Healing Line

Healing Line

The Name of Jesus

by Courtenay Bowser
Jul/Aug/Sep 2012

Not long ago, I was praying with my family for our dinner and closed my prayer with, “in the name of Jesus, Amen.” I didn’t think much of it — it’s what I always say at the end of prayer. Later, I was thinking about a time when I was praying for a dying woman in a Ugandan hospital. I remember telling her I was a Christian and asking if I could pray for her. I will never forget her response. She said, “Yes, the Christians, the Muslims, the Catholics, they all come and pray and nothing happens. So, pray if you want to pray.” I did pray for her, closing with the same, “in the name of Jesus, Amen.” When I left the hospital, the woman was still dying in her bed. I don’t believe we will ever fully understand why some are healed, delivered, restored, and others are not. However, I left that hospital challenged in my heart. I knew I would not soon forget that elderly woman’s words.

You see I believe in a God that works miracles in our lives. I believe in a God who brings freedom to our hearts and healing to our bodies. I see Him do amazing, supernatural things every day, but something had been provoked by the woman’s words in Uganda. I wanted to dig deeper, to understand more the difference in Christ’s prayers and mine.

In searching the scriptures, I ran across this story in the bible: “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon–possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor,” (Acts 19:13–17).

These men were invoking the name of the Lord Jesus without any true understanding, relationship or faith! They paid a price for this in the beating they received, but the response of the people was a greater understanding — they esteemed the name of the Lord Jesus even more. They realized that there is more to praying and getting results than just saying, “in the name of Jesus.”

How often as believers do we mindlessly finish our prayers with “in the name of Jesus?” We say it after every prayer whether we are blessing our food or pleading for the life of someone who is dying. What are we really saying? What does it really mean to pray in the name of Jesus? Has using the name of Jesus become a just a ritualistic act, a routine mention because it’s what we always do; or does the name of Jesus signify something far greater?

As I continued studying this, I found another story in which the name of Jesus is used quite differently. Peter and John were going into the temple to pray and healed a cripple man who had been begging at the gate called Beautiful. Peter also used the name of Jesus saying, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” (Acts 3:6, NIV).

People were astounded and amazed when they saw the man walking. They came running to see Peter and John. Then Peter said, “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our father, has glorified His servant Jesus. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see,” (Acts 3:12–13, 16, NIV).

Peter proves in this story that it is not just Jesus’ name, but also the faith that comes through Him! There is power in the name of Jesus Christ when we understand what it represents! It represents the greatest love story ever told — God’s love leading His Son to the cross to redeem mankind, but it doesn’t stop there. The name of Jesus represents the continued one–on–one relationship God wants to have with us. It represents the power that raised Christ from the dead working in us, through the Holy Spirit, to bring life to others. The name of Jesus represents every miracle we’ve ever seen God do, every answered prayer, every moment in His presence, every time He held us fast in our most difficult circumstance. It represents all that we have “tasted and seen” with Him! So, when we pray in His name, it ignites a faith inside of us that is attached to hundreds of years of the history of God’s faithfulness!

At the end of the book of John, Jesus says, “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:23–24, 26–27, NIV).

Jesus actually says in these scriptures that He is no longer going to ask the Father on our behalf — no, we will ask directly because the Father loves us the same way He loves Jesus. But, the name of Jesus is not a magic wand. Jesus was able to pray and speak to the Father with faith because he KNEW His Father. He spent intimate daily time in communion with His father.

There is no true faith outside of relationship. Our prayers and requests before God are just empty sentences if we don’t truly know Him! Requesting things of God “in the name of Jesus” without understanding who Christ truly is and what He represents is nothing more than waving a magic wand at our problems. God did not give us a magic wand through Christ’s death. He gave us an invitation to intimate relationship, the infilling of His Holy Spirit, and therefore the power to use His name and see lives and circumstances completely change.

Not long after studying all of this, I was taking a moment with my husband to say a quick prayer over our day. At the end, I said, “in the name of Jesus, Amen,” and reached to finish my cup of coffee. Immediately the Holy Spirit convicted me, “Think about what you are saying Courtenay!” I immediately stopped, and said it again, “in the name of JESUS, Amen.” This time however, when I said those few words, there was a faith attached to them that trusts in an almighty Father who is more than able to do what we’d asked. They were not empty, impotent words — they were full of belief in an omnipotent God!

What is it you are asking God for? What seemingly insurmountable circumstance are you facing? Does your body need healing? Does your heart need restoring? Do you need to find freedom from the things that hold you captive? Ask Him, by the power of the name of His precious son Jesus, and believe. Meditate on all the name of Jesus represents, and believe. Study the word of God, and believe!

Just recently I was in India at a burning ghat, where they burn the bodies of the dead. I will never forget what I felt in that place. I won’t forget the burning ghat because I’ve never felt such hopelessness — death after living a life devoid of joy, hope, or peace — death without ever having known the beauty of the name of Jesus. It continued to stoke my fire. I wanted to run through the streets, grab every person I saw and tell them about the name of Jesus.

We must have a bigger perspective. If used solely for ourselves, we will only experience a tiny glimpse of what the name of Jesus can accomplish in this world. We must live our lives looking outwardly! Pray — pray in faith and power. I challenge you — ask God how He wants to magnify the name of Jesus through your life today! Is there a neighbor who needs healing? Does that woman you always see at the grocery store need to know that Jesus loves her and can heal her heart? The man you always see at the bus stop, does he need to know that Christ delivers? Holy Spirit, open our eyes to the people around us every day who we can share God’s love with and pray for in the name of Jesus!

As I was walking into the grocery store the other day, I saw an elderly woman leaning out of her car, getting sick on the pavement. I walked into the store and immediately felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to find napkins and take them to her. I found a bunch at the grocery store coffee station, and hurried back outside to her. As I walked up to her, she said, “God bless you, thank you so much.” I could have said, “You’re welcome,” and stopped there. But, I happened to be writing this article and was meditating on the power of the name of Jesus. I asked her name and asked if I could pray for her; she quickly nodded yes. I prayed healing over her in the name of Jesus, and reassured that she was okay before heading back into the store. I felt such confidence as I left that something would happen in her life now. I understand the power of the name of Jesus and the word of God had been spoken over her. It does not return void!

When we understand the name of Jesus, we can walk as the disciples walked, moving in power and in love to reach those who don’t know His name. We can seek first His Kingdom and fulfill the Great Commission on the earth. We can pray for the lame, the blind, the sick, the hurting, the lost, the forgotten and the broken — in the name of Jesus — and see them healed, restored and delivered. There is power in the name of Jesus! Now, let’s use it as Christ intended, so that, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:10–11, NIV).

Courtenay Bowser Courtenay Bowser is an author and co–founder of Ignition Point Ministries. Jul/Aug/Sep 2012