testaments that speaks of rights of children. John, in the prelude to his gospel, tells us that we ‘become children of God’ when we come to Him. By that he meant we become the actual flesh and blood children of God – not just spiritual children, in some ethereal sense – but the actual flesh and blood children of God, not born in the natural way as a will of man, but in an un-natural way – born of God. Christ confirms this when he talks about us no longer being heirs to a physical inheritance, but heirs to the kingdom of God – our Fathers property (look up the concept of property rights and the line of succession within Jewish culture).

Also cross reference the teaching of Christ, when he said ‘who would give your son a stone when he asked for fish….’ Here, Christ is again affirming that we who are now children of God, will be given what we ask our Father for in the same way as earthly children are given what they ask their earthly father for. That doesn’t always mean that children get everything – they would be spoiled brats then. They get ‘what is good for them’.

In this sense, I believe what is being taught here with regard to praying in ‘Jesus’ Name’ is to pray in the family name – acknowledging that we are the actual flesh and blood children of God, and the actual flesh and blood brothers and sisters of Christ. In that sense, it is no longer something we have to say at the end of our prayer, but something we acknowledge at the beginning of our prayer – we have the right to approach God, and the throne of Grace, because we are rightful heirs to that throne, and rightful children of God.

It sort of turns a lot of Theology around a bit, and re-interprets a lot of what we traditionally believe – but it makes sense.

Just my thoughts,
Graeme Randall

Magnus Spång

Sorry for being a little bit slow, but I just read this post.

And I loved it. I don´t know what difference it will make to think this way. But I believe that anything that allows me to be a week, tired and sad failure (outcast) must be a good thought.

Thank you.

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