Why Should I Pray the Names of God?

Dear Roger,
Please tell me about the power that comes from praying through the names of God.
Sincerely, Danny

Dear Danny,

I would be delighted.

Listening to Christ pray must have been a marvelous experience. The disciples saw and heard Him often on long nights alone—and stole glances at Him.

He did not often pray alone. The disciples observed how the Pharisees prayed with arms stretched upward, heads held high, and loud. But they saw the power in the prayers of Jesus that they didn’t see in the prayers of the Pharisees.

One day, they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In Luke 11, Christ responded with what we often call “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Here is a prayer that can be repeated in 15 seconds, yet it is possible to pray through it for hours. And there are millions of people who can say that prayer, but very few ever learn to pray it like Jesus did. The power comes not in the saying, but in the praying of that prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is just one of many models that we may use as guidelines when we pray.
 Another good guideline is the acrostic ACTS, which stands for “Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication,” But, far and away, my favorite model is praying through the names of God.

Jesus begins by saying, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9-13).

You are fortunate if you have a father who loves you and makes certain that your needs are met. One early morning before going to school, I opened the door to the den to see my father on his knees in prayer. I have no difficulty praying, “Our father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
 But what if your dad wasn’t all that good?

I recall counseling with a brokenhearted man who said to me, “I watched my father beat my mom until she couldn’t get up off the floor.”
 Can you imagine that he just might have trouble seeing God as his father?

The loveliest name for “father” in the Greek language is “Abba.” Today, we might say, “Daddy.”

Names Are Significant 

We named our first daughter, “Jessica,” which means, “God sees us.”

Then, we named our second child, “Brianna,” which means “Gift from God.” She was a gift after Jessica died. “Bronwyn” is the name of our third daughter. It’s a Welsh name which means “pure heart.”

I need to mention this before I go any further: “You must not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exodus 20:7). “Do not take the name of God in vain” does not mean “don’t curse.” Taking the Lord’s name in vain means that we empty God of His power.

Now, the most significant name of God is “YHWH,” or “I am.” This name has to do with past, present, and future. It refers to God’s eternal existence. YHWH is most often transliterated into English as JEHOVAH.

The Many Names for God

One day, my four-year-old daughter asked me about God’s name. I explained that God had many names, including Father, Lord, and Jehovah. After listening to my long explanation, she asked, “Can I just call him Steve?” Ah, I love hearing what’s on a child’s mind!

The word “EL” is the most used name of God and refers to God’s mighty power. His names that begin with “El” are His creative names. The “Elohim” names are used as a pretext to enunciate various aspects of God’s power and character. The “El” are also His powerful names.

Then, there are the “Jehovah” names of God. These are the personal, intimate names.

I like to pray through the Jehovah names of God.

Jehovah-Tsidkenu = Jehovah Our Righteousness

Righteousness has two aspects.

First, we are made righteous by receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior. The book of Revelation tells us that in heaven God gives us a white robe and declares that because of the work of Christ on the cross, we are declared righteous and fit for heaven.

I thank Jehovah-Tsidkenu for the benefit of forgiveness of sin and qualification for eternal life in Heaven when I die.

Second, I pray that I will live righteously today in everything that I that I say and do:

Lord, I want to be right in every decision that I make today. I don’t want to be wrong anywhere.

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh = Jehovah Our Sanctifier

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh is the name of the God who purifies us and makes us holy. I pray,

Oh Lord, please mature me to be a spiritual father or mother at any price. Make me holy and pure. I’m willing to pay the cost of discipleship. May I experience victory as I surrender to you as my Lord and Savior.

Jehovah-Shalom = Jehovah Our Peace

Jesus, Jehovah-Shalom, calmed the storm. Pray for whatever he needs to do to calm your life.

Lord, I need your peace today.

Jehovah-Shammah = Jehovah Our Indwelling Presence

We are all temples of God. He lives within us as the Holy Spirit. He is our partner for everyday living. We thank God for the Holy Spirit and for the life He pours into us. Pray:

Help us to keep our hearts and lives clean and pure from sin.

Jehovah-Rophe = Jehovah Our Healer

Rophe means to “restore” or “cure” or heal in the physical, moral, and spiritual sense.

I pray every day to Jehovah-Rophe to heal and cleanse my body and my family.

Jehovah-Jireh = Our Provider

God supplies all of our needs. He promised He would, and we can depend fully on Him. So, I pray for everything on my calendar for the day. I pray, God, please care for and provide for my finances… health… relationships.

This is the God who can put into our lives everything that he desires for us.

Jehovah-Nissi = Jehovah Our Banner

Today, we have many ways to communicate in battle. In ancient times, signal flags were used to place troops in proper position. In God’s battle, our Banner represents a sign of deliverance and salvation. Christ is the banner of our redemption and warfare.

It’s a victory flag! I pray, God, please provide the victory in the spiritual battles I face every day.

Jehovah-Rohi = Jehovah Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 teaches that we all need a shepherd. I pray The Lord is my shepherd; You are all I want.

The Name of God Matters

One day, every knee will bow in submission and praise in the name of Jesus:

“Therefore God… gave Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

Let’s do a brief meditation. Imagine yourself bowing before the resurrected Jesus, who is seated upon His throne. Join in with countless others. Bow low. Lift your eyes. Pray,

Worthy are You to receive glory and power, wisdom and strength and glory!

Well, I hope this will help you in your spiritual growth and your intimacy with God!

Love, Roger

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint 

Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his 35-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

Editor's Note: This Ask Roger article features insights from Roger's daughter, Brie Barrier Wetherbee, a sought-after Bible teacher and conference speaker, author, analyst, and Christian theologian. 

Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at [email protected].



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