praying directly to Jesus?

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praying directly to Jesus?

Post by email » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:16 pm

I have been studying the subject of prayer lately. What reasons are given to support the idea that prayer to Jesus is wrong? I have had serious questions about teaching it is wrong now. But, I do not want to arrive to that conclusion without considering all sides of the issue. Do you have anything on it?
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my 2-cents...

Post by m273p15c » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:18 pm

It has been a long time, since I looked at the issue, and I'm sure that I personally don't have any canned material on the topic. However, I'll give you my 2-cents off the top of my head, and we all know what that's worth:

In the Bible, the pattern is to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9). Although I am aware of some possible prayers directed to the Son (Acts 7:59; II Corinthians 12:8-9), I would feel uncomfortable resting my case on them, because of their ambiguity.

Although I would not question the divinity of Jesus, nor His position as Judge and Mediator, it seems to me that He serves as Mediator (I Timothy 2:5), not Arbiter in deciding final matters of divine will. The Father appears to fill this role of ultimate leadership (I Corinthians 15:24-28). Even though they are of one mind and judgment, the Lord seems to be teaching us a lesson in this separation of roles.

Therefore, it would seem unwise to me to contest the clear pattern. Also, what would be the point? Does one feel more comfort in speaking to Jesus? Opposed to praying to the Father with Jesus mediating and the Spirit interceding (Romans 8)? It seems a big risk with little purpose than maybe to justify one or two cherished hymns ("Just a Little Talk with Jesus", etc.).

For what it's worth
Last edited by m273p15c on Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by email » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:22 pm

Thank you for writing me back. I have been curious if we truly have an established pattern. This is not due to any leanings because of songs, or favored preachers, just my personal search. When I teach, I encourage others to pray to the Father. My upbringing was denominational. Therefore, I always heard about praying to the father, or Jesus. ...

The reason I question having an established pattern, by way of example, is that most of the prayers we read addressed to the Father were by Jesus. It would have seemed odd to have Him talk to Himself. Because of passages such as 2 Cor 12, I have wondered further if a pattern was intended by way of example as far as to whom prayer was addressed. I never ead the Lord correcting Paul for addressing Him.

Anyway, that is why I asked. Not seeking anything more. I do not want o believe a brother is wrong fopr doing it if I cannot prove it. BTW, I did a search since I e-mailed you, and found some info on about it.
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best i can do for now...

Post by m273p15c » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:28 pm

Personally, I cannot prove to myself that praying to Jesus is authorized. I am familiar with the texts you mentioned, but their ambiguity detracts from me having a confident answer based on them. Given that there is already an established, sound pattern for praying to the Father through Jesus, I have chosen to adhere to that, since I cannot pray to Jesus in full confidence (Romans 14:22-23). I have not personally made it an issue of fellowship, because it seems a minor issue, which I cannot confidently argue against either. This may not be a good treatment, but until I am able to reconcile other more catastrophic points of division, I will have to leave it at that for the time being.

I appreciate your sincerity and humility that is apparent in your study, earnestness, and departure from denominationalism. I pray that we will both continue to grow closer to Jesus, God's pattern for us. Additionally, I hope your work will bring much glory to the Father!

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Post by email » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:32 pm

I appreciate your stand on prayer. Maybe I have missed the pattern that you mentioned. Either way, I will keep studying, just to know. I appreciate your reasoning on why you do not make it a fellowship issue. It is ironic, that after we e-mailed about it last week, that Wayne Jackson did an article on that subject on his website. I was surprised by his conclusion. ... Thank you for your time.

From other correspondence:
Few other links... ... Prayer.htm
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Post by mdavis » Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:49 pm

Here is a more detailed response on the subject of praying directly to Jesus. My comments will generally agree with those made already the brief responses. My intentions are to present Bible passages that will establish an undeniably acceptable pattern for offering prayer and also to examine Bible passages asserted by some to authorize praying directly to Jesus and hopefully (hopefully) make some logical applications of both sets of passages. Additionally, I will make some miscellaneous comments on the subject.

