I have puzzled before over the great emphasis on public prayer which is so evident in church politics. As I have noted, Jesus actually condemned all public prayer in his specific instructions on how to pray. Despite that fact, the church religiously focuses on their need to pray out loud at public gatherings, suggesting at the same time that this practice would result in God’s favor on us as a nation. How does operating contrary to Jesus become a Christian mantra? No one seems to care as long as the church supports it.
Another tradition which arises in connection with prayer is the traditional ending which so many attach to their public prayers- “in Jesus’ name” or “in the name of Jesus”. Jesus’ model prayer has no such words. Additionally, if all prayer is a matter between the individual and God, the exact wording of those prayers are a secret to outsiders.
I know that one verse in all the Bible serves as the basis for the traditional practice of stating that all public prayers must end by saying “in Jesus name”, but like so much of the Bible the exact meaning of “in Jesus name” is subjective. Turning three words into a requirement based on one obscure verse amounts to creating “magic words” which somehow open up the God/Man connection. If in the throes of pain and suffering I don’t invoke Jesus in my prayer, is God offended, indifferent, or rendered deaf?
Nowhere to my knowledge, do we see biblical examples of prayers ending “in Jesus’ name”. What we have here is just another example of how church tradition soon becomes a theological mandate in the minds of many with little or no regard for scriptural evidence and support. This is especially true if the tradition itself is a handy political tool, as prayer has certainly been.