Having The Mind of Jesus
From time to time I have people ask me about what Jesus meant when he told his followers that if they asked for anything in his name, that they would receive it.
Did Jesus really mean that if you pray for something and then add the phrase, "In the name of Jesus," that he is mystically bound to honor that request?
There is, in fact, a significant cross-section of Christians who believe this is the case. In these Christian circles this belief is commonly known as "name it, and claim it." In other words, I will name my request, and then claim it will be granted---in the name of Jesus.
Invariably, Christians who hold to this belief have to perform some theological gymnastics when their requests don't get answered.
They tend fall back on the explanation that the reason their prayer wasn't answered was due to the fact that there must have been something wrong with them (they were sinful) or something wrong with the request itself (it wasn't God's will).
These kinds of beliefs twist the meaning and purpose of prayer. The purpose of prayer is to connect us with God's presence in order for us to be transformed.
That old adage "Prayer Changes Things" is true, but only to the extent that prayer changes us, and then the things we're praying about tend to change as a result.
When Jesus told his followers to pray in his name, he meant for them to pray in the way that Jesus himself would pray--to have his mind, his desire and his purposes. When we have the "same mind as the mind of Christ," as the Apostle Paul wrote, we more easily surrender the outcome of our prayers.
Richard Rohr describes it this way: "If you are able to switch minds to the mind of Christ, your prayer has already been answered!"
May you seek the mind of Jesus today in your prayers. May your will become aligned with his will as you pray, and may his will transform you and the way you see the world.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.