Why is it common for Word of Faith teachers to repeat “in the name of Jesus” so frequently during prayer? Is it out of reverence for His name? Is it because they are under the impression that’s how we are commanded to pray? Or is there a presumption that the phrase amplifies the effectiveness of prayer? After all, if we can believe and conceive, and our words have power, why not throw a mantra into the potion?
Here is but one example of the “in the name of Jesus” incantation. Since Joyce Meyer speaks rapidly, I have included a transcript below the video:
Transcript: How many of you have some kind of pain or sickness in your body? See? Oh my gosh. Just imagine; no wonder the devil wants us to feel bad; imagine what we could do if we had full energy (crowd screams and cheers). Okay, Father, I pray in the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name. And I believe that we have authority to pray in that name. I bind Satan; we join our faith together and we bind the devil and every demon, principality and power and we especially bind demons of infirmity and sickness. And we cast them out…in the name of Jesus. We say they have no access to our lives. And if we’re giving them any, God, we’ve opened the door, then show us how we’ve opened that door and give us the common sense and the wisdom to close it. I pray for people who need mental healing, emotional healing, and physical healing, that you would heal us in every area of our life. So I speak over you today, the Word of God and I say, “Be healed” in the name of Jesus. Amen. Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen!
I won’t discuss the Word of Faith Movement’s teachings on healing* or spiritual warfare** in this blog post, as I want to stay on topic. However, since Meyer’s conference was named “Love Life”, it’s not surprising that there would be guidance on how to obtain carnal wants. This is not unexpected, as Joyce Meyer is merely feeding her followers what they desire to hear. If she held a conference titled “Whoever Loves Her Life Will Lose It” (John 12:25), the stadium would be empty.
Meyer used “the name of Jesus” four times during her one-minute prayer on the video clip. So, the $64 000 question is this: was she praying in Jesus’ name?
What’s In a Name?
To do something in someone’s name means we do it according to that person’s character, will, values, and with the person’s blessing and/or authority. As believers, we have access to God through Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).
Thy Will Be Done
Praying in Jesus’ name equals praying according to the will of God (1 John 5:14-15) and for things that will glorify and honor Him. When Jesus told His disciples that whatever they asked in His name would be granted to them, He was teaching that our prayers need to be consistent with what is His will.
Whose Name Is Being Prayed In?
Concerning Meyer’s sample prayer: Is it Jesus’ will and purpose to bind, cast out Satan, and to deny Satan access to our lives? Is it His will and purpose to heal us mentally, emotionally, physically and in every area of our lives? I’m unaware of any verse that supports these claims. Were the audience members healed? Did anyone wonder why no one was healed?
In these pagan circles, Jesus’ name is heralded as a magical incantation which orders God to grant requests without any regard for His will. Our God is our sovereign Lord; He does not kowtow to us; in fact, He abhors superstition and sorcery (Deuteronomy 18:10).
If they are not praying in the name of Jesus, then in whose name is the audience praying? Whose will are they asking to be done? It might be tempting to think these followers are praying in the name of Joyce Meyer, but they are praying in the name of the father of lies (John 8:22;1 John 5:19; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:26). “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). These worldly desires are what Meyer and the rest of the Word of Faith Movement pray and believe for. These fleshly desires represent the name, character, and values of Satan, who seeks and destroys (1 Peter 5:8).
Am I suggesting that anyone who ends prayers with “in the name of Jesus” is practicing superstition? No, not at all. I’m asking that we check our motives. Are we using “in the name of Jesus” to signal the end of the prayer? To remind us with gratitude of the Son who secured us direct access to our Father? And suppose we step out of this habit–if it is one, of course–and end our prayers with a sufficient “amen”, do our hearts skip a beat because we wonder whether God has heard our prayers, that the prayer has somehow lost power? Do we become confused and falter in the faith that was not secured in the name above all names (Philippians 2:9)? We should always examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
What a glorious, undeserved gift we have – access to our Creator, the Alpha and Omega. Let us pray for wisdom to know the will of God, and let’s focus on what pleases Him, on what will have eternal impact for His Kingdom, and on what will glorify His glorious name.
Soli Deo Gloria,