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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Lately I’ve noticed my friends slip into little “catchphrases” which they commonly say in prayers. It’s fine if they genuinely mean what they say, but sometimes I feel as though they’re just saying it as filler. I’ve also noticed them rushing “In the name of Jesus Christ amen.” Someone once told me that doing this is using the Lord’s name in vain. How do I help my friends not fall into these pitfalls?  Lots of thanks.

Elliot

 

Answer

 

Dear Elliot,

While you are correct that it is best to avoid vain repetitions and catch phrases, we also need to remember that everyone is on different stages of their (prayer) progression and testimony. As such, we need a certain tolerance for those who are behind us, waiting for the Spirit to nudge them along. You can do the same with any gospel principle really, “all things are lawful for me” says Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:23 (you can even imagine a “better” form of prayer being included in this) “but all things are not expedient.”

We are taught to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, so I would not call that using the Lord’s name in vain. I confess it does concern me when people close a talk or a testimony by saying, “In the name of thy son, Jesus Christ. Amen”   Since Christ is NOT the son of anyone in the audience, it is clear that the speaker is rattling off the phrase out of habit rather than sincerely thinking of Christ.   I’ve noticed that most of the talks in conference end with the words, “In the sacred name of Jesus Christ.”  Notice the reverence inherent in that phrase.  It is always spoken with solemnity.  I believe that is an example we should follow, i.e. to truly be thinking of Christ when we use His name.

So Elliot you can best help your friends by working on your own prayers, and showing your belief by example.  Be patient as they progress in the gospel at their own rate.

 

Gramps

 

 

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