Q. Jesus said that whatever we ask in His name will be granted but it becomes cumbersome to say “In Jesus’ name” every time I thank Him for something or ask Him to bless someone. I find that I start saying it more as a chant than in reverence. Also, do we need to confess we are sinners and ask for forgiveness every time we pray? Or is once a day sufficient? I find that after I go through all the formalities every time I talk to God, sometimes I forget what I was going to pray about. It also takes a lot of the “spontaneity” out of the conversation, when spontaneity is what I’m trying to add to my prayers.
A. There is a place for structure and formality, such as public prayer, or when you’re praying over another person. But I think you’re being way too concerned about procedure where your personal private prayers are concerned. Try thinking of it this way; in public He’s our King, and we should address Him more formally out of respect for His office. But in private He’s our best friend and we can have more intimate conversations.
If an earthly best friend was your constant companion you would maintain a running conversation. (This is what Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing” in (1 Thes. 5:17) You wouldn’t be bound by rules of formality but would bring up whatever was on your mind. (This is praying as the Spirit leads you.) If you did something that disappointed or offended your friend you would say you’re sorry. (This is asking forgiveness.) Your private relationship with Jesus can be just like that.
We’ve been given the privilege of adoption into the family of God (John 1:12-13). He has sent the Spirit of his Son into our heart and allowed us to call Him by His most intimate name (Galatians 4:4-6). He didn’t do this so He could bind us in procedures that keep us at a distance. He did this so He could have an intimate relationship with us.
If spontaneity is what you’re looking for, be assured that’s what He wants too, and He’s waiting for you to relax and come closer. When you do you’ll find there is no greater joy on Earth than to spend a few minutes in quiet conversation with Him.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).