Prayer is a basic requirement in the Christian faith. The prayers are directed to God, who can answer according to his will. Some Christians struggle to understand how to pray and who to pray to. They often feel guilty when they direct their prayers to Jesus. But is praying to Jesus bad?
The numerous examples of the apostle Paul praying to Jesus indicate that it is not bad to pray to Jesus, and Christians can pray to him. For instance, he prayed to Jesus for the thorn in his flesh to be removed: Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 2 Corinthians 12:8. Dr. Mark Bird notes that in this instance, Lord refers to Jesus. Also, Jesus accepts prayers and worship.
In this article, we will find out whether Christians can pray to Jesus instead of God, whether Jesus accepts prayers, whether Jesus answers prayers and if praying in the name of Jesus is the same as praying to Jesus. We will also discuss who the Bible says we should pray to and what the Bible says about praying to Jesus.
Can a Christian pray to Jesus instead of God the Father?
Christians can pray to Jesus because the Bible implies that he has no different from the Father. Praying to Jesus is praying to the Father. Philip, a disciple of Jesus, wanted him to show them the Father. Jesus responded that whoever has seen him has seen the Father. Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe I am in the Father and the Father in Me? John 14:8-10. Just before Philip told Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus had indicated that whoever has seen him has seen the Father. Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that there was no difference between him and the Father. As such, praying to Jesus is praying to the Father, and praying to the Father is praying to Jesus.
Additionally, Paul noted that Jesus is the express image of God. It says: He is the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15. This verse also implies that there is no difference between Jesus and the Father. An express image indicates strict similarities between Jesus and God. Since the Father is invisible, we can only know him by looking at Jesus Christ. In that case, it indicates no difference between the two. Praying to Jesus is therefore praying to the Father.
It is crucial to understand who Jesus is as prophesied before he came. In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet Isaiah indicated that Jesus is a mighty God and Everlasting Father. For unto us, a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In these verses, Isaiah was prophesying about the birth of Jesus. Isaiah called Jesus mighty God and Everlasting Father to indicate that Jesus has no difference from the Father; in other words, Jesus is the Father who has taken a body so that he can dwell with humans in the world. Therefore, Christians can pray to Jesus because he is the everlasting Father.
Does Jesus accept prayers?
Paul prayed to Jesus in many instances, as indicated in his epistles. He also indicates that Christians prayed to Jesus. His prayers to Jesus indicate that Jesus accepts prayers. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord in every place, both theirs and ours. There are two essential things to note in these verses. First, Paul implies the churches in Corinth were continually praying to Jesus. Second, Paul indicated that he was also praying to Jesus. Having written most of the New Testament, Paul is an authority we can trust on whether to pray to Jesus and whether Jesus accepts prayers. John Piper indicates that He accepts prayers since we pray through Jesus’s name. Praying to Jesus indicates that he accepts prayers.
Apart from Paul, Stephen, a man full of the holy spirit, prayed to Jesus just before he died. The Bible says: And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Acts 7:59. Note that the Bible indicates that Stephen was calling on God. It also indicates which God Lord Jesus is. The verse implies that Stephen was praying to God, and the name of that God is Lord Jesus. Being an apostle filled with the holy spirit and a great understanding of the word, he understood that Jesus accepted prayers and thus prayed to him.
Does Jesus answer prayers?
The Bible implies that Jesus answers prayers. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:14. Jesus persuades his disciples to pray in his name. He then assures them that if they ask anything, or in other words, if they pray in his name, he will do what they have asked. In this verse, he specifically said that he would do what they prayed for. Jesus implied that he answers prayers, and we are sure he will answer whenever we pray.
Is praying in Jesus’ name the same as praying to Jesus?
Jesus implied that praying in his name is the same as praying to him. In John 14:13, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray in his name. He then tells them that whatever they ask in his name, he will do it. The fact that Jesus says that he will do it show that he meant that they should pray to him. If he wanted them to pray to the Father, he would have indicated that the Father would do it. He repeated the statement “I will do it” twice in John 14:13 and John 14:14 to show that the prayers were to be directed to him because he was the one to do it or to answer them. Therefore, praying in Jesus’ name is the same as praying to Jesus. Got Question Ministries say that Praying in the name of Jesus also means praying according to the will of God.
Who does the Bible say we should pray to?
The Bible does not explicitly say who we should pray to between the Father and Jesus. The reason is that the Bible has not distinguished between the two. The Bible does not mention God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Such is only mentioned in some denominations, creating an impression that there are three deities. The Bible indicates that there is only one God: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! Deuteronomy 6:4. Creating a distinction that indicates three instead of one goes against bible teaching. Don Stewart says that we should pray to God the Father through Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit. With the understanding that there is only one God, we know we should not try to distinguish who we are praying to.
What does the Bible say about praying to Jesus?
The Bible provides indications and examples of people praying to Jesus. For instance, in John 14:13-14, Jesus indicates that you can pray to him, and after doing so, he will answer. Grant notes that Jesus reiterated that he would answer prayers to emphasize that prayers should be made to him. The examples of Paul and Stephen praying to Jesus imply that prayers can be directed to Jesus.
To Whom Do We Pray: the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?
What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.