You can see why the phrase “in Christ’s name” isn’t just some impersonal formula. Rather, it’s a literal position we have with Jesus. That position is recognized by the Father. Jesus tells us, “In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:26-27, NKJV).
Here is why Jesus commands us to pray in his name. He’s saying, “Whenever you ask in my name, your request has the same power and effect with the Father as if it were me asking him.” Likewise, when we lay hands on the sick and pray, God sees us as if Jesus is laying hands on the sick to bring healing.
This is also why we’re to come boldly to the throne of grace: to receive. We are to pray with confidence, “Father, I stand before you, chosen in Christ to go forth and bear fruit. Now I make my request that my joy may be full.”
I hear many Christians say, “I asked in Jesus’ name, but my prayers weren’t answered.” These believers state, “I tried to claim the power in Jesus’ name, but it just didn’t work for me.” There are many reasons why we don’t receive answers to our prayers. We may have allowed some sin in our lives, something that defiles our union with Christ. These become roadblocks that dam up the flow of blessing from him. He won’t answer our prayers until we’ve forsaken our sin.
Perhaps the blockage is due to lukewarmness or halfheartedness toward the things of God. Perhaps we’re being stifled by doubt, which cuts us off from the power in Christ. James warns, “Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6–7).
God knows our hearts, and he knows when we’re undecided in our commitment to his Son. He reserves the power that’s in Christ for those who surrender to him wholly.