Was Joseph able to keep his cool as he watched Pharaoh take off his royal signet ring and place it upon his own finger? Pharaoh then told Joseph, “I am Pharaoh.” Pharaoh did not relinquish his authority, but Joseph was granted the power to act in his name in handling agricultural affairs.
Centuries later, the Persian king Xerxes also took off his signet ring, giving it to Haman. With the authority of the king backing him, Haman had a letter drafted to be read throughout the Persian empire. Concerning those pronouncements we are told, “These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring.”/1 Haman was granted the privilege to send his own message throughout Persia using the authority of the king himself.
Rarely do we encounter someone giving another the power to act in his name. Amazingly, Jesus has given his disciples the privilege to approach the Father in prayer in his own name. As Jesus was preparing to leave his earthly ministry and the cross was just hours away, Jesus transformed prayer life for those who would follow him.
Previously Jesus had simply taught his followers to honor God and to present their requests to the Father./2 This explains why he told them, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask, and you shall receive.”/3 Jesus invites his followers to go beyond merely addressing their requests to God, but to do so with the authority of his own name!/4
So why wouldn’t a disciple use this privilege of laying his or her petitions before the Father in Jesus’ name? Some might be ignorant of their right. Others might view closing their prayer in Jesus’ name as incorporating a ritualistic magic formula not worthy of an enlightened spiritual life. While it is possible to superstitiously transform just about anything into a magic formula, to consistently honor Jesus’ command to present our requests to the Father in his name need not be ritualistic. Rather, it can reveal a heart that is not presumptuous in coming before the Father based upon one’s own merit. After all, disciples are to offer up praise to God through Jesus and to confidently draw near to the Father because of his death on the cross./5
Just as Joseph or Haman were granted the right to speak in the king’s name, Jesus transformed prayer by giving his followers the privilege of addressing the heavenly Father in his name. As those not ashamed to wear the name of our Lord, let’s lay our requests at God’s throne in the name of Jesus.
1/ Esther 3:12
2/ Lord’s prayer
3/ John 16:24
4/ John 16:23
5/ Hebrews 10:19-23; 13:15