The salutation is strangely out-of-place when it closes a form letter from someone I don’t know or with whom I don’t relate.
They are neither sincere nor mine!
It’s just a silly citation in a meaningless message.
But lately I’ve been challenged as I have rolled my eyes at such trite auto-signatures. Do I too often sign my prayers with words that have become just as rote and repetitious?
“In Jesus name, Amen”…
It rattles off the tongue at the end of prayers with the regularity of a breath.
But has overuse undermined the compelling substance of those words?
The name “Jesus” while common in both the ancient and modern worlds is anything but ordinary when applied to the Galilean Carpenter.
God Himself purposely chose that name for His son. “Call His name Jesus,” Gabriel had instructed Mary at the annunciation. It was a moniker filled with the import and impact characterizing every detail of Jesus’ life.
Once the Nazarene took on that name, it became unique–swelling with significance and pregnant with potential.
Now I know there are those who feel the ordinary, earthy nature of Jesus’ name makes it important. It emphasizes that He was one of us…came and lived among us with a real name like “Joe” or “Jane”. The humanity reflected in the normalcy of His name makes Him utterly relatable.
There are others who feel the extraordinary, eternal nature of Jesus’ name makes it powerful. It emphasizes the He was one with God…fully divine while living among us with a name so powerful it moved Heaven and shook Hell. The deity reflected in the supremacy of His name makes Him ultimately reliable.
But for me it is the synthesis of those two realities that makes His name precious and powerful.
His name was so common that you’d hear it on Mary’s lips when she called Him to the supper table or on Joseph’s when he called Him to the carpenter’s shop. Yet, this same name was so uncommon that the mere mention of it caused cruel diseases to run for the hills and crushing demons to run for their lives.
There really is “something about that Name.” History has been anchored to, transformed by and wrapped up in it. It is the Name above all names.
That Name has for over two millennia:
- Given comfort to the broken-hearted in moments of loss.
- Provided hope to the disenchanted in seasons of despair.
- Supplied joy to sorrowing souls in the crucible of pain.
- Inspired faith to sincere followers at points of doubt.
- Provoked change in the lives of waverers at crossroads of compromise.
- Released healing for pain-wracked bodies in the ravages of disease.
- Unleashed deliverance to the lives of slaves in the midst of bondage
And there is more.
Jesus Himself actually encouraged us to drop His name when we talked to His Father. It gives unprecedented access…opens unbelievable doors.
- In that name life moves from chaos to order, ashes to beauty, death to life.
- At that name all rulers in, powers above and authorities beyond this world bow.
- For that name men humbly live, freely sacrifice and willingly die.
- By that name healing flows, freedom blossoms and right wins.
- To that name allegiance is pledged, service is committed and love is spent.
When we pray in His name we are activating a love so profound and releasing a power so intense that it can change the course of our lives and the future of those for whom we are invoking that Name.
Far from a convenient sign-off to prayer, this phrase wraps up all the might in the orbit of God’s omnipotence and brings it to bear on the burdens unloaded from our hearts in those intercessions.
I want to pour new meaning into these oft-repeated words by refilling them with Jesus’ original intent.
- As I pray for my friends facing critical illness, I am invoking the Jesus who opened blind eyes, unstopped mute tongues, cleansed leprous skin and invalidated death certificates.
- As I intercede for those trapped in perennial failures, I am entreating the Jesus who ate with outlaws, loved outcasts, embraced prostitutes and discipled losers.
- As I petition for loved-ones struggling with dysfunctional families, I am inviting the Jesus who salvaged prodigals, restored brothers, defended mothers and inspired fathers.
- As I supplicate for people battling to find meaning in the mundane daily, I enjoin the Jesus who brought life to a carpenter’s shop, purpose to a fishing boat, value to a tax booth and integrity to a political agenda.
All of that and more is concentrated and unleashed when I close my simple but feeble prayers, “In Jesus name!”
He did not give us a formulaic model or magic wand with which to hope for a happy ending in our petitions. If we take these words lightly we are like children playing with TNT on a crowded playground.
When said with understanding, these words declare my petitions are laid before a strong and loving God
- In the influence, authority and immediacy of His deeply loved Son. “In Jesus’ name.”
- Therefore, it will be done. “Amen!”
Where His name is invoked, stuff changes.
That’s why I will always be a name-dropper.