"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Prayer In The Name Of Christ

By G. R. Golsworthy

    One of the greatest secrets which the Christian needs to learn is the secret of prayer in the Name of the Lord Jesus. This is apparent from a reading of a series of tremendous but unmistakable pledges from the lips of Christ Himself.

    "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name that I will do" (John 14:13).

    "If ye ask anything in My Name I will do it" (John 14:14).

    "Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name He may give it you" (John 15:16).

    "Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name He will give it you" (John 16:23).

    "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name; ask and ye shall receive" (John 16:24).

    "At that day ye shall ask in My Name" (John 16:26).

    How urgent the need that we understand the meaning of praying in Jesus Name! What is the real meaning of prayer in the Name? We shall seek to answer that most important question under seven simple headings. It all resolves itself into one word – Christ. All that is required of us is a deliberate and spiritual taking of our place in Him as being the One in whom rests all that is needed in this important matter. What God is asking is a worshipful appropriation of His Son as the One who, on our behalf, embodies and surpasses all that the facts represent.

Prayer in the Name Is Christ United Prayer

    According to Scripture the post-Pentecost believer is positionally one with his risen and ascended Lord. (See 1 Cor. 6:17; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:13, etc.) It is because of this that the believer is justified in using the Name of the ascended Lord in prayer. Through redemption we have been made members of Christ: this is our right to pray in the Name of Christ. The Name belongs to the Body even as it belongs to the Head.

    It is because we are in Christ that we may pray in the Name of Christ. This was plainly implied by our Lord Himself in a promise which He inserted among the promises which we previously quoted. "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).

    If we consider that verse alongside the verses above quoted, it becomes apparent that prayer in the Name is prayer that is offered by those who are abiding in Christ.  It is this very fact of our being in Him and abiding in Him that makes it possible for us to pray in His Name.

    You will recall that the fifteenth chapter of John is the chapter which speaks of the vine and the branches. It is the chapter of our living union with our Living Lord, and in it is opened the mystery later developed through the Apostle Paul under the figure of the Head and the Body – Christ and His church one organic unit of Resurrection Life.

    Praying in the Name, then, is praying as the members of Christ's Body, to whom His wondrous Name is given. It is praying to the Father as the very extension of the Son, the very sharers therefore of His matchless Name.

    How wonderful it is that through redemption we may now approach the Father as the very extensions of the Son. O, the all-surpassing grace of God! When we kneel for prayer we may do so with the worshipful realization that we have been made the members of Christ's Body. We are part of that one church "which is…the fulness (that is, completing) of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:23).

    Hudson Taylor's comment on this truth brings the matter into clearest light. Writing to his sister he says:

    "O my dear sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Saviour; to be a member of Christ. Think what it involves! Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and your left poor? Can your head be well fed while your body starves?

    "Again, think of its bearing on prayer. Can a bank clerk say to a customer, 'It was your hand wrote that cheque, not you'; or could he say, 'I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself'? Nor can your prayers or mine be discredited if offered in the Name of Jesus (that is, not in your name, or for the sake of Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are His, His members) so long as we keep within the extent of Christ's credit, a tolerably wide limit."

    Basically, then, prayer in Christ's Name is Christ-united prayer. It is prayer that is prayed on the ground of our perfect oneness with our Lord. We pray as the members of His Body, and as those with whom He shares the wondrous Name the Father has given to Him.

Prayer in the Name Is Christ-Enthroning Prayer

    It is very obvious that when we pray as the members of Christ's Body, we pray under Christ's Headship. To abide in Him is necessarily to abide under Him, for He is the Head of the Body. That being so, we cannot rightly say we are abiding in Him if there is any rebellion against His rulership on any matter that touches our lives.

    It is, in fact, sheer foolishness to say that we are taking our place as members of His Body if we are willfully avoiding His dominion on any point, for the Body and each and every member of it has only one place in relation to the Head, and that is the place of complete subservience.

    Prayer in the Name, then, is only possible by those who have profoundly accepted the absolute enthronement of the ascended Lord and by those who are daily moving in deep and glad submission to that Throne from which He rules.

