I was praying with my daughters yesterday and I said, as always, “In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
“Mommy,” she said. “Why do you say that at the end?”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to look that up.”
Coincidentally, two days ago, my study Bible asked me the same question, “What does it mean to pray “in Jesus’ name”? I just hadn’t had the time to look this up until now.
John 14:13-14 Jesus says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
We pray in Jesus’ name because he told us to. But in doing so, we are acknowledging that we can only pray to the Father because of the Son. Jesus is the path to God. As you know from the Old Testament, only certain people could pray to God. With Jesus’ death, the door was opened for all of us to have a personal, intimate relationship because of and through Jesus. Hence, we come in Jesus’ name when we pray.
Great lengthy explanation here with much more scripture quoted:
Shorter version here: http://www.gotquestions.org/pray-Jesus-name.html
End note: I wish I would have learned this in church. As I delve more and more into the Bible, I question more and more why I never learned such things. Why didn’t anyone ever explain something as essential as this? What is more important than praying? And the correct way to pray? Some say there is no correct way which I tend to agree with. But you have to understand your words when you pray and sometimes we just go through the motions with no cognizance and it irritates me. I want to know this stuff and I just think churches cater so much to so many different groups that the fundamentals are getting squeezed (at least in my church).
So much these days are out-sourced and self-education. If you want to know something, you have to find out the information. This is great in one sense. But how can you find the information if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be looking for?