Friday Week 1

Today we will reflect on two short phrases related to Christian prayer. First, Christians pray “in Jesus’s name”, as Jesus instructed his disciples:

“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, 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.” (John 16:23-24)

To pray “in Jesus’s name” is to pray as someone who belongs to Jesus. It is:

  • To pray as someone who trusts in Jesus
  • To pray by Jesus’s merits, not by my own merits
  • To pray as a loved child of God through Jesus

The other phrase, which seems more mysterious, is praying “in the Spirit”:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph. 6:18a)

What does it mean to “pray in the Spirit”? In fact, it is exactly the same as praying in Jesus’s name! If you pray in the name of Jesus, you are praying in the Spirit. (Notice that for Paul, all of our prayers are “in the Spirit”.)

The reason is that the Spirit is the one who unites us to Jesus, who is God’s beloved eternal Son. The Father always listens to Jesus (John 11:42), and we have been given the Spirit of Jesus himself! Remember again what Paul says in Galatians 4:

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6)

To pray in the Spirit is simply to pray as a Christian, as a child of God in Christ. Next week, we will explore how to pray according to God’s will. But for now, take a moment to reflect on Jesus’s amazing promise above: “my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 16:23).

For your time of prayer today, bring to your Father any concerns that are important to you—not just for yourself, but also for your family or your brothers and sisters at church. Finish your prayer in this way:

“I don’t ask these things because I deserve an answer from you. I ask because, by your love, I belong to your precious Son Jesus. So I ask in his name.”

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