    Christ's headship will inevitably sift our prayers. If Christ is ruling our life He will certainly rule our praying. A person who is abiding under His headship will only bring those requests which He approves. This rules out foolish, selfish, and carnal petitions.

    Again, His headship definitely inspires faith in those who have accepted it and know it in a really living way. As we abide in Him and under Him, we have a consciousness and assurance that He rules, and that He is head over all things to the Church which is His Body (Eph. 1:19-23). Whenever there is this living and inward recognition of the universal Lordship of Him who is our Head, nothing will seem impossible.

    The headship of the Lord Jesus will be manifested in the particular manner of our asking. It will even be seen in our very bearing as we kneel before the Throne. The composure which we manifest will indicate that we are indeed the subject members of His Body, ruled continually by Him. Everything will be decent and in order – the order of His Body. Needless to say, these are not features to be cultivated and fixed. They are spontaneous expressions of a whole life that is subject to Christ's rule.

    Finally, Christ's headship will show itself in the spirit in which we receive God's answers to our prayers. As we have been ruled in our asking, so shall we be ruled in our receiving. There will be no hurrying to consume on our own lusts that which God has given (Jas. 4:3). On the contrary, while we are in process of receiving the answers, we shall be saying to ourselves: "All things are ours, but we are Christ's." We shall know that we have not been enriched for ourselves, but for Him who is our Head. All that is given to us is held unto Him and not even conceived of as apart from Him.

Prayer in the Name Is Executive Prayer

    We have just mentioned that He who is our Head is "Head over all things" (Eph. 1:22). God has "set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things under His feet" (Eph. 1:20-22).

    That is a fact which the Christian needs to realize above all else. It is the very essence of true and living Christianity for the very word "Christ" literally signifies one who is anointed to reign. Yes, God has set His King upon His holy hill of Zion. In accordance with His many ancient prophesies, He has set His Christ upon a universal Throne, and from the Throne Christ reigns. Already He begins to exercise the infinite authority appointed to Him, and to sway His scepter over all His enemies.

    It is to that Christ that we have been united! It is He who has become our Head through God's redemption. His is the Name we bear and His is the work and office that we share. We are as essential to the King upon the Throne in no lesser way than a body is essential to a head, all in the infinite and gracious purpose of God.

    When He was foretold we were foretold. When He was anointed we were anointed. While He reigns, we reign. This is a tremendous truth, and certainly is a very humbling one, but it is one which is continually brought before us in God's precious Word. (See Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 4:8; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6, etc).

    In true prayer in the Name of the Lord Jesus, there is certainly the element of Christ's own authority over all His foes. There are times when, taking our place in Christ and accepting with all humility the Mighty Name He shares with us as His members, we shall be urged positively to co-operate with Him in exercising His undisputable authority over particular situations with which we are acquainted.

    A regal note, as well as a Christ-submissive one, is certainly to be expected when we pray in the Name, for we pray as the members of the Great Corporate King. This is never to be regarded as something we are to cultivate or attempt to assume. Reigning is definitely a matter of Life. We must reign in our lives if we would reign in our prayers, and generally speaking such reigning is largely unconscious if not entirely so. It is in a sense inevitable because of the regal quality of the righteousness which is poured into us from Him who is our Head and which is consequently expressed in our every attitude and action. Righteousness is the scepter of Christ's throne, and His righteousness is always regal in its effect wherever it finds expression.

    It is only as being entirely in Christ and entirely under Him that we shall have power to subjugate His enemies. Let us not begin to think that we can sway Christ's scepter over mighty spirit forces unless, in very truth, that same scepter is being swayed continually over our whole being.

    It is only they who are under authority that have authority. Our bodies, our souls, our spirits; our thoughts, our affections, our wills; our friendships, our ambitions, our motives – in fact, our very all must be thoroughly established under Christ's own reign of righteousness before our prayers can be executive prayers in the Name, the very edicts of Christ over all His foes. Let everyone take note of this lest there be a repetition of the tragic history of the sons of Sceva (Acts 19:16). We first take our place in heavenly company with Christ, and secondly in genuine subjection to Him.

