As believers, we were taught from the time we were little children to end our prayers with “in the name of Jesus (Y’shua)” Since YHVH revealed some of His truth, of keeping Torah, to us, we had to challenge and change many things we were taught as children and thereafter. Is this something else we need to change? Is it scriptural to end our prayers “in the name of Y’shua” or is this a doctrine of man? This doctrine originates from what Y’shua said in John 14:13-14 and a few other passages. Was this interpreted correctly to mean that we are to end our prayers in this way and if so, why?
Before we study the scriptures to find this answer, we want to talk about another practice which is related to this. That is the practice to pray to Y’shua instead of the Father. Praying to Y’shua is seen by some as a form of idolatry, because they say we are only to pray to YHVH. Is this correct?
Praying to Y’shua
Let us look at Scripture for answers. In John 14:14, Y’shua said the following:
13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Verse 14 of John 14, seems problematic as it reads “If you ask Me anything in My Name.” It seems that Y’shua is instructing His disciples to pray to Him, instead of to the Father YHVH. This seems contradictory to what we are taught by the rest of Scripture. We are instructed in Scripture to worship YHVH only, and prayer is a form of worship. Is this a problem?
13 “You shall fear only YHVH your Elohim; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.
This is the exact same verse Y’shua quoted to Satan when he tried to tempt Him.
8 Y’shua answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship YHVH your Elohim and serve Him only.’ ”
We also know, that Y’shua, when He was asked by His disciples how to pray, that He instructed them to pray to YHVH. All the above taken into account, how are we to understand this verse in John 14:14?
David Stern explains this in his New Testament commentary.
If you ask me for something in my name, I will do it. The word “me” is missing in the first three editions of the Jewish New Testament, but the textual evidence for including it is convincing, even though a number of later manuscripts, among them those under-lying KJV, omit it. Including it creates a “Jewish problem,” because it makes it appear that the New Testament teaches people to “pray to Y’shua and not to God,” in denial of Judaism’s correct doctrine that prayer should be to God alone.
However, there is no contradiction. Elsewhere Yeshua instructs his followers to pray to the Father (Jn16:23, Mt 6:9). But here Yeshua has just taught that he is one with the Father, who is living in him and doing his own works through him (vv. 10–11; also 10:30, 17:21–23); we also know that Yeshua does just what the Father tells him to do (5:17–30). So petitioning Yeshua is tantamount to petitioning the Father. Yeshua the divine Son is the divine agent of the Father, no less God than the Father, and therefore justifiably addressed in prayer. 2
David Stern’s explanation solves this problem. Did you know that Paul also taught that we are to call on the name of Y’shua?
1 Corinthians 1:2
2 To the church of Elohim which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Messiah Y’shua, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Master Y’shua Messiah, their Master and ours:
This is what Ananias said to Paul after he prayed for his eyes to be opened. From the context we can see that Ananias is referring to Y’shua.
16 ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
Later Paul went to the synagogue and was praying. While praying he went into a trance and this is what he prayed. Who was Paul adressing here in Acts 22:19? Go read thecontext and you will see.
19 “And I said, ‘Master, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You.
Stephen, just before he was stoned cried out to Y’shua.
59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Master and said, “Master Y’shua, receive my spirit!”
How could this be? They are calling on the name of Y’shua. Not only does this prove the divinity of Y’shua, it also shows us that it is not wrong to pray to Y’shua.
We, likewise, believe that Y’shua is YHVH in the flesh. We have written an article “Who is Y’shua” and in it, we quoted many verses of Scripture that explains who Y’shua is. This is, however, only a glimpse of who Y’shua is, for I don’t think, we as human beings, can say we can fully comprehend who YHVH, or Y’shua really is. However, from this, we know that YHVH and Y’shua are one, echad.
So, is it wrong to pray to Y’shua? According to scripture, it would not be wrong.
Let’s get back to our topic at hand; what does it mean to pray in the name of Y’shua and is it scriptural to do so?
