This question is for anyone who belongs to a denomination that supports praying to Jesus instead of praying to God the Father.

I was always puzzled by why the vast majority of Christians choose to pray to Jesus instead of God the Father. I have studied the New Testament, and it seems to me that Jesus' ministry taught about God our Father in Heaven, the Kingdom of God which is coming on Earth, and how to get there. Jesus taught that he was set apart from the beginning of the world, BY GOD, and he was the Messiah, king of the Jews, and through whom everyone is saved.

Jesus himself says to pray to the Father:

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

So why don't Christians simply pray as Jesus taught? Jesus did say that if we pray "in his name" then we will be given what we pray for. But that's not the same as praying To Jesus. Matt 6:9, 1 Pet 1:17, Eph 3:14 all say to pray to the Father.

If Jesus happens to be God, then what is the advantage of praying to Jesus (an english translation of his name), anyway, and not the Father? That is the first part of the question.

And the second part is more serious. If Jesus isn't actually God, then it's idol worship to raise a doctrine of man (such as the ones enshrined by the first seven ecumenical councils) to the level of knowing who is God and who isn't. In order to pray to Jesus instead of God the Father, one has to be absolutely sure the humans living after Jesus got it right. Because this last part involves a possible severe violation of the second commandment, I want to clearly illustrate why I don't think we have reached that standard. (I am not saying there isn't evidence that one can use to support a theory, but that there isn't 100% proof, and therefore it's dangerous.)

In your answers, if you support praying to Jesus as non-risky, you'll have to show that we can be sure 100% that Jesus is God. In order to do that, please address the following points, either individually (which is preferred) or make some argument as to why all these problems can be ignored and we are sure that Jesus would have wanted us to pray to him instead of the Father:

1) It is true that many statements were made about Jesus during his lifetime, some by Jesus himself, but none of them said that he was God, even if they did give him incredible attributes. Jesus himself never seems to have taught that he was God. That seems to have only been claimed by people after his death. For example, the trial was about his blasphemy, but he never agreed he was God, but only that he was the Messiah. In fact, in the prophecies about Messiah, he was supposed to be a man, not God himself. It was the Jews, like the Christians today, that seem to be extrapolating his claims too far.

2) In John 10:33 when they picked up stones to stone him, and he asked "for which of my good works do you stone me" and they said "'We are not stoning you for any good work,' they replied, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'" Jesus did not clearly confirm that he claims to be God. On the contrary he invoked an example where mere people were called "gods" and then said he was greater than those people. Since he could have easily affirmed his claim right there, but didn't, I don't think that is proof of his being God either. If anything it can equally be proof that he did not wish to be considered God and was explaining his position.

Having read the Gospels I see many verses of Jesus saying things that imply that he is not God, but the Son sent into the world and given authority. To be 100% sure that Jesus is God, this has to be addressed.

3) In the garden of Gethsemene, Jesus prayed

nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.

Shouldn't God have the same will as Himself? To be 100% sure that Jesus is God, this has to be addressed. To be 100% sure that Jesus is God, this has to be addressed.

4) In fact in John 14:31 Jesus makes a distinction between himself and the Father:

"I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me"

5) In John 14:28, Jesus explicitly says that the Father is greater than he is

You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

6) In Matthew 24:36, Jesus mentions himself as not knowing something the Father knows:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

7) In Mark 10:18, he rebukes people for calling him good and then says only God is good:

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

8) John 5:30 NIV Jesus explicitly admits that all his power comes from God and not himself:

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

9) 1 Timothy 2:5 says

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

10) Even John's teaching about The Logos, often used to prove Jesus is God, doesn't unambiguously say that. At most, it shows that the Logos is an attribute of God, such as His personified Wisdom, as a reference to creation in Genesis 1

I will attempt myself to briefly answer the above to show what I'm looking for as an answer, but to be honest I am not 100% convinced that Jesus is God. And therefore I find it risky to pray to Jesus, and I wonder why Christians are ok with it, and what advantage they have in the first place.