Prayer in the Name Is Body-Embracing Prayer

    When we take our place in Christ we inevitably find ourselves in company also with all those other saints who are members of Christ's Body. More than that, we find ourselves in vital union with them. Our union with them is indeed as much an established fact as is our union with Him who is Head over us all!

    We have previously said that we only share the Name as being under the Headship of the Lord Jesus. It is equally true that we only share the Name as being in fellowship with all the saints. It follows, then, that we can only use that Name in prayer as we acknowledge and live in the light of our organic oneness with all the Lord's people.

    This is a very searching matter. We would all be very quick to agree that if we cut ourselves off from our Head, we render ourselves unable to pray in His Name, but here is another and an equally important matter. If in any way we cut ourselves off from any member of His Body, or from any number of members, we likewise render ourselves unable to pray in the Name! By isolating ourselves from any member or members in the Body, we are virtually forsaking the very ground of prayer in the Name: the ground of the one corporate Christ.

    When Christ spoke of the authority of those who gather and pray in His Name, He deliberately preceded what He had to say on that matter by detailed instructions as to the orderly procedure we are to adopt if we find our hearts divided against some other brother (see Matt. 18:15-20).

    The inference is clear. Only as such disorders are plainly recognized and duly rectified, as far as we are able, can we know the infinite power of gathering and praying in the Name, and only as such hindrances are removed can we exercise our derived authority in binding and loosing on earth things which shall be bound and loosed in heaven.

    Prayer in the Name is all-including and none-excluding. It presupposes a hearty recognition, in the joy of the Holy Ghost, of our inseparable oneness with all God's people, and it demands our practical consistency therewith in attitude and behavior.

    Prayer in the Name will be characterized by a spirit of acknowledged dependence not only on Christ Himself, but also upon our fellow members. The "free lance" attitude really has no place in such praying, the whole mentality of independence being replaced by what we may call "the corporate mind."

    It will also be marked by a spirit of true submission to the Lord's people (Eph. 5:21), and particularly will there be a right subjection to those who have been put over us in the Lord, and a humble recognition of the order of God's house (1 Cor. 16:16; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 5:5, etc.).

    Prayer in the Name, prayed as it is in recognition of our oneness with all our fellow members, will be non-sectarian and super-national. Above all and through all it will be essentially loving (see 1 John 2:5-6, 9 and 1 John 4:20).

Prayer in the Name Is Crucified Prayer

    By "crucified prayer" we mean prayer offered by crucified people. Whenever we take our place in Christ, be it for prayer of any other purpose, we thereby imply a deliberate and decided departure from the entire ground of Adam.

    To take our place in Christ is definitely to forsake our place in Adam. To assume our stand in the New Man is to renounce our stand in the old man.  To claim our Heavenly place is to disclaim our earthly place.  To put on the New Man (where Christ is All and in All) is to put off the old man with his deeds. (See Col. 3:9-11; Eph. 4:22-24).  All this we do when we set ourselves to pray in the Name!

    We need to see very clearly that to judge thus for Christ, is definitely to judge against Adam. By taking our place in Christ whether for prayer or for anything else we are concurring with God in a twofold way: first in His provision of the New Life and secondly in His rejection and judgment of the old life. We may say that our very moving into Christ represents a double proclamation on our part. We proclaim that God's provision of the New Man is a provision altogether acceptable, and then, that rejection and judgment of the old man is a rejection and judgment altogether just.

    By moving into Christ, we are declaring ourselves utterly one with God in His rejection and judgment of the old man. What is judgment? There is no doubt that the cross, and nothing less than the cross, represents the Divine attitude toward the old or natural man, for at Calvary the Lord Jesus died, not only as the Substitute for Adam, but also as his perfect representative.

    As we behold the cross we see that everything that pertains to Adam has been subjected to the righteous judgment of death. There is absolutely no escaping from that conclusion. "Death" sums up the Divine attitude to and verdict against the old or natural man, and that in all his parts and in all his ways, whether in our eyes they be "good" or "bad."

    That Divine attitude, then, becomes our attitude when we take sides with God and accept our place in Christ. God judges the old man in all his parts as utterly worthless and corrupt; we also judge him as worthless and corrupt. God's word is "Death"; our word is "Death." God's finger points to the cross; we take our place on the cross.

