In John Chapter 16, Jesus tells us to use His Name when we come to the Father in prayer. He does not tell us to misuse His Name. If you want an example of what it means to misuse a name, look at 2 Kings 5. After Naaman is healed of leprosy through obedience to the word of the Man of God Elisha, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant thinks he will benefit from the miracle. He runs after Naaman asking for money in the name of the Elisha, money which Elisha had been offered but had turned down. With a made up story to which he attaches Elisha’s name he asks for money. He gets it. He also gets leprosy…
It is a serious thing to misuse a person’s name. How much more serious to misuse the Name of Jesus by attaching it carelessly to our own utterances, or desires or requests without any consideration of the will of Christ. The bible tells us the Lord will not hold guiltless those who misuse His Name. I wonder if this is not one of the besetting sins of the Charismatic Church of which I am a part: attaching the Name of the Lord to our will, our utterances, our declarations when they are simply our own rather than His?
One of the most fearful verses in Scripture is this: “The Lord gave them what they asked for but also sent leanness to their soul.”
Careless asking is not wise, nor is careless promising or vow making. Ask Jephthah…
Perhaps the saddest thing of the story of Gehazi is that Naaman went bak to Syria with the edge shaved off of how different the God of Israel was from all other gods, and his prophet from all other prophets. He continued on his journey homewards thinking that Elisha had indeed requested money. That mistaken understanding was never undone. The effect on Naaman’s theology? Yes, the God of Israel could do miraculous things, but for payment, and for the return of a favour. “Grace” became hidden. He sends out bills for his miracles.