Ample Bible passages exist that support directing prayers to God the Father as acceptable, authorized, necessary and required (commanded). I suspect that you agree with this point and may be familiar with the following passages. However, by reviewing these passages we place in front of us an established, acceptable pattern of prayer, fully supported by God's word. Having this example pattern before us will be helpful when examining the passages used by some to authorize praying directly to Jesus and trying to establish a similar, acceptable pattern.

Jesus' disciples ask Him to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1. Jesus instructs, "...pray to your Father...", "Our Father in heaven" (Mat. 6:6,9; Luke 11:2). Shortly before Jesus' death He again instructs His disciples that prayer is properly and acceptably addressed to God the Father even though the disciple would be asking through or by the authority of (in the name of) Jesus (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24). Interestingly enough, these passages in John are offered as supporting evidence for praying directly to Jesus (more on that later). Instructions to address prayers to the Father are not limited to Jesus instructing His disciples. Throughout the New Testament, inspired writers wrote of prayers directed to God the Father ( Rom. 1:8; 7:25;14:6-9; Eph. 3:14; 5:20;Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:17; 1 Thes. 3:9). Some of these passages command and authorize the reader to pray, " thanks always for all things..., ' prayer...let your requests be made known...', ' thanks to God...'" Others of these passages mention prayer as a means for the writer to encourage the readers, informing the readers that they are often the subject of his prayers, "...I thank my God..., '...I bow my knee...', '... thanks we can render...'" Regardless of the context, note how consistently God the Father is addressed in prayer. When the writer instructs/commands his readers to pray, the instruction is: Pray to God the Father. When the writer expresses encouragement to his readers, the encouragement is: I thank God. With certainty the Bible supports addressing prayers to God the Father to be an acceptable pattern of praying.

The Bible also teaches that Jesus the ascended Son is an active participant in our prayers. "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Lord Jesus Christ." (1Tim. 2:5). Jesus is the "go-between", our advocate before God (1 John 2:1). Jesus is our High Priest, better and more capable than any high priest afforded to the nation of Israel under the law of Moses (Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25-8:2). Through Jesus we can draw near and have access to the Father (Eph. 2:13-18). Jesus is able to enter into the very presence of God on our behalf interceeding and bearing our petitions (Heb. 6:19-20; 9:24).

Look back over the passages used thus far and notice a particular similarity. When we are praying to the Father, how are we doing it? Through Jesus Christ! With the exception of Mat. 6:6,9; Luke 11:2; Rom. 14:6-9; Eph. 3:14 and 1 Thes. 3:9, every other passage cited above states our access to the Father, including prayer, comes through His son Jesus Christ. Does Jesus serve in an active role with respect to our prayers? By all means He does.

Biblical support for praying to Jesus?
Below are the bulk of the passages I could find being used to support praying directly to Jesus. Let me know if you know of any others and I'll be happy to study them. Following each passage is a brief analysis of the passage with respect to praying to Jesus.

Acts 7:59 - This passage is often used to promote support for praying to Jesus. When read within the context (v. 55-59) in which Stephen spoke "Lord Jesus, recieve my spirit," we find Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, seeing Jesus Himself in a heavenly vision, certainly an unusual and extraordinary experience. Indeed, we would not experience such a vision today and ,hence, this example does not provide a supported pattern for praying to Jesus.

2 Cor. 12:8-9 - That Paul is addressing Jesus when he says, "...I pleaded with the Lord..." is reasonably supported by verse 9 ("...the power of Christ..." However, consideration of the context is again necessary (v. 1-9). Paul is caught up in a heavenly vision. Again, an experience not applicable to you and I today. Like the example above, this passage more logically describes a more direct, possibly face-to-face interaction with Jesus.

Acts 9:13-17 - Again, examination of the context (v. 10-17) shows this example also to be a vision. Yes, Ananias spoke directly to Jesus, but Jesus was speaking directly to him! We cannot establish a reliable pattern for our worship today based on extraordinary circumstances of Jesus interacting directly with those in the first century. That time of such direct interaction (miraculous, heavenly visions, etc.) is no longer necessary to provide us with what we need to know to be acceptable before God (1 Cor. 13:9-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Acts 22:17-21 - Identical circumstances as above. Paul is in a trance and Jesus speaks to him. Read context (v. 17-21).