    Relating this to prayer in the Name, we could justly paraphrase Galatians 5:24 ("They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh") as follows: They who pray in the Name of Christ have crucified the flesh. Prayer in the Name is definitely crucified prayer; is prayer prayed by crucified people, that is by men and women who have consented to the total and experimental crucifixion of all that has been derived from Adam, that is, the flesh, and who have genuinely offered themselves to God for a deep implanting of the cross within them.

    The word "flesh" includes all the so-called "good" and all the bad which makes up "us" as we are in Adam. When we pray in the Name of Christ we take the ground that all the "flesh" is justly crucified. We acknowledge that all that so-called "good" and all that "bad" which we have by nature, has all been put to death in Christ when at the cross He took the place of Adam.

    It has been fully judged by God, and that judgment, we declare, is a holy and righteous judgment, and one in which we heartily concur. For prayer in the Name we leave the ground of Adam absolutely in grateful sympathy with the utter judgment of the cross against ourselves. We consent to God's refusal of all we have and all we are, and of all our prized but natural resources, and we take our place instead in Christ, as a new creation in Him our Blessed Lord, and as the subject sharers of His mighty Name.

    It is certainly a fact that those who pray in Christ will have no confidence in the flesh. Paul writing to the Philippians, says he rejoices in Christ Jesus and has no confidence in the flesh. Defining the word "flesh" as he used it in that connection, he refers to his national standing, his social standing, and his religious standing, and also makes mention of his natural wisdom, natural zeal, and natural righteousness (see Phil. 3:4-6). All these things, he insists, belong to the "flesh" and in all these therefore he has no confidence.  He is "in Christ Jesus" and in that blessed place his heart rejoices, and there his flesh is crucified.

    It is only as we heartily accept the utter and final judgment of the cross against all that we have and are in Adam, that we can consistently take our place in Christ and expect the power and blessing of praying in His Name.

    The man who takes his place in Christ, heartily accepting the total crucifixion of all he has and is in Adam, is shut up to a costly way of perpetual dependence on Divine initiative. He faces everything in a condition of total and conscious helplessness in himself, and knows that any move as from himself will only bring into disastrous expression that which God has cursed.

    In every situation and at every point it must be the Lord who works. Every expression must be something from Heaven, something "new" not "old." It must be Christ and not himself. That is the way of the cross, that is the path for those who would really live and serve "in Christ," and it is that to which we shall be brought if we really set ourselves to pray in the Name.

Prayer in the Name Is Spirit-Filled Prayer

    Our Lord clearly indicated in His message to His disciples that a new era, and one which would vitally affect their praying, was about to begin (see John 14–16). There were three main emphases in His discourse on that occasion. The first related to His own imminent departure from them and His ascension to the Father. The second had to do with that great event which would follow, namely, the descent of the Holy Ghost. This third emphasis was on that wonderful union between Himself in Heaven and His believing subjects on the earth which would be established and made actual by that coming of the Holy Ghost.

    The Holy Ghost would be the very bond of that all surpassing union. He would be the very life that, having filled the Head, would then be flooded down on the members, forming all together into one great Organism of overcoming life. The Christ who hitherto had but been "with" them, would then be "in" them, and they would be in Him. All, together, would be one "Christ" (1 Cor. 12:12).

    That was the essential nature of the new era which was about to be ushered in, and it was that which would make possible to the disciples a new kind of praying which hitherto they had not known. "In that day ye shall ask in My Name" (John 16:26). "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name; ask and ye shall receive" (John 16:24).

    Prior to Pentecost the Name could not be shared with the disciples for the Organism had not yet been formed. The new Headship had yet to be established and the life in the sense that we have in mind, had yet to be imparted. The Church which is His Body had yet to have its birth, as far as men's experience was concerned. The saints had yet to be made the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

    It was the advent of the Holy Ghost that would bring all that to pass, His triumphant coming from on high, and His deep infilling and rich anointing of every member. It was that which would bring to men the actual experience of being IN Christ, and give to them the right to share His Name and use that Name in prayer.

