The difference between the two men:
- The Pharisee prayed to Himself.
- The Tax collector cried out to God in repentance.
Across the spectrum, and I have even heard this in some churches while visiting - many are refusing to pray "In Jesus' Name". American Military Chaplains were ordered to stop praying biblically over a decade ago. A well known-evangelist was visiting the White House a long time ago, and told not to pray likewise during a high-profile prayer service. Another well known pastor/teacher from Dallas was invited to open a city council meeting with prayer, then told not to pray in "Jesus Name". He knew he would never be invited back after accepting and went in there, preached the full Gospel of Christ, and left. The liberal senate of a Mid-western statehouse is making local pastors sign documents stating they will not pray non- sectarian prayers (which means, no Christian prayers in Jesus Name). One pastor got up in front of his church and recounted that, told how he refused to sign it and they ran after him to come back "this time". Any "pastor" who signs that document has not only denied Jesus Christ, but will face Judgment from God from that act of valuing corrupt men rather than Holy God....and on and on.
So why does it bother the world systems that someone would pray in Jesus' Name? They would not dare tell moslems not to mention their prophet or a Buddhist etc...but somehow, the Name of the Good Shepherd stirs up something in those who are of the kingdom of darkness. The reason is multi-fold. Over 2000 years since He was born according to prophesy, Jesus occupies the time period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve (Christmas). Only a few short months later, an equally hated group - the Jews, celebrate Passover which means Good Friday and Easter/Resurrection Sunday are here. Lately, more and more Bible series and movies have saturated the airways as the prime focus of the civilized world is JESUS! He is EVERYWHERE (and He IS actually EVERYWHERE...."the Eyes of the Lord runneth to and fro across the whole earth, on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him- 2 Chronicles 16:9)
No wonder they don't want real Christians to pray in His Name! The devil could not tempt Him. Sure Judas and the fickle betrayed Him. But the Pharisees could not stop Him. Pilate wanted to free Him. The grave could not hold Him. Death did not conquer Him. The demons flee from Him. The dying turned to Him (the Thief on the Cross). The Romans tried to eradicate Him by sending His followers to the lions. The caliphs of 1000 years ago could not wipe them out either. The dark ages and corrupt Roman churches could not stop His Word from getting to the masses. Tynedale, Wycliffe, Hus and others gave their lives for Him. His followers - we Christians - started the hospitals, schools, universities, homeless missions and other things which define compassion and civilization. The books written cannot describe Him. Movies cannot define Him. The rich, powerful and pagan deny and decry Him, but the faithful deify Him. He is the Lord of the Universe, the Commander in Chief of Heavens' Armies and we know....and even the pagans know, He is coming soon to take back His Creation and rule with His saints - those who are saved.
Now, do you wish to know why today's temporary rulers are commanding believers not to pray "In Jesus' Name"??!! Well?! But enough about them! What about the Faithful? How do we learn about the power of His Presence and His Name? How do we approach Him in prayer and what is the Biblical foundation for the true Christian to ask in the Name of Jesus? We will examine this in some detail, in Part 2.