In my years of walking with people and hearing about their journey with Jesus I have heard some incredible stories. Two in particular stand out. Kenton told the story of being abducted and attacked. He was being held by two men and a third was beating him with a tire iron and then stabbed him in the neck. He cried out "Jesus of Nazareth, save me!" The men released him and fled. Though bleeding profusely and he should have been knocked unconscious he was able to make it to a nearby home where help was called and he was saved.
Jennifer told me the story of when she was a younger woman being assaulted by a man in his car. She cried out to Jesus and suddenly the man was flung to the other side of the car. She was saved from the assault.
They are extraordinarily dramatic stories where the name of Jesus was called upon and his presence was undeniable. There are many others I have heard as well from the mission fields around the world of people in dire straits experiencing the presence and power of God, even if they were not yet followers of Jesus. It always leaves me amazed.
I try to remember to end my prayers with the name of Jesus. I don't think it is a magic formula that is a requirement for God to hear and act. I don't believe if someone forgets to pray, "...in the name of Jesus. Amen." that God will neglect the prayer. God is bigger than us getting our formulas right so we can manipulate the Almighty to get what we want in the way we want.
When we know someone's name, we begin to understand the essence of their being. Some parents don't choose their child's name until after they are born and they have a chance to experience who they are and what they are like so they can choose a name that reflects their personality. When it comes to God, his name is hugely important. When Moses asked God who should he say is sending him to the Egyptians, God revealed his name as YAHWEH. His name in essence means "I am who I am." There are numerous other names for God that show his actions, like Jehovah Jireh - the God who provides.
Here's an exercise for you the next time you pray. Pray in the name of God using the character quality of God you most need. If you are stressed out and overwhelmed, pray for that and then say this: "I pray this in the name of the God of Peace." If you are up against a challenge where you are being treated unfairly, end your prayer by saying, "I pray this in the name of the God of Justice." What do you need in your life? What is the character of God he has revealed to meet that need? That is God's name to pray.
When we pray in the name of the character of God, we invoke the whole essence of God. It is not a reminder to God of who he is, it is a reminder to us of who he is.
Peace and Grace,