    Praying in Christ and praying in His Name only become a living experience to us as we are filled and flooded with the Holy Ghost. Such praying is the very breathing of an indwelling and infilling life, the actual striving within us of the Spirit of Intercession.  (See Rom. 8:26-27.)

    The Name is only imparted with the very throbbing of a new indwelling life, the risen life of Christ, communicated into our mortal bodies in the person of the blessed Holy Ghost. Only those who are filled with the Holy Ghost really pray in the Name.

    It is instructive to observe that when writing to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul first taught them the truth of their incorporation into Christ, and then followed that teaching with the definite command, "Be not drunk with wine…but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). He knew that it was by that filling that they would actually experience the infinite values of that wonderful incorporation.

    The apostle states that one of the results that will follow the filling which he urges, is that they will be able to give thanks always for all things and do so "in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).

    "Praying in the Name," then, must never be separated from "praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 20, see also Rom. 8:26 and Eph. 6:18). A vital filling is essential to a vital using of Christ's Name. For prayer in the Name, then, as for much else, the essential word is: "Be filled with the Spirit."

Prayer in the Name Is Consistent Prayer

    God in His precious Word, teaches us not only to pray in the Name, but also to DO ALL in the Name. Paul's word to the Colossians is very clear. "Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Col. 3:17).

    Everything we do, then, must be done with the recognition that we are one with Christ, the members of His Body, and the sharers of His Name. We must act, and think, and speak as those who are the extensions of God's Son, the fullness of Him who filleth all in all.

    It is foolish for us to pretend that we are taking our place in Christ for the ministry of prayer if we do not do the same for all the ministries of our everyday life, our duties in the home, the kitchen, the office or anywhere else. We must do ALL in the Name. Union with Christ must be the basic secret of all our living as well as all our praying.

    All our behavior in all matters and at all times must be such as becomes those who are the members of Christ. In all things we must be one with Him. In all things we must practice His headship; in all things we must reign in life; in all things we must embrace all saints; in all things we must be crucified and in all things we must be filled with the Spirit of our God.

    Let us be quite sure of it that only those will effectively pray in the Name who moment by moment take grace from the Lord to do ALL that they do in that same dear Name, worshipfully recognizing their heavenly oneness with Christ their Head and with all their fellow members.

    There is truly not one of us who can even begin to regard himself as qualified to pray in the Name. Here we have the dearest message of our study, and we believe it will leave us with deep adoring worship in our hearts. The glorious fact is this: Christ Himself is our perfect and absolute attainment in all the various matters we have mentioned.

    After everything is said and done the Spirit of God brings us back to the matter of our abiding in Christ. "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). Only in Christ Himself can we ever find our fitness for anything God asks of us. The essence of spirituality is running into Christ for all that God requires. More and more shall we find that out as we go on with the Lord.

    We read in Corinthians that "Christ is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). Colossians tells us that we are "complete in Him" (Col. 2:10). Hebrews declares to us that "by one offering He [Christ] hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). We repeat, then, that Christ and Christ alone is our perfect fitness in all things.

    As He is our Head, so is He our true subjection to righteous headship. As He is our King, so is He our ability to reign. As He loves and cherishes all His members, so is He our enablement to do the same. As He is the crucified One, so is He our crucifixion.

    As He is the Man full of the Holy Ghost, so is He our fullness also. As He is the One who does always those things that please the Father, so is He our perfect holiness in all the details and duties of our daily lives.

    For all these matters we have simply to abide in Him. That is our basic need. As we take or place in Christ by faith, He takes His place in us by the Holy Ghost. We may say that the degree of our abiding will be the degree to which the various qualifications we have mentioned will be found in us, and thus the degree to which our praying will be really in His Name.

    Praying in the Name is not something for which we ourselves can, in ourselves, become qualified. It is something for which we take all our qualification from and in the Lord Himself.

    Nor is it something which we can ever feel we have attained. It is something in which we grow, even as we grow in our abiding and our resultant spirituality. In all these matters we develop through daily obedience to God's precious Word, and through deepening communion with Him, our Blessed Lord.

    – Abridged from Prayer In The Name by G. R. Golsworthy.