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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

When praying to God, why do we always say, “In Jesus’ name I pray”?

Neela Kale Answers:

Since biblical times, God’s name has been understood as a symbol of God’s very self. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,

“A name expresses a person’s essence and identity and the meaning of this person’s life. … To disclose one’s name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally” (203).

God, by revealing Godself to human beings under many names throughout history, showed us God’s desire to be in loving relationship to us, to be known intimately and addressed personally by humankind. As salvation history unfolded, God revealed an even more intimate, personal face: God-with-us, in human flesh — Jesus. In turn, Jesus tells us how intimately he is connected to the Father:

“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me… I go to the Father, and whatever you ask in my name I will do, so as to glorify the Father in the Son.” (John 14:11-13)

When we pray to God in Jesus’ name, we recall this intimate connection and respond to Jesus’ invitation to enter into it, being one with Jesus just as Jesus and the Father are one.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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  • Mike

    When praying to God, why do we always say, “In Jesus’ name I pray”?
    Jesus told his true diciples to pray in His name to the Father. not the sinners.
    We are not to use or say God’s name, so much that we no longer even know what God’s real name is. there is a real reason for this, so now Jesus true Diciples are told by Jesus to use his name instead when praying to God. there is a real reason for this. it is the same reason that God does not want anyone down here knowing His real name so they can invoke it any more.

    • D. J. Tarbill

      Where in the Bible does it say that man is to never use our heavenly Fathers name? That is a tradition of man in order to remove any possibility of taking His name in vain or bringing it to nothing.

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