The Aha Moment I Experienced When My Granddaughter Made the Sign of the Cross

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My Catholic and Protestant Teachings

Growing up in the Catholic church I learned to make the Sign of the Cross before and after my prayers.

This motion is made by touching your hand to your forehead, then the lower chest, and finally from the left shoulder to the right (the shape of the cross) all while saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

I stopped doing this motion as a young adult, when I no longer attended church on Sundays and seldom said prayers.

In my 30s, my faith was renewed and I started back to church. However, it was the Protestant church that I was baptized into.

My prayer life was rejuvenated. But now instead of saying the “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” before and after my prayers, I learned to say, “In Jesus’ name” at the end of my prayer.

I discovered that in Bible times a person’s name depicted the whole character of the individual. The name of someone was what the person stood for, the substance of their character, or their authority.

So to pray in Jesus’ name suggested that I prayed within the character of God. It suggested that I was in agreement with the Spirit of Christ; His authority.

It’s like when an officer of the law says, “Stop in the name of the law.” They are saying that because they are standing in the place of the law and speaking on behalf of it. To the degree that they speak for the law, they have the authority to enforce the law.

When I say, “In Jesus’ name” it is as if Jesus Himself said it.

Now in my 50s, I have been reintroduced to the sign of the cross as my granddaughter has recently started kindergarten in the Separate School system.

She has shown me how she now starts and ends her prayers. When she said the words, I had an aha moment.

As a Christian, we believe in the Trinity — that is, our God eternally exists as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. But they are not three gods.

The best way I can explain it is to light three separate candles and then combine the flames to create one big flame. They are separate but as one.

But I don’t want to venture too far down this trail into explaining the Trinity — there are whole books dedicated to this.

Suffice it to say that it dawned on me that although the Catholic and Protestant prayers start and end a little differently, we are in fact, saying the same thing.

We are inviting God into our prayers. We are praying in His character, in His authority.

Amen!

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it (John 14:13–14, NIV).

 


(first featured on Medium platform May 10, 2021)

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