The Power of Praying in God's Name
Scripture: Psalm 91
Two major philosophies existed in the Greek and Roman worlds - Stoicism and Epicureanism. The Stoics said that the gods were apathetic and indifferent. The Epicureans felt that the gods were uninterested and detached.
Modern thought does no better with descriptions of God. For many people God is a distant Grandfather image that has little input in one's life. Or God is a Life Force, some impersonal nether being unrelated to the real world. Others sense that God is an unloving judge that seeks only to be involved in one's life when punishment can be inflicted. Others see God as an apathetic Creator. Having created the world he now leaves it alone to choose its own destiny. Others see God as far removed, a distant, unapproachable power, having faded into the past with little meaning.
How do you see God?
In Psalm 91, David understands and knows the personal nature of God. "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust' ... who is my refuge" (Psa. 91:2, 9 NIV). Here was a man who knew God intimately. He dwelled with him (see verse 1). He lived in conscious fellowship with him, drawing strength from him daily. And, God did some amazing things for him: He saved him (v. 3). He covered him (v. 4). He protected him (vv. 5-8). He guarded him (vv. 11-13). God restates what he will do for David in verses 14-16. Notice the eight "I wills" of God.
I will rescue (v. 14).
I will protect (v. 14).
I will answer (v. 15).
I will be with him (v. 15).
I will deliver (v. 15).
I will honor (v. 15).
I will satisfy (v. 16).
I will show him salvation (v. 16).
While all this is true to the nature of God. There is another very important reason God acted. Don't overlook the important basis for God's action. The key is tucked away in verse fourteen: "for he acknowledges my name." David recognized, respected, and trusted in the name - the person, nature, and character of God. But he could only do that because he knew God in a personal and intimate way.
Let me remind you that God is not simply a power, he is a person. As a person, you can relate to him and love him and get to know him. "My" God is personally involved and absolutely intimate in nature. While I can't possess him, I can be possessed by him. While I can't understand all about him, I can know him.
When we tell someone our name, we reveal a certain willingness to be known. By revealing his name, God is seeking to make himself known to us. He is a God with whom we can relate and get to know. We can know him personally as:
He is a God who is present. He is not simply a God who is out there, but a God who is right here. He is my God, your God, a personal God that walks with us in the here and now. Once I saw etched in a door the words "God was here." When I returned to the spot a week later, someone had marked through "was" and etched above it "is." God is here. That's our God, he is here, every day, every step, every turn, every situation.