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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Is it Proper to Directly Pray to Jesus?

Many Theologians have perpetuated the idea that we can pray directly to Jesus because it agrees with their theology. Yet, in examining the scriptural evidence we can see that this teaching is not Biblical.

First, we have the explicit statements by Jesus himself which show that prayer is only to be addressed to the "Father" who's name is Jehovah (Mt.6:9; Ps.83:18, KJV). Every direction by Jesus clearly states that prayers must go to God the Father "through" or "in" Christ's name, not "to" Jesus. This being the case, then it seems that any Christian who prayed to Jesus would be going contrary to Christ's direct teaching.

Second, we have Christ's own example where he always addressed his prayers to the "Father" as his God. Further we have the example of the Apostles; in every instance where the one prayed to is explicitly mentioned it is always addressed to the Father not Jesus (Col 1:3).

(As a side point, since prayer is always worshipful address of a superior, the fact that Jesus himself prayed to God the Father is evidence that Jesus is not Almighty God (Jn.14:28).

(Christ's example when it came to choosing the apostles demonstrates that prayers were addressed to his God, the father (Lk.6:12,13; Jn.10:29; 17:2,6,9). Scripture also shows that only God the Father who has ultimate authority to answer prayers (Rm.1:3; 1Cor.12:27). At Mat.20:23 Jesus made it very clear that he could not be the one who is prayed to in order to fill this position in the foundation of the heavenly kingdom..)

Scripturally, prayer is addressed only to the Father as the ultimate source of power; then Christ, as God's representative, can act on our behalf. In fact, all help requested of God in prayer comes "through" Jesus (Php.1:9-11; 4:6,7).

To support the idea that we can pray to Jesus, some point to where Acts 7:59 where some translations read that Stephen "prayed" to Jesus. But, the Greek word is EPIKALOUMENON. It literally means "appeal, invoke, aid, request, call, or call on." (Strong's Greek Dictionary pg. 31; Thayer's Greek Lexicon pg. 239). So this word does not necessarily mean prayer. Paul used the same Greek verb when he "called upon Caesar" (Ac.25:11,12). Now, because Paul "calls upon Caesar" does it mean that Paul was praying to Caesar? Certainly, Caesar was not God, nor did Paul "pray" to Caesar. But he did make an “appeal” to him as one in a position of authority. Thus, we see that "calling upon" Jesus hardly means that Stephen is offering a "prayer," or "worshipful address" to Jesus (cf. 1Cor.1:2).

Therefore, The Interpreter's Bible states that the phrase "to call on the name of our Lord . . . means to confess his lordship rather than to pray to him."

In contrast, Matthew 6:9 tells us to "pray" to the Father. The Greek word here translated "pray" is "PROSEUKHMAI." This word means to "pray, offer worshipful [address], supplicate." (Thayer's Greek Lexicon pg. 545; Strong's Greek Dictionary pg. 61) It is NOT the same word as used in Acts 7:59.

So, while showing that we can call upon the name of Jesus and request help from as Stephen did, the Bible does not indicate that we should pray to him. Jesus clearly promised his disciples: "If you ask anything in my name, I will do it." The prayer is addressed to Jehovah God—but in Jesus' name. (John 14:13, 14; 15:16; Eph.5:20; Col.3:17).

Further, 1 Tim. 2 :5 explicitly states that Jesus is the "mediator" between God and humans: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus." As usual, Jesus is grammatically separated as distinct from GOD.

So, as described in Scripture, prayers are a form of worship that belongs exclusively to Almighty God. By addressing all our prayers to Jehovah God, we give evidence that we are Christian since we follow Jesus' direction to pray: "Our Father in the heavens."

SOURCE: This is the answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

Also see:

Prayer - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)


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