Ministry is acting in the Name of Jesus. When all our actions are in the Name, they will bear fruit for eternal life. To act in the Name of Jesus, however, doesn't mean to act as a representative of Jesus or his spokesperson. It means to act in an intimate communion with him. The Name is like a house, a tent, a dwelling. To act in the Name of Jesus, therefore, means to act from the place where we are united with Jesus in love. To the question “Where are you?” we should be able to answer, “I am in the Name.” Then, whatever we do cannot be other than ministry because it will always be Jesus himself who acts in and through us. The final question for all who minister is “Are you in the Name of Jesus?” When we can say yes to that, all of our lives will be ministry.
I think this quality of living in the Name of Jesus “like a house, a tent, a dwelling…” (such beautiful words!) has a great deal to do with the practice of the Jesus Prayer. We can’t come to know Jesus this well, well enough “to act in an intimate communion with him,” without long commitment to prayer. But to seek to pray in the Name of Jesus simply by putting “in the name of Christ” on the end of our prayers is one thing, actually praying the Name continually, as the Jesus Prayer leads us to do, is something else again. For me, personally, there is nothing to replace it—praying the Prayer is the deepest kind of homecoming, the safest refuge, the warmest embrace, lying somehow on the threshold of eternity while the hours of this little life spin on their axis, “at the still point of the turning world.” (Eliot)