The school nurse had just completed her health talk to the second graders. A few minutes remained for a brief review. “Tell me, Johnny,” she said to an attentive seven-year-old, “What is the first thing we do when we catch a cold?”
Johnny rose to his feet and replied confidently, “We pray to Jesus!” Not trying to be the teacher, Johnny was stating an important Biblical truth. Yes, we do pray to Jesus, or we use His Name in prayer. Why is that?
Shortly before His death, Jesus prepared His followers for the time when He would return to heaven. They would see Him no more on earth. In this context Jesus told them: “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.” (John 16:23) In those future days Jesus would not be right there to help them. They would seek His help in a new way, namely, by asking the Father–but in Jesus’ name. To ask the Father in Jesus’ name was as good as asking Jesus in person. Their requests would be heard and answered.
You see, the only reason we can go to the Father in prayer is because of Jesus’ work in our behalf. His death and subsequent rising from the dead opened the way to the Father by removing the roadblock of sin. Without this forgiveness earned by Jesus, the Father would have to tell us: “Get out of My sight, you wretched, miserable sinner!”
Therefore faith in Christ is basic to prayer. Only when we trust in the merits of Christ as Savior, will our prayers touch the heart of the Father. Only by believing in Jesus do we stand in a right relationship with God. Closing a prayer in Jesus’ name is not just uttering some pious words. Rather it recognizes that only through Jesus are we–and our prayers–acceptable.
With faith grounded in the Savior, pray confidently. God will hear–and answer!