Praying in Y’shua’s name
Y’shua instructed His disciples three times, in so many words, to ask in His name. Here are the references.
13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
23 “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Why did He do this? (Take note that Y’shua said “ask the Father ” in these verses.) Before we look into more detail as to why Y’shua said this, we want to point you to some other references that might aid in our understanding.
Paul also taught that we are to give thanks in the name of Y’shua.
20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Master Y’shua Messiah to Elohim, even the Father;
Here are some more references:
Through Y’shua Messiah
We find a reference in the book of Romans where Paul says “ First, I thank my Elohim through Y’shua Messiah.” This phrase “through Y’shua Messiah” is used 14 times in Scripture.
8 First, I thank my Elohim through Y’shua Messiah for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
We found two similar references.
25 Thanks be to Elohim through Y’shua Messiah our Master! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of Elohim, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only Elohim our Savior, through Y’shua Messiah our Master, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Take note that in each of these references, YHVH is addressed, albeit indirectly; each of these was written like a prayer. Each time the phrase “through Y’shua Messiah” was used. What does it mean when we read “through Y’shua Messiah?”
The word “through” is just a preposition, but a very meaningful one at that.
1328 διά (dia): prep.; ≡ Str 1223; TDNT 2.65—
1. LN 90.4 by, through; in the genitive, a marker of agency (Mt 1:22; Mk 16:20 v.r.);
2. LN 90.8 by, with; in the genitive, a marker which shows instrument (2Jn 12);
3. LN 89.76 through, by; in the Genitive, a marker of means between two events (Ac 20:28);
4. LN 90.38 on behalf of, for the sake of; in the accusative, a marker of benefaction (Mt 17:27);
5. LN 90.44 because of, on account of; in the accusative, a marker of participant being the reason for an event or state (Mt 10:22);
6. LN 89.26 on account of; in the accusative, a marker of cause or reason (Ac 21:34);
7. LN 84.29 through, pass. through; in the Genitive, a marker of extension (Mt 12:1); 8. LN 84.32 along; in the Genitive, a marker of extension (Mt 8:28);
9. LN 67.136 during; in the Genitive, a marker of (Ac 5:19);
10. LN 67.140 throughout, in the Genitive, a marker of time, emphasis on the totality (Lk 5:53
From this, we understand Y’shua to be an agent or/and instrument, a cause or a reason. Keep this in mind when you read the phrase “through Y’shua Messiah.” Could it be that this preposition is used to communicate to us that Y’shua is our mediator? What does the rest of Scripture say?
Y’shua our mediator
Let’s see; to go through someone is to have a go-between person, a mediator. Y’shua is therefor, indeed, our mediator, and it is confirmed by Scripture.
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one Elohim, and one mediator also between Elohim and men, the man Messiah Y’shua,
mesites (μεσίτης, 3316), lit., “a go-between” (from mesos, “middle,” and eimi, “to go”), is used in two ways in the NT, (a) “one who mediates” between two parties with a view to producing peace, as in 1 Tim. 2:5, though more than mere “mediatorship” is in view, for the salvation of men necessitated that the Mediator should Himself possess the nature and attributes of Him towards whom He acts, and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom He acts (sin apart); only by being possessed both of deity and humanity could He comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other; further, the claims and the needs could be met only by One who, Himself being proved sinless, would offer Himself an expiatory sacrifice on behalf of men; (b) “one who acts as a guarantee” so as to secure something which otherwise would not be obtained. Thus in Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24 Messiah is the Surety of “the better covenant,” “the new covenant,” guaranteeing its terms for His people.4
This role of Y’shua is mentioned and explained throughout the book of Hebrews. It goes hand -in-hand with Him being our High Priest. We have previously written an article about this role of Y’shua as the High Priest. It is titled “The new High priest on Yom Kippur.” In this article, we explain this role of Y’shua Messiah. Through His death and resurrection, He became our High Priest, our mediator, Who makes intercession with the Father on our behalf.