Rev. 22:20 - Identical circumstances as above. John is in the midst of a heavenly vision. John, Jesus, angels and other heavenly beings are all speaking. Read context (Rev. 1:1, 10).

Acts 1:24-25 - No context here to definitively associate the word "Lord" with either the Father or Jesus. If it does refer to Jesus, consider again that special circumstances are in place. The apostles are special witnesses, ambassadors, messengers (John 16:23; Eph. 6:20; 2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Pet. 1:16-21) personally selected by Jesus who were to have an instrumental role in early stages of the church (Acts 1:8). The choosing of another apostle may have required that special interaction with Jesus again (refer also to Jesus' direct interaction in the selection of Paul as an apostle, Acts 9.) I cannot with certainty conclude this passage is refering to Jesus and would be even more hesitant to assert that it authorizes our praying directly to Jesus in our present time.

Acts 4:23-31- A study of the context of this prayer strongly supports that "Lord" in this passage refers to God the Father. In particular, the additional references to Jesus Christ throughout this prayer (v. 26,27,30) firmly establish that the prayer is addressed to the Father citing offenses committed against Jesus ("His Christ", "Your holy Servant Jesus"). An argument is made that the greek word "kurios" ("Lord") refers to Jesus throughout the book of Acts. I claim no expertise in greek word studies, but what others have written suggests that "kurios" often, but not exclusively refers to Jesus in Acts. The context of this passage dictates that this is an instance that "Lord" refers to the Father, not Jesus.

John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24 - I am not sure why these passages are used to authorize praying to Jesus because they more aptly support the pattern presented earlier: praying to the Father THROUGH Jesus the Son. One of the truths an attentive reading of John 14,15 and 16 will reveal is the access to the Father by way of the Son. Do you want to know the Father? Know Jesus. Do you want to see the Father? See Jesus. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus (Jn. 14:5-11). It is with those precursory statements that Jesus tells the apostles to "...ask in My name..." (Jn. 14:13,14). Keep reading (v. 16, 20) and Jesus' description of Himself seems familiar: the role of a mediator described in the book of Hebrews (reference comments about Jesus' role under the Pattern section).

My intent with these passages has been to "...rightly divide (handle rightly) the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). My intent was not to absolutely dismiss these passages as instances where prayers were directed to Jesus (although the context of most seem to indicate something other than such), but rather consider them in their appropriate context and make logical application for you and I today.

Here are some other points, questions, conclusions, etc. that didn't really fit with flow of the study above. I won't get into a lot of details, but just provide some other points for consideration. If I can pray to Jesus, why can't I pray to the Holy Spirit? I find absolutely no scripture to support prayer to the Holy Spirit. Yet, if I can pray to God the Son why can't I pray to God the Spirit? Who mediates when I pray to Jesus? We have only one mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). What role does the Father have when I pray to Jesus? Some argue that if I can't pray to Jesus, I can't sing to Him or praise Him. The Bible authorizes singing to Jesus and praying to the Father (Col. 3: 16-17; Eph. 5:19-20). Some argue the need to pray directly to Jesus in taking the Lord's Supper. Again, I find absolutely no evidence to justify or even remotely support that argument (Mat. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-22; 1 Cor. 11:23-29).

In the Bible I find a consistent, established, acceptable pattern for prayer. I pray to God the Father (Phil. 4:6). Jesus the Son is our mediator and advocate to God (1 John 2:1; 1 Tim. 2:5). The Holy Spirit interceeds and assists (Rom. 8:26). When I attempt to establish a similar, undeniable pattern for praying to Jesus, not only do I have trouble clearly establishing that pattern, I also generate a multitude of unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) questions. Unanswered questions concerning Bible authority make me very nervous. As mentioned in the previous responses, what benefit is gained by offering prayer directly to Jesus as opposed to adhering to the clear pattern? Jesus, our mediator, certainly hears our supplications, thanks, etc. because he plays an active role in bringing those requests before God. Perhaps a beneficial study to complement this one would be an in-depth look at the roles each in the Godhead fulfills, I know I would profit from such a study. I appreciate your concern for the truth and your concern for having valid Bible authority for what you practice and what you teach others. Please continue "searching the Scriptures" as did those in Berea (Acts 17:11).

