In view of Jesus’ return to heaven, here is what Jesus taught His disciples (and us!) about prayer, “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24). It is clear from the words of our Savior that we should “pray to the Father in Jesus name.” He had already touched on this subject in John 15:16 when He said, “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” We come to our God and Father as His dear children and He delights to bend His ear to “hear our prayers” and to “answer our prayers.”

Why did Jesus teach us to pray “in My name?” What do those words really mean? I believe this teaches us that the Father, who loves His only-begotten Son, will grant us our requests “for Jesus’ sake.” This means that when we “pray in Jesus name” we are praying “as Jesus would pray,” which will be according to the Father’s will and for His glory. Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane is a perfect illustration of this, for He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, But AS YOU WILL.”  So, in using those three words we are not using a “magical formula” to get whatever we want; we are praying a heartfelt prayer that is according to the will of God, one that will bring honor and glory to Him and not to ourselves. This is the kind of prayer that Jesus would pray and this is the kind of prayer we must pray if it is to truly be “in Jesus’ name.” That prayer WILL BE HEARD and it WILL BE ANSWERED! “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1st John 5:14-15).

Now even though our prayers should be directed primarily to our heavenly Father, this does not mean we can’t pray to the Lord Jesus Himself. Listen to the prayer of the martyr Stephen as he was breathing his last breath, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit….Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:59-60). Surely his example teaches us that we have perfect liberty to address the Lord Jesus in prayer. In this prayer he was asking the Lord Jesus to “receive him” and to “forgive his persecutors,” so we know we can give Him our “petitions.”

When it comes to “giving praise and thanks,” we are taught that our prayers would especially be addressed TO GOD THE FATHER THROUGH THE LORD JESUS. We read in Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore by Him (the Lord Jesus) let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God (the Father).” But I also believe it would be fitting to PRAISE and THANK the Lord Jesus for all that He has done for us. When we are gathered together to “remember Him in His death in the Lord’s Supper” (see Luke 22:19-20), it would not be out of order to thank Him for willingly taking our place on the cross to bear God’s judgment for our sins. Of course, we should also be thanking the Father for “giving His only-begotten Son” (see John 3:16), but would we not also be prompted, at times, to thank our Savior for “giving Himself for us” (see Ephesians 5:25)? Jesus Himself said “that all should HONOR the Son just as they HONOR the Father” (John 5:23). The word “honor” means to “value, respect, esteem,” and it can also mean “worship.” So even though “the Father is seeking such to WORSHIP Him” (John 4:23), we are to give “equal honor” unto the Son and this would include “praising/worshiping Him.”  (447.1)  (DO)