I am still slowly making my way through Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology with my elders. Last night we talked about chapter 17, Miracles, and chapter 18, Prayer. There was one part in his chapter on prayer that really made me stop and think. I think it might change my focus when I pray. He asks and answers the question, "What is Praying in Jesus' Name?"
He says that praying in Jesus' name is so much more than a mere slogan that we put on the end of our prayers. He says that it is a prayer "made on his authorization." It has to do with praying according to his character and his will. Then he adds this:
"Does this mean that it is wrong to add 'in Jesus' name' to the end of our prayers? It is certainly not wrong, as long as we understand what is meant by it, and that it is not necessary to do so. There may be some danger, however, if we add this phrase to every public or private prayer we make, for very soon it will become to people simply a formula to which they attach very little meaning and say without thinking about it. It may even begin to be viewed, at least by younger believers, as a sort of magic formula that makes prayer more effective. To prevent such misunderstanding, it would probably be wise to decide not to use the formula frequently and to express the same thought in other words, or simply in the overall attitude and approach we take toward prayer." (380)
What I took from this is that it is not wrong or right to end prayers with the phrase, "In Jesus' name." But I think for me, it has become a way to end prayers. A thoughtless way to end prayers. A way to land the plane without really thinking about what I am saying. I suppose that I will often end my prayers like this, but I hope at least, my mind will be sharper and actually mean it more when I say it.
What do you think?