Should I Pray In Jesus' Name When Asked to Pray In Public?
Should I pray in Jesus' name when asked to pray in public?
It doesn't take much thought anymore to answer that request. I've settled it in my mind: I'm not going to pray any other way than in Jesus' name when I pray in public (or in private, for that matter).
Ever since 9/11, where the issue of Islam has been put on the table, I've become increasingly Christological in my thinking privately and in public. I want to make sure that everybody knows that a Christian is not a person who simply believes in God, like in Islam or Judaism. I want to make crystal clear that a Christian is a person who believes in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Therefore, I'm going to say out loud, "In Jesus' name."
I want to make sure that those who ask me to pray know this, so that I don't step on toes that they don't want me to step on. If they don't want me to pray that way, then I'm happy not to pray. They can get somebody else to pray another way.
So that's one reason to pray in Jesus' name: it's a public statement that I'm a Christian, which is different from a person who simply believes in God.
A second reason is that we don't get any answers to prayer any other way than by depending on Jesus.
Nobody gets an answer to prayer by asking God for it without depending on Jesus Christ. Christ is the One who, by his blood and righteousness, has purchased for sinners every blessing in the heavenly places. Therefore every prayer I pray is "In Jesus' name," meaning "based on Jesus' death and righteousness as the One who purchased every blessing that I will ever obtain."