Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

Let me explain the question.

The Jews consider Moses and Abraham their main prophets, and they pronounce those two names in the same way that those names were said during their lifetime. So if a Rabbi goes into a time machine and jumps out back in those olden days, then sees Moses and yells 'He ya Moses' , Moses would have turned around since he recognized his own name. Same goes for Muslims, 'Yo Mohammed!', and he probably would at least register that someone is calling him. (in the texts they pray from the names remain how it was then, unchanged, I assume, and not Anglicized).

But if a Christian from an English speaking country would hypothetically travel back in a time machine , and see Jesus with followers walking away, and yell out 'Yo, Jesus', or 'Mr. Christ? Jesus Christ?' chances are that Jesus would not turn around, since that was nothing like the name he used. He had a name Yahushua ben Yosef that he was called by everyone around him I assume.

He never said that I am a man with no name or every name. And the word Christos or Christ, is that even a word in a language that was spoken in Bethlehem at the time or when an apostle said 'You are the Christ' , and we assume 'You are the' was in whatever language they spoke (Hebrew or Aramaic) , so that means a completely different word was used instead of 'Christ' in that phrase, making Jesus Christ to be a name as similar to the original as 'Jukka the Wise' for example.


So my question is,

what makes Christians be certain that their prayers go to the right individual since they are not invoking the name (either Jesus or Christ) that was used during his every day interactions with the apostles, followers, family, friends, coworkers, etc. and the name he, himself introduced himself as?

share|improve this question
1  
Since Jesus knows our hearts better than we do, we are certain He knows we are address Him even if we don't speak Aramaic or Hebrew and even if we speak with really thick accents. When I was in Ukraine, I answered to people who used the long "o" instead of the short "o" in my name (John). –  Narnian Feb 4 at 16:53
1  
Welcome to the site I will not down vote your question since as a new visitor I do not expect you to know all the nuances of the site, but I do heartily recommend that you check out the help section and see what makes a good question and good answer. –  Bye Feb 4 at 17:26
    
@NickNo I don't want to be rude, but this question and your comments in response to the answers makes it seem like you are arguing for the sake of it. –  DJClayworth Feb 4 at 17:53
2  
    
Mod Notice: To commentors, please refrain from using comments as a place to discuss theology or debate the issues raised by a question. If you have a request for clarification or constructive criticism then go for it. If not, please refrain. Or if you have an answer, answer. –  Caleb Feb 4 at 18:15
show 2 more comments

marked as duplicate by David Stratton, Affable Geek, Seek forgiveness, fredsbend, Mawia Feb 5 at 11:53

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

3 Answers

I'm not sure if this is a serious question. It is true that the customary modern English pronunciation of "Jesus" is different from anything we'd have heard in first-century Judaea. However, the overwhelming majority of Christians would not worry at all their prayers being misdelivered to the wrong person.

For one thing, there's no mechanism for prayers being "delivered" to anyone; God hears prayer because he knows the human heart. If you were to pray to someone else, they would not automatically be aware of your words or thoughts. (This is the case even for those Christians who endorse prayer via the saints or angels - it is still God who is doing it all.) Since God knows you intend to pray to him, in the person of Jesus or otherwise, everything is fine.

This was certainly the sense of the Church Fathers; Tertullian and Cyprian both wrote "God listens to the heart, not the voice" (Deus non vocis sed cordis auditor est, in Cyprian's De Dominica oratione and Tertullian's De oratione), which has become something of a proverb. This comes from powerful witness in the Old and New Testaments.

For example, there is Psalm 119:145,

With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD.

Ambrose's commentary on this verse says, "Let the heart be the first to cry, if we wish that what we utter should be heard by God" (due to the Latin numeration of the Psalms, this can be found as his commentary on Psalm 118, not 119). This is to say that the primary force of prayer is in the intention, rather than in the specific words used.

In Romans 8:26-27, Paul also says:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

He calls us to have faith in God's will for us, and his care for us, despite our inability to ask for the right thing, or in the right way. The Lord's Prayer itself expresses this faith. As Jesus says in his introduction to that prayer (Matthew 6:7-8),

When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Given this, there does not seem to be a basis for worry that God will not hear our prayers if we use the wrong pronunciation of Jesus' name - or even if we say nothing out loud at all.

(Scripture quotations are from the NRSV.)

share|improve this answer
    
You answer that God knows all so it doesn't matter what name you use since God know who you mean anyhow. How does that work in light of the commandment ("You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain"). So does this refer to Jesus or Yahushua or whichever way you decide to name God yourself? –  NickNo Feb 4 at 17:17
    
@NickNo If Jesus is God then the commandment ought to encompass him; though "taking a name in vain" may be understood to cover all sorts of things, including disrespectful or careless speech, attributing malice or evil to God, swearing rash oaths, claiming divine endorsement for ones own selfish actions, etc. A broad interpretation is consistent with the Sermon on the Mount, as well as with Jewish law and practice which does not limit the "protection" of the commandment to the Divine Name alone, but to all kinds of names and descriptions of God. –  James T Feb 4 at 17:27
    
Thanks James T. This is a serious question and a logical one as well and I appreciate you taking the time to give your take on this. –  NickNo Feb 4 at 17:30
add comment

When the Apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he did not tell the to pray 'Our Jesus', rather he told them to pray Our Father who art in Heaven.

Jesus only told them that what they asked in his name they would be given:

John 16:23 KJV

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

As I read that Jesus is saying always pray to the father, and if we ask in Jesus name we will receive it, however I consider that to be conditional in that we need to be asking for something to do with our Kingdom life, and not frivolous things.

but you may read those scriptures differently.

share|improve this answer
    
you are hitting my question right there, "in his name", so if praying to the wrong name , how is that requirement being fulfilled? –  NickNo Feb 4 at 17:33
    
Praying in the name of Jesus is not a REQUIREMENT it is a choice. –  Bye Feb 4 at 17:35
    
@ DJClayworth ???????? –  Bye Feb 4 at 18:09
    
@DJClayworth are you down voting my answer because you feel that I have misquoted the Bible, or are you down voting because you disagree with my opinion. either way you are misinterpreting something as I find no reason to feel that the Holy Spirit gave you the correct information and false impressions to me. –  Bye Feb 4 at 18:31
    
@CecilBeckum I didn't downvote your answer. In fact I quite like your answer. I realize as I write this that you may have taken my above comment as directed at you. It was directed at NickNo. –  DJClayworth Feb 4 at 18:33
show 1 more comment

I may not resonate to the sound "Robaire" or something like that, but I realize that such is how maybe a Frenchman may refer to me. (I don't even like "Rob", sounds a little upper-crust to me.)

I don't think that God is listening so much to the acoustical vibrations of air molecules at our supper table or worship/prayer space. I think that God is "listening" (not limited to the sense of hearing or sound) to the "vibrations" (not associated with any physical quantity) of the "heart" (not really about the blood pump). It's the cry (and gratitude and whatever else we lay at Jesus' feet) of our spirit that God hears.

We just need to remember what the important stuff is.

share|improve this answer
    
If God is not listening then why did Jesus and Christian leaders today pray out loud? Is this theory of 'vibrations' vs. 'sound' taught? Since reading the bible I got the feeling that names are very important. I know little of Christianity, besides reading bible as a book. –  NickNo Feb 4 at 17:26
3  
When you write here, please make the effort to properly capitalize. This isn't Facebook, and our style guide would be more equivalent to what a university would expect to see in a thesis paper than what you might doodle to your friends. If nothing else use something like this on your text before you post. –  Caleb Feb 4 at 18:06
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.