Is it OK to pray to Jesus?

Is it OK to pray to Jesus?

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In answer to this, I need to affirm that Jesus is God in every sense of that word and is equal in authority to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. We should be praying to God and not to anyone else. This means that it is perfectly OK, theologically, to pray to Jesus. If prayer means talking to God, then talking to Jesus is fine.

That is not all we need to say on the topic, however. We need to look at how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. The Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6 shows us that Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray to their Father in heaven, not to him. In fact, when Jesus talks about prayer, he always talks about us speaking to a Father who loves us and is keen to give good gifts to his children. Jesus never tells his disciples to pray to him.

When we look at the example of prayers in the letters in the New Testament, we see the same thing. Prayers are directed to the Father. You can see this in Eph 1:17, Eph 3:14, Phil 1:3 and many other places as well. If we are to take the New Testament prayers as our example, and I argue that’s a great thing to do, we will pray to the Father and not to Jesus.

All of this leads us to the conclusion that, in general, Christian prayer should be directed to our Father in heaven rather than to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It’s not wrong to pray to Jesus or the Spirit, but the Biblical instruction and example is to pray to the Father.

One reason why we get confused on this is because we have some misunderstandings about the Trinity. We shouldn’t think of Jesus as the one who loves us while the Father is some distant being and the Spirit some force we don’t understand. No, all the members of the Trinity work together to save us. For God (the Father) so loved the world that he sent his only Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life. How do we come to believe? The Spirit applies Jesus’ work on the cross to our hearts. All the members of the Trinity are involved; it’s not like Jesus loves us and the others are more distant.

Related to this is the way that most Christians finish their prayers: in Jesus’ name, Amen. We have access to God in prayer because Jesus died for us and rose again. He paid the debt that separated us from God, turning God from our enemy into our friend. Finishing prayers like this is not just a habit or a tradition. It reminds us, every time we do it, that prayer is possible due to Jesus. It reminds us that God the Father loves us and Jesus died for us. Simple patterns in everyday prayers help us understand the Trinity better.

Pray to the Father. He knows what we need before we ask, and he loves to give good gifts to his children.