“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” (Jn 16:25-28)
“In that day you will ask in my name…” It has become popular to end prayers in the name of Jesus, as if it was some sort of magical incantation. I catch myself doing this at times. “In the name of Jesus!” I think people have gotten it into their heads that this is what it means to pray in Jesus name. To end a prayer this way, name it and claim it. And often we pray for things that Jesus would not, and use his name vainly in such pursuits. This is not what it means to pray in his name.
In that day you will ask in my name. Jesus doesn’t command his disciples to end their prayer with his name. He makes a declarative statement about what will happen. When they pray in that day they will pray in his name. They could have invoked his name at this point, but it wasn’t yet possible for them to pray in his name. Something had to happen first. Jesus had to dies and rise again that we could have faith in him and what he had done. The faith the Holy Spirit brings and gives to us through the word. Apart from this there is no communion with the name of Jesus and we are not in his name to pray, we may as well be invoking the name of the guy in the Big Lebowski movie.
But Jesus has died, and he has risen from the dead, and we have been given faith by the work of the Holy Spirit having been baptized into his name. Now we are in his name, now communion has been established between us and Jesus, and this communion is sustained and strengthened through continual hearing of his word and participation in his body and blood, the bread that we break, the cup that we bless. Now whenever we pray, we pray in his name. Whatever we ask for we ask in his name. Because we are in his name. It is his divine being that he shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit, this is his name in which we participate, that is given to us. And therefore the Holy Spirit grabs hold of our prayers and carries them to the Father, and interprets them before his face with the best construction in groaning’s we do not understand. Yes, now we pray in his name, because it has been by his name that we have been saved, and in no other name can we be saved. We pray in his name, the name that lived, died and rose again for our salvation, the name of God.