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Six passages where prayers are addressed to the Lord Jesus

Post by Marc » Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:54 pm

The Lord Jesus is prayed to in the following six passages:
a. Acts 1:24, 25
b. 2 Corinthians 12:8
c. 2 Timothy 4:18
d. 2 Peter 3:18
e. Revelation 5:11-14
d. Revelation 22:3, 4

a. Acts 1:24, 25 - And they prayed and said, Thou Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.
If this is just a special circumstnace then even the prayer in Acts 4 (see verse 31) is a special circumstance. How mant special circumstances will we allow until we can have the norm?
There are six key terms in helping us decide to whom the prayer is directed. They are Lord, knowest the hearts, show, Thou hast chosen, ministry and apostleship.
a. Lord (Kurios) - Even though the Father is referred to as Lord in the prayer in Acts 4:29 this title according to 1 Corinthians 8:6 where we are to have "one Lord" predominantly refers to the Lord Jesus. To acknowledge Him as such is the theme of the gospel that Paul preached (2 Corinthians 4:5). Peter, who most likely led this prayer, refers to the Lord Jesus as the "Lord of all" in Acts 10:36. More specifically, if we stay with the immediate context of this passage the title spefically refers to the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:6 and 21).
b. Knowest the hearts (kardiognostes) - This word is used only one other time in the Bible and it is applied to God by Peter in Acts 15:8. He is also said to know the hearts in a number of other passages as well (1 Kings 8:39; Jeremiah 17:10; Romans 8:27). It is also true that this same knowledge is given to the Lord Jesus as well by Peter in John 21:17 and by the Lord Jesus Himself in Revelation 2:23.
c. Show (anadeiknumi) - This word is used only one other time in the Bible and that by the same author (Luke) in describing how the Lord in reference to the Lord Jesus "appointed" (anadeiknumi) new disciples in Luke 10:1.
d. Thou hast chosen (eklegomai) - This word applies specifically to what the Lord Jesus had done in the immediate context of the prayer in Acts 1:2. It is also true that the Father chose the apostles for John 17:6 says the Father gave them to the Lord Jesus.
e. Ministry is said to be given by God (2 Corinthians 5:18) as well as the Lord Jesus (Acts 20:24).
f. Apostleship is said to be given by God (Galatians 2:8) and by the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:4, 5).
Whether solely or jointly with the Triune Lord (which is more probable) (1) the evidence shows that the Lord Jesus is being prayed to.

1 The Holy Spirit is referred to as Lord in 2 Corinthians 3:17. He is said to know the hearts in 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11. He is the one who tells the ones ministering to the Lord to "set apart" both Barnabas and Saul for the work for which they are to do.

b. 2 Corinthians 12:8 - Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
Paul was not saying this in a face to face encounter with the Lord Jesus. His vision took place earlier "then" the thorn in the flesh occurred.
Unless the context specifically states otherwise Theos refers to the Father while Kurios refers to the Son (1 Corinthians 8:6). Furthermore, just as Peter said that the Lord Jesus is "Lord of all" in Acts 10:36 Paul says that the Lord Jesus is "Lord of all" as well in Romans 10:12.

A doxology is an act of worship (prayer) where God is given praise, honor or glory. God receives several of these throughout Scripture. Since the Lord Jesus is God He too receives a doxological prayer in 2 Timothy 4:18; 2 Peter 3:18 and Revelation 5:11-14.

