Welcome back to the fourth installment on 6 Keys to Effective Prayer. I’ve talked about the importance of understanding where our prayers go in our previous installment. In this blog post, I want to discuss the importance of knowing: Who we’re praying to? I believe there is a lot of confusion circling around this topic and hope to shed some light on it (or at least my perspective on the matter).
First a little background on me. I have been in “church” most (if not all) of my life. As you know my Dad was a pastor. In church I’ve heard over and over again prayers opened with “Father in the Name of Jesus.” What about you? Have you heard prayers opened like this? Ever question why we’re taught to pray this way? I have. In fact, I can point to the Lord’s Prayer as the foundation for prayers opened like this. Now, before I get started, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to come across as though I’m saying what the Lord taught isn’t right. I’m simply attempting to look at what He taught in light of the relationship we have with Him today as opposed to when He was physically on earth at His first advent. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean.
Jesus was teaching on the subject of prayer. Here’s what He taught found in Matthew 6:5 – 8:
"When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth that is all the reward they will ever get.
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard.
Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!”
Okay, let’s not miss this opportunity to glean clearer insight. There are two HUGE takeaways here. First, don’t be like everyone else. The second nugget the Lord revealed to us is: Your petition or supplication is acknowledged BEFORE you VERBALIZE it. This is very profound. Sometimes we think God doesn’t know what’s going on with us like we have to update Him or something. Jesus revealed that He sees everything. EVERYTHING!? Yup! EVERYTHING!!! This is very reassuring especially when it comes to prayer. This should give us confidence that since He sees, and hears we know He will do.
Now, with Jesus specifying to His audience the disposition of prayer, naturally His followers would ask further questions or even ask how to pray. Here’s what He went on to teach them as recorded in Luke 11:1, 2:
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
And He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come.
My apology for not citing the whole Lord’s Prayer here, but I wanted to highlight my point. Notice Jesus began His prayer with acknowledging the “Father.” What was the reason for this? Thinking it through logically and Scripturally Jesus was on earth sharing how to pray with His followers who were also on earth. Obviously, they were addressing the God of Heaven. It would’ve been logical for them to open their prayers (petition or supplication) with the proper salutation. After all, prayer is directed to the Supreme Authority over all.
With the above thought firmly established, I’d like to pose this question: “Do we need to pray “Father in the Name of Jesus” when we address Heaven today? With controversy I’m challenging the notion, but what does Scripture disclose? Jesus made the following statements concerning praying to the Father and the use of His Name that I think gets misconstrued. Here are a few Scriptures for us to ponder:
"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." – Matthew 21:22
"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full."In that day you will not question Me about anything Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My Name, He will give it to you.” – John 16:23, 24
"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My Name He may give to you.” – John 15:16
"If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.” – John 14:14
Do you see what I’m saying? It seems Jesus is saying two separate things. On the one hand He’s saying ask the Father in My Name and on the other He’s saying anything you ask Me in My Name I will do it. So, the question is: Who do we direct our prayers to? Do we pray to the Father or do we present our petition to the Lord Himself? Consider the following Scripture with me:
In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, He has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father Who sent Him. – John 5:23
If I’m reading this correctly, Jesus is saying the Father has given the Son the same authority He has, but has taken it even farther. He’s given ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY to the Son. This is something to think about. If the Father judges nothing and has given the Son absolute authority, this means He’s officially out of the loop when it comes to prayer. Of course I’m looking at it logically. If the government has absolute authority your business, they have full authority over your business.
This is not to say the Father has no stake in anything. He was instrumental in commissioning the Son’s advent to begin with. Also He has elevated the Son to the position of Head of the Family. Jesus is the First Born of us all and is the High Priest that’s seated on the right hand of the Majesty on High. Here’s a description of His position found in Philippians 2:5 – 11:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What a very powerful revelation that shows the handover of power from the Father to the Son due to the Son carrying out the Plan of God. Because He was obedient to Divine Law, surrender His life as a ransom, He was given back His life and elevated to the Highest position in existence. He is now the King of kings and the Lord of lords. At His Name every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. In order to be legally correct in prayer, our petition should be presented to Jesus the High Priest of confession according to the following written in Hebrews 3:1 - 3:
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Who was faithful to Him Who appointed Him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.
For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.
Let’s put it all together:
The key to effective prayer is acknowledging the reality that our Lord and Savior is the One we present our petitions and supplications to. He is the only One with absolute authority and given a Name that is above every name! I sincerely hope you know Him if you reading this post. If you do not please get to know the King of kings…you won’t be disappointed. Until next post…God willing be blessed.
In this blog post, I want to discuss the importance of knowing: Who we’re praying to? I believe there is a lot of confusion circling around this topic and hope to shed some light on it (or at least my perspective on the matter). Join me.