Dave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.
Why does it feel wrong when I don’t say “in Jesus name” at the end of my prayer? In thinking about that, I noticed something for the first time. I only say it in my public praying not in my private prayers. Why is that?
I know the theological reasons for adding the words to the end of a prayer. It is a way of acknowledging that it’s only through the authority of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross that we can approach God. In addition, it is a way of affirming that we believe that what we are praying is what Jesus would pray and is in line with the Father’s will.
If that’s true then why don’t I speak the words in my private praying as I do in public? Could it be that I’m “playing to the crowd” more than praying to the Father? After all, the crowd rather expects it to be there and maybe it’s just become an unneeded habit that’s hard to break!
Jesus did warn us in the Sermon on the Mount not to pray to the crowd to be rewarded or affirmed by them and to not multiply words thinking they will make God sit up and take notice.
Why such ponderings? Because they have caused me to think more deeply about the authenticity of my praying and I would like to challenge you along that line.
I’ve noticed something else about my prayers. Sometimes it seems like in the middle of praying I kind of shift into gear and really pray. I can’t explain it any better than that but it is something that I want more of. It’s a kind of prayer zone where I finally forget everything and everyone else except God and me.
I think it is something like what James tells us about Elijah in James 5:17. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly . . . .” The text actually says that he “prayed with prayer” or “prayed in his prayer.” In the middle of his prayer, he got down to praying. I experience that too rarely. Maybe that’s true of you also.
I call us all to a greater authenticity in prayer where it matters not who is present or listening, where the world fades away and we truly talk to God.