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I had a moment that changed the way I pray. In the circles that I grew up in, every prayer was ended in a magical phrase. Jesus had told his disciples in John 14 that whatever they asked for in his name would be given to them. So, every prayer was closed, “in Jesus name. Amen”. Even after coming to a more theological understanding of what the phrase meant as an adult, I still ended my prayers with the familiar sign off. It took explaining it to seven year old for the meaning to fully impact me.

As I searched for a way to help him understand, I thought of the perfect analogy.
“You know how when you tell Jak to let you in the bathroom, he doesn’t do it; however, when you tell him that mom said he has to let you in, he opens the door right up. That’s because you are telling him in my name, with my authority instead of your own.”

Suddenly, the magic phrase stuck in my throat.

Asher went away satisfied with the explanation. I went wondering about what prayers I could really end by saying, “in Jesus name”. Suddenly, the magic phrase stuck in my throat. Not that I stopped praying for things, but I couldn’t assume that all the things I was praying for were things authorized by heaven. I realized that some of the things I was sure I could pray in His name were not things that I prayed about often. I could pray for captives to be set free, for the hungry to be filled. I could pray for the widows, the orphans, the stranger. I could pray for Christians “to lift up holy hands without anger or disputing”.

Oddly enough, I pray with more confidence now. When I do pray “in Jesus name”, I feel a deep significance. There is no more, “I sure hope that this gets answered. I said the magic words.” I know that as his daughter, God listens to me when I come to him, and I feel certain that when I am praying for things that Jesus would, that God will answer me as he would answer Jesus.