|Photo Credit: Prawny from morgueFile.com|
There is great power in something that each of us have. What is it? Our name. Yes, there is an amazing power in the name that we were given on the day of our birth. There have been countless stories and poems written and studies done on the impact that our name has on our lives.
In addition to the meaning behind our name, it feels so good to hear someone say our name, doesn’t it? Well, except for those times when Mom and Dad were upset with us as children and they hollered out our FULL name….that didn’t feel so great. But, aside from that, when someone looks us in the eyes and remembers our name…it just feels wonderful. It makes us feel special. It warms our soul. It says, “I notice you. I see you. You are important.”
Several years ago, I was with my sister-in-law, Kerri, when she thanked the grocery store cashier by name. “Thank you, Anna. I really appreciate it. Have a great day.” You should have seen Anna’s face light up! For a second, I’m sure Anna thought, “Hmmm, do I know her and how in the world does she know my name?” Of course, with the handy dandy name tag on Anna’s shirt, it was easy to thank her by name. But, most of us don’t normally think to do that, do we? Most of the time, we don’t even look our cashier in the eye, much less thank them by name.
Someone else who does a remarkable job at recognizing the power in a name is our parish priest, Father Gabriel Bentil. I don’t know how he remembers each parishioner’s name, including the children, and even each visitor’s name! It’s obvious that he knows the unbelievable power in calling someone by name, so he takes the time to make it a vital part of his ministry.
Father Bentil said that he studies the parish directory to put a face to the name of all the little ones. He even challenges the kids to quiz him on their name. You should see those children’s eyes light up when he says their name. Precious. My nieces, Haley and Brittany, got to experience first-hand how good it felt to be remembered by name. They visit our parish maybe twice a year and Father always calls them by name when they come to Mass. Their smiles couldn’t be wider. Power. In. The. Name.
If we realize the incredible power in our own name, can you just imagine the immense power in Jesus’ name? Unfathomable.
One of the shortest and most powerful prayers just might be this, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
During Mass recently, Father Bentil mentioned that there is great power in the name of Jesus. One of Father’s favorite verses in the Gospels is when Jesus said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in Him will bear plentiful fruit.” He said that when we pray, in His Name, we are blessed with the grace and strength to bear fruits (of the Holy Spirit).
In John 15:16, Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me! I chose you! I appointed you to go out and produce good fruit, so that no matter what you ask for from the Father, using my name, He will give it to you.”
When we pray in the name of Jesus, we can trust and be sure that He will listen to us when asking for anything in line with His will for us. Praying in Jesus’ name involves praying for things that will honor and glorify Him. Are our prayers in line with that? Many times…yes. Other times…maybe not so much.
Before I write a blog post, poem, or story, I pray for God to inspire me and allow ideas to flow. In His name, I pray that my words reflect my faith for others to read. There it is again…In His Name…those three short, but powerful words.
I also think that there is something profound about praying for someone by name. I have quoted Mikey’s Funnies numerous times throughout the years on my blog. The cool fella behind the clean humor e-mail list is my friend, Mike Atkinson. For fourteen months, Mike has been battling chronic kidney disease. Of course, none of us had a clue about his roller coaster year full of brutal treatments and struggles. He just kept sending the funnies to us, day after day after day. Mike, a father of eight and grandfather of four (almost five), is now starting dialysis and is on the path to a kidney transplant.
Some of Mike’s friends own a local inspirational magazine and featured him last month. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article by Lori Arnold and thought you might too.
A few of the article’s quotes that touched me deeply were these:
Despite his struggles, Atkinson said he’s never questioned God about his medical crisis, “not because I’m any kinda SuperSaint, but because I believe in His sovereignty. I live by the motto, ‘Accept the reality. Hope for the Divine.’”
“(There’s) a big question mark when looking forward,” he (Mike) said. “I read an article recently that said everyone gets healed: Medically, divinely, or by going ‘home.’ I’m ready for any of those options. An adage like ‘I don’t know the future, but I know Who holds the future’ really becomes real in these situations.”
“He is still God,” he (Mike) said. “He doesn’t promise us escape from hard times. He promises to be with us, to walk with us through the dark nights of the soul. Good Christians die every day; they lose their homes; they lose their jobs. God is not a magic potion to get us out of life’s challenges. He wants to be our crutch, so we can lean on Him daily.”
“Friends have wondered if I get mad at God for not healing me. Umm, sorry but He’s been healing me since the day I accepted His forgiveness 42 years ago! He has healed bad habits, thoughts, behaviors—a mountain of ugliness in me over the years. How can I question how He works in my life now? I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. A few times lately I’ve actually learned to thank God for this illness. He has worked in me more than ever before.”
Wow. I just want you to know, Mike Atkinson, that there is much power in YOUR name. When I hear your name, I am immediately overwhelmed with a deep sense of courage, determination, faith, inspiration, gratitude, service to others, and…wait…is that a fragrant plumeria I smell? Thank you, Mike, for continuing to do God’s will, even when it’s not easy…ESPECIALLY when it’s not easy. You are admired by many.
And, I love that you ended your last e-mail with, “And, no, I will NOT stop the Funnies. I need to laugh as bad as you do. Such good medicine...”
To all of my readers, please pray for Mike Atkinson, by name. And, let’s all remember the power in the name. Call someone by name today. If you’re feeling adventuresome, call three people by name. You’ll feel the power and so will they. Finally, may you embrace the immeasurable power of Jesus’ name in all that you say and do.