27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of Elohim.
34 who is the one who condemns? Messiah Y’shua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of Elohim, who also intercedes for us.
25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to Elohim through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
What is intercession?
Before we continue, let us clarify what is meant by the word intercession.
1961 ἐντυγχάνω (entygchanō): vb.; ≡ Str 1793; TDNT 8.242—1. LN 33.169 plead, appeal for, petition (Ac 25:24; Ro 11:2+); 2. LN 33.347 intercede, intervene (Ro 8:27, 34; Heb 7:25+; Ro 8:26 v.r.)3
From all this, we can gain a lot of understanding. To pray in Y’shua’s name is not some magic line we use to make things happen. So, why do we then pray in the name of Y’shua? Because He is our mediator, He makes intercession on our behalf. His name represents His authority, His role as mediator, and our salvation through Him.
Why is this important? Why do we need a mediator?
According to Isaiah, YHVH does not hear the prayers of sinners. Our iniquity is a barrier between Him and us.
1 See, YHVH’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your Elohim, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Consider this, even if we are obedient to Torah, how obedient are we really? Consider your own righteousness. Can you say you are flawless in your keeping of Torah? We can’t; even our very best efforts are flawed. Some commandments we do wrong due to our wrong understanding, some we can’t keep due to the absence of the Temple. Some we don’t keep because we wrongly believe that it does not pertain to us. We do or don’t do the commandments according to our understanding. We are all doing what is right in our own eyes. For this reason, we need a mediator, because wrong is wrong in YHVH’s eyes, even done with the best of intentions. YHVH Is a righteous Elohim.
To illustrate this, here is a good example from Scripture. When the Israelites made the golden calf, they believed it to be YHVH. In their eyes, they were doing right. After the calf was finished, Aaron made a proclamation that they shall have a feast unto YHVH the following day.
4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to YHVH.”
How did YHVH react to this? Did He say, oh but their intentions were good therefor it’s fine? No! He judged them, for they were engaging in idolatry. We are, in the same way, transgressing YHVH’s commandments, sometimes even with good intensions in our hearts. Nevertheless, wrong is wrong and for this reason, we need Y’shua, our mediator. He intercedes for us just like Moses interceded for the Israelites when they transgressed.
We learn more about this mediatory role in the verses following after this. YHVH said to Moses to let Him alone so that He can destroy them, but Moses pleaded on their behalf, and YHVH changed His mind.
10 “Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” 11 Then Moses entreated YHVH his Elohim, and said, “O YHVH, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. 13 “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 So YHVH changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
We can compare Y’shua’s mediatory role with that of Moses. Y’shua also pleads on our behalf when we transgress.
Through this study, we came to understand that we should indeed request our needs in Y’shua’s name. A name identifies and represents a person, including his authority and his role. It is the same with Y’shua’s name. Y’shua’s name means YHVH’s salvation. When we end our prayers in the name of Y’shua, it is like calling to remembrance that He is our salvation and our mediator. He makes it possible for us to come before a holy Elohim.
We, in our conduct towards YHVH, are worthy of destruction, just like Israel was. However, through Y’shua we find grace. He intercedes on our behalf for He has already paid the price for our sin. It can be likened to being in Him. When we appear before the Father in Y’shua, the Father sees Y’shua’s righteousness, not our sin. This is, however, not a license to sin. It also does not make repentance unnecessary. We are still to do our best in living righteously out of love for our Elohim and repent when we don’t.
When we became believers we gave our lives to YHVH; we now exist for Him. Paul explains it well:
1 Corinthians 8:6
6 yet for us there is but one Elohim, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Master, Y’shua Messiah, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
And as a last thought, ponder on this.
6 Y’shua said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
1 Corinthians 16:24
24 My love be with you all in Messiah Y’shua. Amen.
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus.
- Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., Jn 14:14). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
- Thompson, J. W., & Butler, T. C. (2003). Intercession. In (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, & E. R. Clendenen, Eds.)Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
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