The Power of Praying in God's Name
Billy Graham has said, "Ninety-five percent of church members live defeated, unvictorious lives ... because they have never made Jesus Lord." George Sanchez wrote, "Ninety-five percent of the problems people have in their spiritual lives and for which they seek counseling are basically a result of a poor understanding of who Jesus Christ is - he is Lord." Well, let's try to get to some understanding of what "Lord" means.
Adonai, usually translated as "Lord" in English, generally has a capital L followed by ord in small letters. The name occurs nearly 300 times in the Old Testament. Two hundred, fifteen of those times it is used in its singular form, Adon, in reference to people, often a title of respect or honor. In much the same way we would say "sir" or "your honor." It could mean "master" or "lord."
When Adonai is used of God, it is always stated in the plural. This could suggest the triune nature of God, who reveals himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. However, it is possible that the plural Adonai is used to enhance, or underline and exalt, the awesome majesty of God. In either case, we find that this name Adonai compels God's people to recognize and submit to his Lordship in our lives. This is reflected in at least three ways.
First, the name Adonai recognizes Jesus' ownership of those who call him Lord. We struggle with the idea of ownership, especially with giving it up. We are educated and taught that value of ownership - own a home, own your car, own land, own possessions, own a cemetery plot. But, the truth is that we are stewards while God is the rightful owner of everything and everyone. As Lord he requires worship and obedience from every member of the human family.
God asks a question recorded in Malachi 1:6, that we need to ask ourselves. "'A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is your fear of Me?' says Yahweh of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name." (Mal. 1:6 HCSB). The priests, instead of bringing a pure and acceptable offering, had dishonored and defiled God's name by offering animals that were lame and sick. The priests had brought reproach upon God's name by failing to acknowledge God ownership of all that exists. Their willingness to offer less than the best in sacrifice to God demonstrated their failure to honor his name and recognize his authority as Master and Lord of all.
Second, the name Adonai requires complete submission of those who call him Lord. Thus, when we call God Lord we are saying that we will willingly and obediently serve him. Remember what Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matt. 7:21 HCSB). "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do the things I say?" (Luke 6:46 HCSB).
Here's the bottom line: The name Adonai denotes that Jesus is Lord. He's the boss. The King. The Master. The Ruler. Look at what Malachi recorded: "'For I am a great king,' says the Yahweh of Hosts, 'and my name will be feared among the nations'" (Mal. 1:14b HCSB).
As Lord, Jesus takes control. We resign as general manager of the universe. We hang a new sign on the door of our heart that says, "Under New Management." We understand that when Jesus is Lord, he rules and reigns in every part of our lives. He becomes Lord not only generally, but also, specifically. Like a house, when Jesus enters our lives, he wants to take control. He doesn't want to just be a resident, he desires to be president. He is not a tenet, he is the landlord.