“Becky, Kathy, Casper, Ginger, oh whatever your name is. . . .” Mom’s voice was shrill and exasperated by the time she went through the list of names in our household. She was adamant and forceful when I heard her say the final name, “SHERYL DEANN.” Oops, now she used both my first and middle name. Even at seven years old, my ears burned when I heard the tone of her command and the title she used to summon me. I knew I was in big trouble. She had called me by name, and you’d better believe her tone, intent, and even use of my titles had achieved the ultimate goal. My mom got my full attention.
You might be thinking, OK, Sheryl, I get your drift when it comes to calling my children to dinner. But I still don’t get why knowing how to call on God using His name so important?
In the St. Anthony Messenger, the identical question was posed. One answer is found here: “A name is a major part of someone’s identity. The Israelites were surrounded by people who believed in many gods. These gods and goddesses exhibited all the human vices—and some of the virtues—but supposedly had much greater power. These deities were invoked easily and often. Moving from believing in many gods to believing in a single God took a long time; reverence for the uniqueness of God’s name was part of the process. This concern for God’s name continues in the New Testament. St. Paul says Jesus was given a name above all other names (Philippians 2:9).”
Here are a few reminders about the importance of the name of God from some of my favorite Bible verses:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4
“Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are his.” Daniel 2:20
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
“Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.” Psalm 48:10
“When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?” “Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.” Psalm 54:1
“For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” Psalm 61:5
What’s in a name? Names are more than groups of letters that represent a person or identify objects. Names are powerful. A person’s character and destiny can be influenced by his or her name. When my mom called me by using my first and middle names, I knew she meant business. In the same way, if we understand God’s character, attributes, and personality by calling on His unique names when we pray, we offer specific, power-packed, and effectively directed prayer. Start today by calling on the name of the Lord God right now.
Heavenly Father, thank you for caring enough about our needs to share your many names with us to encourage us to ask for your help specifically and intentionally. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness,” says Psalm 115:1. In the name of our great God, amen.
Want to learn more about how to pray using God’s names? I’d love to share my journey with you, so please order a copy of my new book, Experiencing God Through His Names, by clicking here.