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I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it. (Enos 1:15.)
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“A Family Name”
The name of Christ is a family name, and it is appropriate that those who have taken upon them this name refer to each other by family titles. We greet each other as “Brother” and “Sister” so routinely that the profound meaning of our salutations escapes us. But King Benjamin made it clear when he said,
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters . . . I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. (Mosiah 5:7,8.)
In the Lord’s instructions for the School of the Prophets, he directed that members should greet each other in these words:
Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant I receive you to fellowship. . . . (D&C 88:133.)
As sons and daughters of the Savior, spiritually begotten of him, we who have made the covenants receive a family name and refer to each other as “Brother” and “Sister” in the family of Jesus Christ. As family members we are empowered to pray in his name–the family name–when we petition the Father.
“Use my Name”
Many years ago I joined two of my older brothers, both of them doctors, for a sealing in the Mesa, Arizona Temple. The oldest brother had adopted an infant and had waited the required amount of time. The child was now to be sealed to him and his wife. I was there with another brother to witness the ceremony.
We spoke in the dressing room. The middle brother was within weeks of leaving the Army, where he had served out a commitment he had incurred for financial assistance received during his medical training. We both wondered what his plans would be after his discharge.
“I wanted to go to work in a clinic in Dallas, Texas,” Larry said, and he named the clinic. “But I called and the secretary refused to put me through to the director. What a shame. It would have been a great place to practice.”
The older brother looked delighted and responded, “Larry, I know the man who runs that clinic. He and I are friends. Write to him. Use my name. Ask for an interview. I’ll call him and tell him of our relationship.”
Larry did write, using the name of his older brother, and did get an interview and did get the position he wanted. The Savior has invited us to use his name in the same way. This is a wonderful blessing to us, for a unique relationship exists between the Father and the Son. Notice the language of the Father when he speaks of Jehovah:
At the time of the baptism of Jesus, the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17.)
On the Mount of Transfiguration the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matthew 17:5.)
In the Sacred Grove the Father said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith–History 1:17.)
In the land Bountiful in 34 AD the Father said, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name–hear ye him.”(3 Nephi 11:7.)
Isaiah gave us more of the Father’s words about his Son: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” (Isaiah 42:1.)
Jehovah has been perfect in obedience and submission, “the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.” (Mosiah 15:7.) He is a “beloved” son, in whom the Father is “well pleased,” in whom the Father’s soul “delighteth;” a son to whom was given “from God the Father honor and glory.” (2 Peter 1:17.) The use of this name in our prayers matters, and we are invited, even commanded, to petition the Father in the name of this divine being who is our elder brother.
Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth. (Mormon 9:21.)
The Savior has in effect said to us, “When you petition the Father for the blessings you need, for help with the trials you face, for revelation and inspiration and comfort, use my name. You have my permission. Use my name.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer called the use of this name the “ultimate statement of authority.” In an address to Church /education educators in 1989, he said, “I certify to you that Jesus is the Christ. I know Him. He presides over this Church. He is no stranger to His servants here. I invoke His blessing upon all of you, all of us who are teachers, and do so invoking that ultimate statement of authority, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (CES Evening with a General Authority, 29 February 1989, emphasis added)
“Let All Men Beware”
A word of caution is necessary about this matter. In D&C 63:61-63 the Lord warns, “Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips. For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority. Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them. . . .”
The actual language of the ten commandments does not refer to profanity, but to this very principle: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7.)
We must speak Christ’s name in our prayers with reverence and gratitude. With what other perspective could we possibly approach God the Father and appeal to him in the name of his Only Begotten Son, in whom he is well pleased?
This article was adapted from chapter 4 of the author’s book, Put off Thy Shoes. The book can be found by following the links at tedgibbons.com.