Calling on the name of the Lord was practiced by the New Testament believers beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:21). While Stephen was being stoned to death, he was calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 7:59). The New Testament believers practiced calling on the Lord (Acts 9:14; 22:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:22). Saul of Tarsus received authority from the chief priests to bind all that called on the name of the Lord (Acts 9:14). This indicates that all the early saints were Jesus-callers. Their calling on the name of the Lord was a sign, a mark, that they were Christians. If we become those who call on the name of the Lord, our calling will mark us out as Christians.
Paul the apostle stressed the matter of calling when he wrote the book of Romans. He said, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him; for whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:12-13). Paul also spoke of calling on the Lord in 1 Corinthians when he wrote the words, "With all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, who is theirs and ours" (1 Cor. 1:2). Furthermore, in 2 Timothy he told Timothy to pursue spiritual things with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2:22). By all of these verses we can see that in the first century the Christians practiced calling on the name of the Lord very much. Therefore, throughout the Old Testament as well as in the early days of the Christian age, the saints called on the Lord’s name. How regrettable that it has been neglected by most Christians for so long a time. We believe that today the Lord wants to recover calling on His name and to have us practice it so that we may enjoy the riches of His life.
Why do we need to call on the name of the Lord? Men need to call on the name of the Lord in order to be saved (Rom. 10:13). The way of praying quietly does help people to be saved, but not so richly. The way of calling loudly helps people to be saved in a richer and more thorough way. Thus, we need to encourage people to open themselves and to call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Psalm 116 tells us that we may partake of the Lord’s salvation by calling on Him: "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord" (v. 13). In this one Psalm, calling on the Lord is mentioned four times (vv. 2, 4, 13, 17). As we have seen earlier, the way to draw water from the springs of salvation is to call upon the name of the Lord (Isa. 12:2-4). Many Christians have never called upon the Lord. If you have never called, even shouted before the Lord, it is doubtful that you have enjoyed the Lord in a rich way. "Call upon His name!...Cry out and give a ringing shout" (Isa. 12:4, 6). Try shouting before Him. If you have never shouted about what the Lord is to you, try it. The more you shout, "O Lord Jesus, You are so good to me!" the more you will be released from your self and filled with the Lord. Thousands of saints have been released and enriched through calling on the name of the Lord.
Another reason for calling on the Lord is to be rescued from distress (Psa. 18:6; 118:5), from trouble (Psa. 50:15; 86:7; 81:7), and from sorrow and pain (Psa. 116:3-4). People who have argued against calling on the Lord have found themselves calling on Him when they were subject to a certain trouble or illness. When our lives are free from trouble, we may argue against calling on the Lord. However, when trouble comes, no one will need to tell us to call on Him; we will call spontaneously.
Also, the way for us to participate in the Lord’s plenteous mercy is to call upon Him. The more we call upon Him, the more we enjoy His mercy (Psa. 86:5). Another reason for calling on the Lord is to receive the Spirit (Acts 2:17a, 21). The best and easiest way to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to call on the name of the Lord Jesus. The Spirit has already been poured out. We simply need to receive Him by calling on the Lord.
Isaiah 55:1 says, "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters, and you who have no money; come, buy and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." What is the way to eat and drink the Lord? Isaiah gives us the way in verse 6 of the same chapter: "Seek Jehovah while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near." Thus, the way to eat the spiritual food for our satisfaction is to seek the Lord and to call upon His name.
Romans 10:12 says that the Lord of all is rich to all who call upon Him. The way to enjoy the riches of the Lord is to call upon Him. The Lord is not only rich, but also near and available, because He is the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). As the Spirit, He is omnipresent. We may call on His name at any time and in any place. When we call on Him, He comes to us as the Spirit, and we enjoy His riches.
First Corinthians is a book on the enjoyment of Christ. In chapter twelve, Paul tells us how to enjoy Him. The way to enjoy the Lord is to call on His name (12:3; 1:2). Whenever we call "Lord Jesus," He comes as the Spirit, and we drink of Him (12:13), the life-giving Spirit. If I call a person’s name, and if he is real, living, and present, that person will come to me. The Lord Jesus is real, living, and present! He is always available. Whenever we call on Him, He comes. Do you want to enjoy the Lord’s presence with all His riches? The best way to experience His presence with all His riches is to call on His name. Call on Him while you are driving on the freeway or while you are at work. Anywhere and anytime you may call. The Lord is near and rich to you.
Also, by calling on the name of the Lord, we can stir ourselves up. Isaiah 64:7 says, "And there is no one who calls upon Your name, who stirs himself up to lay hold of You." When we feel that we are down or low, we can lift and stir ourselves up by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus.
(Calling on the Name of the Lord, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)