c. 2 Timohty 4:18 - The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
If we stay with the context of this passage the use of Lord is used every time to refer to the Lord Jesus. It is found in 4:8; 4:14; 4:17 and 4:22.
In 4:8 it speaks of "the righteous Judge". This is the role of the Lord Jesus in 4:1. Moreover, it speaks of His "appearing". Again this refer to what the Lord Jesus will do in 4:1.
In 4:14 it reads that "the Lord will repay him according to his deeds". Since it is already been established that the Lord refers to the Lord Jesus in 4:8 this proves that this text does as well for the same Greek word used for the Lord "repaying" him in this text is the same Greek word (apodidomai) used for the Lord "awarding" Paul.
In 4:17 Pasul writes that the Lord "stood" with him and strengthened him. We understand from Acts 23:11 that it is the same Lord who stood with him during his ordeal in Jerusalem. Here the Lord said to Paul "Take courage". The Lord Jesus is the only one whoever uses this term (tharseo). Moreover, in the Acts 23:11 passage He said to Paul that he would be a "witness" to Him in Jerusalem while Acts 22:15 reads that Paul was a witness to the Lord Jesus. Finally, the text reads that the Lord would "strengthen" (endunamoo) Paul. This Greek word is used by Paul only two other times in his letters to Timothy and both refer to the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:1)
In 4:22 the Lord refers to the Lord Jesus. For in his epistles that elsewhere conclude with the Lord being with your spirit it always refers to the Lord Jesus and never to the Father (Galatians 6:18; Philippians 4:23; Philemon 25).
Based on every other instance of the use of the "Lord" the context would dictate it is the same Lord Jesus being referred to in 4:18.
Finally, "His heavenly kingdom" in 4:18 refers to the same "kingdom" that belongs to the Lord Jesus in 4:1.

d. 2 Peter 3:18 - but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
The only possible objection against this being a doxology to the Lord Jesus is the fact that in some manuscripts the "Amen" is absent. In response to this two things should be noted. First, the vast majority of manuscripts contain it. Second, a doxology doesn't necessarily have to end with an "Amen". Many prayers in the Bible don't. Furthermore, in Revelation 4:8-11 glory is being ascribed to God without being followed by an "Amen" but certainly they were in an act of worship.

e. Revelation 5:11-14 - And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every cretaed thing which is in heaven and on the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.
Here wes see every created being giving glory to the Lamb (the Lord Jesus). And for those who (wrongly) insist that a doxology must end with an "Amen" notice the four living creatures are included as to the ones giving glory to the Lamb in verses 12 and 13 and they followed this with an "Amen" in verse 14.

Some may insist that just because the Lord Jesus is prayed to that this doesn't necessarily make Him God. The Father could have allowed Him to be able to receive prayers. However, if He be not omniscient (God) and omnipotent (God) why even bother to pray to Him? He may not be able to hear you and if by chance He did He may not be able to always act on your behalf. Such prayers then are a waste of time.

f. Revelation 22:3, 4 - And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve (latreuo) Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
Whereas proskuneo can mean the worship due to God (Revelation 19:10) or giving obeisance to human beings (Revelation 3:9) latreuo is the worship that is due to God alone. Joseph Henry Thayer writes that "in the strict sense; to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship." James Hope Moulton and George Milligan wrote concerning latreuo "in Biblical Greek always refers to the service of the true God or of heathen deities" (The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament; page 371; c. 1982; WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids Michigan).
The Lord Jesus said in Luke 4:8 that latreuo is for God "alone" while Paul in Romans 1:25 states that the creatuer is not to receive latreuo but only the Creator (God).
The natural antecedent of the pronouns point back to the Lamb. In fact, the very same construction is found in Revelation 20:6. It reads "...but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him a thousand years." In verse 4 it specifically points to the Lord Jesus with whom they will be reigning with. Revelation 20:6 is the same construction as Revelation 22:3 and the same Person is being referred to - the Lord Jesus.
There is a strong possibilty however that latreuo in this passage is given both to the Father and to the Lamb. Revelation 11:15 is similar to the construction of Revelation 22:3. It reads "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." This refers both to the Father and to the Son (Exodus 15:18; Luke 1:33). In the Revelation 22:3, 4 text "His bond-servants" refers to the Father and the Son (Revelation 2:20; 7:3), seeing "His face" refers to the Father and the Son (Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2), "His name on their foreheads" refsr to the Father and the Son (Revelation 3:12; 14:1).
So in this passage latreuo can be given to the Son alone or to the Father and the Son but not to the Father alone. Either way the Son receives latreuo. And since He receives latreuo in heaven there is no need to put a restriction on Him receiving latreuo here on earth as well.


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