II. PRAYING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD
Having understood the meaning of being in the name of the Lord, it becomes clear that to pray in the name of the Lord means that you, the praying one, are in union with the Lord. When you pray in the name of the Lord, the Lord prays together with you.
Brothers and sisters, when we have prayed, many times we were unable to say that we prayed in the name of the Lord, for we know that it was just our prayer; the Lord would not have prayed that way. So, at the end we should have said, “O God, we are praying in our own name,” for, in practice, it is we ourselves, not the Lord praying in us. In order to be in the reality of praying in the Lord’s name we need to be praying in the Lord. And when we pray thus, the Lord also prays in us.
Here we can see that the prayers in the name of the Lord in John chapters fourteen and sixteen are tremendous prayers. The Lord even says that the works which He does we will do also, and that we will do greater works than these. He also says that He will do whatever we ask in His name. This is a great matter. If you read those words in their context, you can see that the Lord Who lived on this earth has now become the Spirit living in you, and He is living Himself out from you. In the course of this living, there are many things about which you need to pray. So, while you pray, He prays in you and you in Him. When you pray in such a union with Him and He with you, you are praying in His name.
I believe, brothers and sisters, you have all had the following experience. In your early experience of praying you were able to pray for many things. But when you began to pray in the name of the Lord, immediately your prayers were reduced. When you really learn to allow the Lord to be in union with you and pray together with you, out of ten items, you may be able to pray for only three of them. You know that if you pray for the other seven things, the Lord is not praying. You are asking, but the Lord is not asking.
I have often heard children pray. At the end of their prayers they also said, “in the name of the Lord.” But later on, when they really know what it means to pray in the name of the Lord, they will not be able to pray as freely as before. Neither will they be able to say “in the name of the Lord” with such ease. So, brothers, you need to be clear that to pray in the name of the Lord is not a mere formality or an empty phrase. Rather, it is that when a person lives in the Lord and is practically united with the Lord, his prayer is the Lord praying in him. In such a union many prayers become purified.
III. A LIVING OF PRAYER IN THE LORD’S NAME
Actually, John chapters fourteen through sixteen are not mainly concerned either with prayer or with life, but with a kind of united living. Here is a group of people that are chosen by God. God has separated them in order that they might be a testimony on earth, testifying that they and the Triune God have such a perfect union. This is their living. What the Lord Jesus repeatedly speaks of in those three chapters of the Bible is such a united living. A part of this living is prayer. Prayer in the name of the Lord not only needs such a living as its support and backing, but actually constitutes part of such a living. Therefore, we must know that praying in the Lord’s name is not merely a matter of prayer, but even more, a matter of living. When a person lives in the Lord, by the Lord, in union with the Lord, and is mingled with the Lord, spontaneously a part of his living is prayer.
Conversely, it is not possible to pray in the name of the Lord if you do not live by the Lord or in the Lord. It is an erroneous concept to believe that you can live apart from the Lord and make use of His name when you have something to ask of Him, simply because you know that your name is of no value before Him. This is just superstitious thinking. Prayer in the Lord’s name requires a living in union with the Lord to back it up. Prayer in the Lord’s name must be a part of a living in union with the Lord. Hence, the requirement for such prayer is very high. It is the same as putting a name at the end of an article to show that it is finished. What it means is that all your daily practical living is in union with the Lord. You learn to live before God by the risen Lord. You walk according to His Spirit and allow His Spirit to live in you. Such a living is the basis and support of your praying in the Lord’s name. Furthermore, such prayer actually constitutes a part of such a living.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 20, by Witness Lee)