Confessing the name Jesus makes all the difference in the world
I was recently sent an e-mail of a prayer that was written by a popular televangelist. The forwarded prayer was lauded as a wonderful prayer, but I had a problem with it. When I was asked by another Christian what problem I had with the prayer, my response was that it omitted the name Jesus.
According to the Bible, only the prayers we pray in the name of Jesus reach God the Father. In response to my comment, the question was asked: What difference does it make whether or not Jesus' name is mentioned in prayers, since Jesus and God are One anyway?
The brief discussion prompted me to go ahead and write about prayer in this week's column. Brethren, it is true that Jesus and God, the Father, are One (John 10:30).
But, "God" is an ambiguous term. Here's what I mean: Muslims serve (a) "god"; Christians serve (THEE) "God". Money is a "god," spouses and children can be "gods"; in some religious circles, a cow is "god". I lower-case it because I know that as a Christian I have the true and living God.
Therefore, I don't acknowledge their "gods". However, they think they have the right god. So therefore, they will capitalize the name of their god, and call that god "God" (upper-cased).
Now, God can be the Muslim's "Allah"; God can be the Buddhist's "Buddah"; God can be the greek "god" (or "God") "Zeus" and so on and so forth. So, therefore, when a Christian says in prayer "God" (or closes it out with "in God's name" or "in Your name"), that Christian is doing that and leaving the name (or word) "God" ambiguous, which keeps from offending people from other religions or those who have no religion.
That Christian is "playin' it safe" by omitting the name Jesus to avoid offending other people. If that Christian's prayer closes with "in the name of Jesus," there will be friction. But if it closes with, "in Your name we pray" or "in God's name", then there's no friction. All religious backgrounds can embrace that, or the name "God." That's only because that term, again, is ambiguous, and can mean anything.
Besides, to go back to what what was touched upon: Jesus and the Father (God) are One. Therefore, to omit the name Jesus is the same thing as denying the Father God. Jesus said, Himself, that if anyone denies Him before man, He will deny that person (or those people) before His Father in heaven (Matthew 10:33). He also says that whoever has NOT the Son (Jesus), neither does that person have The Father, God (1st John 2:22-23).
In fact, the Bible (that we Christians follow) says that he who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist (1st John 2:22). Read the scriptures for yourself. The Lord is saying that if you deny Jesus, you've denied God the Father. To put it another way, you can't have the Father God without having God the Son or God the Holy Ghost. Period.
So, if you omit Jesus' name from prayer, then your prayers aren't goin' any higher than your nose. You're just wasting your breath..
I think the thing that crosses up a lot of Christians is we --- as a body of believers --- can flow with the truth that no prayers go up to God, except in the name of Jesus, UNTIL we come across a prayer written by (or spoken by) a popular preacher we have high regard for.
So, we think: If the Rev. So-and-So leaves out the name of Jesus in prayer, then it MUST be okay; God MUST hear that prayer. It MUST be okay.
But remember, the Rev. So-and-So, as great a man as many believe him to be, is still a man, clad in flesh and blood and prone to err in his ways. Not just that particular preacher, but Donald Lee and anybody else walking around here dressed in flesh and blood. Which is why God --- the true and living God --- gives us His Holy Spirit.
So, when our flesh wants to deny Christ before people (like omitting His name in prayer), His Spirit within us makes us bold enough to say, "in the name of Jesus" (in prayer), regardless of what ANYBODY thinks.
I said all of that to say: Yes, God the Father and Jesus are One. But that's no excuse to leave out the name of Jesus in prayer. Though the Two ARE One, both still are two different Persons making up the Godhead. The Trinity is (1 Person) God the Father; (1 Person) God the Son and (1 person) God the Holy Ghost. Three Persons making up One God.
The only way to fully understand that is by faith (as the Holy Spirit within you, believer, gives you enlightenment). First Corinthians 2:13-14 (in the Amplified Bible) says, And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].
But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
To my brethren in the faith, go all out for Jesus Christ. If you're asked by anybody to say a prayer anywhere at anytime, be bold in the Lord and offer up that prayer, in Jesus' name. Never compromise your faith. When you compromise, you may be cut in with man, but you'll be cut out with the true and living God.
Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas and co-author of “Married to Commitment,” the hot, new book on relationships. You can hear his sermons “live” at 7:30 p.m. every Sunday and 7 p.m. Thursdays by calling toll-free (760) 466-8123 (code: 279498#). Lee may be reached at (225) 773-2248 or email@example.com, regarding prayer, counseling or to book him for speaking engagements.
To sow financial donations to Kingdom Living Christian Center, the address is P.O. Box 211186, Dallas, TX 75211. Follow Lee on Twitter at donaldj_lee@. To order “Married to Commitment,” which ministers to married couples, singles and divorcees, call Xulon Press Christian self-publishing company toll-free at (866) 909-2665 or order online at http://www.xulonpress.com.