It’s a simple close to our prayers, and one that’s almost always overlooked or uttered without much though. Maybe I’m being a bit over-analytical, but can I encourage you to pause before spitting this word out as though it has no meaning? It’s my belief we should always stop and reflect before giving an “Amen”. Why? Glad you asked…
That one word of closing that means we agree with all that has just been spoken in prayer up to that point: all the thoughts, confessions, requests and pleas. The official definition of the word is “so be it”. It means our words are sincere and that we are confident they line up with God’s written Word with no conflict (or we couldn’t say “so be it”, could we?) Before we stamp this final seal of approval, we must pause for a moment and ask ourselves, “Was everything I just spoke truly in alignment with my Lord’s will? Have I completely emptied myself of my own will and made every effort to adopt His will as my own, reflecting what I see in Scripture?” If it this wasn’t done, repent of those things now before you close out your prayer and go back to daily life! We must be confident that our prayers reflect His will as best we know it.
Many people often also close their prayer with the expanded phrase, “In Jesus’ name”. This phrase, like the word “Amen” is often spoken out of habit with very little thought given to what it means. Christians are to be acting as the Master’s agents or managers here on Earth, and when we use this phrase we claim that our prayers have the approval, backing and authority of the one whose name we claim. Does every prayer you close using this phrase truly line up with the business and desires of Christ? Here is some food for thought; let’s take a look at Isaiah 6:1-5
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
In the New Testament, we learn that the one Isaiah saw sitting on the throne was actually Jesus Christ. Why am bringing this up? I will answer that question with a challenge: when you close a prayer “in Jesus’ name” could you do so standing in front of the throne described here? Could you feel the ground shake from His power, see the fearsome creatures proclaiming His Holiness and place your prayer before Him in all confidence that it is in alignment with God’s will and purpose? Even imagining ourselves before that throne is a frightening thought! But every time we kneel in prayer that is where we go, even if our outward senses are unaware.
Please understand – as mortal, sinful people we will not always know for certain whether or not every request in our prayer is in perfect alignment with our Lord’s will. But this shouldn’t keep us from praying! Nor should it make us pray nervously or in fear. However, we do need to seek His will out as best we can and strive to pray and live in alignment with it. How to do this is explained in the book of John chapter 15. Verse 7 in particular explains the confidence we can have in prayer if we are abiding in Christ, that is, truly redeemed and striving to follow His commandments and going about His business instead of our own. I encourage you to take the time to read through this chapter. If we abide in Him, and His Word abides in us (only possible if we regularly study & meditate on it) we can “ask whatever we wish and it will be done” because we will be wishing for the same things as our Master.
We must make every effort to align our prayers with the Lord’s desires and written Word. Using the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6 is one good way to get a feel for this. If we consider each line individually and hang our own thoughts and prayers on the ideas and priorities we see presented in this model prayer, we will have taken huge strides in learning how to pray with confidence that our desires are aligned with His. Simply put, in life and in prayer He is the Master and we are His subjects that are to be carrying out His business on Earth. Our life and prayers should reflect this.
So, do your prayers fall into alignment with God’s ways and priorities? Think back to the last prayer you lifted up; could you pray it again standing in front of the Lord who is “seated on His throne, high and lifted up with the train of His robe filling the temple”? Your “amen” seals your prayer and states that you have indeed considered these things. Was it truly “in Jesus name?
Something to think about before saying “amen”, isn’t it?
 John 12:41
 Hebrews 4:16, Revelation 8:4