Exodus 20:7 — “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
The third commandment handed down at Mount Sinai — Do not misuse (or take in vain) the name of the Lord your God. As Daniel encouraged us to pray in Jesus’ Name, how do we keep from “misusing the name of the Lord?”
I remember Francis Chan saying one time that he had learned a prayer in Chinese that his family would say before every meal. It was kind of a sing-song prayer, much like the prayers we teach our children before bedtime (Now I lay me down to sleep…). He said that even as an adult and being away from home for years he found it very hard to not pray that same prayer because it had become so much a habit that he often could do it “without thinking.”
The danger of ending all our prayers with “in Jesus’ Name, amen,” is that it becomes a thoughtless tag line done out of ritual and tradition rather than out of conviction and faith. If you go back through the devotionals you will see that none of my prayers ended with this tagline…that was very much deliberate. It was to show you the same thing we find in the New Testament — none of the New Testament writers’ prayers ended with “in Jesus’ Name, amen.” Paul’s great prayer for the Ephesians (3:14-21) does not carry this tagline. Paul’s prayer in his letter to Jude (1:24-25) does not contain this line. Even when Jesus teaches the disciples to pray (the Lord’s prayer: Matthew 6:9-13) he does not conclude with “in My Name, amen!.”
Am I saying not to end your prayers this way, or that if you have you are wrong…absolutely not! I have ended many of my prayers this way and will most likely continue to. I simply present a loving but firm warning: a danger exists any time we turn something spiritual into a mindless, mechanical activity, we are in danger of misusing the Name of Jesus, our Lord. I am not wagging my finger, I am humbly asking you my brothers and sisters, to simply think about why and when you are using this precious phrase, “in Jesus’ Name, amen.” Because the second half of that verse should bring us a sobering reality: “the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
Father God, I thank You for giving us Your Name. I thank You that Your Name is powerful. I thank You that Your Name is awesome. I thank You that we can call upon Your Name and be saved. Please forgive us when we have misused Your Name. Please forgive us when we have mindlessly uttered prayers without believing that You are God and that You will answer. Today we commit to You that we will pray prayers that are in alignment with Your Word. We will trust the promises that You have given us. Today, in the Name of Jesus, we ask that You would help us to keep these commitments. Today, we say that we believe in You, but in the Name of Jesus, please help our unbelief. We love You Lord, and we give You thanks and praise for all Your many blessings. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” And all God’s people said: Amen.