  • 1
    I see that you have tagged this question with jehovahs-witnesses. They are known to distinguish God the Father and Jesus. They are essentially non-Trinitarians, and that may explain why they probably will not pray to Jesus. Only to God do they pray.
    – Double U
    May 17 '14 at 21:35
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    Doesn't really answer your question and I see that it's targeted at Jehovahs Witnesses, but from an evangelical Christian standpoint, if Jesus isn't God then Christians are condemned by God anyway because we don't keep the law - praying to Jesus wouldn't make it better or worse.
    – Greg
    May 18 '14 at 21:40
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    This question is way too long!
    – curiousdannii
    May 18 '14 at 21:57
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    Considering that you have/had several questions that all ask/ed essentially the same thing from the same stand point its pretty obvious that this is at best a lengthy duplicate and at worst a lengthy agenda based statement of opinion. Then you answer your own question which makes me think you aren't looking for answers to something you don't understand but rather confirmation to an opinion you already have. So for those reasons I'm flagging.
    – Tyler
    May 19 '14 at 14:33
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    As @curiousdanni says, this question is too long, and most of it is given over to the deity of Jesus, and not to the question of praying. As Tyler says, these questions do all seem to be variations on the same theme. I encourage you to please, please try to be more concise and focused. The more and longer your questions get, the harder it is to find the motivation to read all the way through rather than just thinking 'oh, him' and downvoting. Not nice, but that tends to be how it works.
    – Benjol
    May 20 '14 at 4:44

Here is an attempted answer as I mentioned above, to further illustrate what I am looking for in the question. I hope it won't get too many downvotes for admitting that I don't know the final answer, but only addressing the question in the proper form.

First of all, we can't know anything 100%, and we just have belief. But in fact, many Christians believe they have the Holy Spirit convicting them of the Truth of the Gospel, and the inerrancy of the Bible that we have today.

Therefore, even though the Gospel was written by men, it contains the truth about Jesus Christ. The Churches did in fact argue over the nature of Jesus for a while, but ultimately they held ecumenical councils beginning with the Council of Nicaea, at which they declared the proper doctrine as a creed.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the begotten of God the Father, the Only-begotten, that is of the essence of the Father. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten and not made; of the very same nature of the Father, by Whom all things came into being, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Who for us humanity and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made human, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. By whom He took body, soul, and mind, and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance. He suffered, was crucified, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body, [and] sat at the right hand of the Father. He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, in the uncreated and the perfect; Who spoke through the Law, prophets, and Gospels; Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles, and lived in the saints. We believe also in only One, Universal, Apostolic, and [Holy] Church; in one baptism in repentance, for the remission, and forgiveness of sins; and in the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies, and the Kingdom of Heaven and in the everlasting life.

Anyone who is a mainstream Christian today MUST believe in this Creed, or may be excommunicated by the Church.

So therefore, those who believe in this Creed (a vast majority of Christians) believe Jesus is God. Most of them may not know how the Church ultimately arrived at this conclusion, but they trust the early Church leaders to have figured it out correctly in the first few centuries.

Given this, it says clearly that Jesus is God in the creed. And therefore it's completely interchangeable what name you use. As for why Christians do it -- it is because the person praying to Jesus feels gratitude and love for the person of Jesus coming to save him or her through the sacrifice on the cross. And to feel this more personally, they pray to Jesus, their personal savior.

As for the questions "do we know 100%" -- no, we only have belief. And Christians believe in the Nicean Creed, so that's that. We don't know what the 1-10 above really mean, but anyone who believes Nicean Creed is true continues to believe it and can try to explain them without worrying too much about the possibility that Jesus isn't God. Here is how one might address it:

1) Jews didn't extrapolate too far. It was perfectly reasonable at that time, given the context, to assume that Jesus' claim to be the "Son of God" is the same as being "God", and "you say that I am" means "yes I am God".

70They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” 71Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

2) Jews were better placed to know what Jesus' words meant, even if he didn't explicitly say he is God. And therefore we today should also believe what these Jews believed about Jesus' claims. When Jesus said "the father is in me and I in the Father" he means that he is God. No further questions.

Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

3) Jesus as a Human had human limitations and instincts such as self preservation and therefore he was saying that God's will should be done, as God is omniscient while Jesus in the Human body did not in fact possess omniscience.

4) Well why wouldn't he? That doesn't mean he isn't God.

5) Here we are going to suppose that Jesus meant this was only true while he was in his Earthly body.

6) As I said before, Jesus in the Human body did not in fact possess omniscience. And that statement was only meant about him at that moment, later the Son would be omniscient.

7) Here Jesus is actually telling the young man he is God! You see, the young man simply used a title used for rabbis. And Jesus challenged him on that title and hinted that only God is good, and wink wink guess what, the young man was speaking to God incarnate!

8) Once again earthly body. This was never supposed to be placing limitations on Jesus for all time.

9) Yes, Jesus was a man but also God. The nicene Creed is clear about it.

10) It's pretty close to God, are you really going to split hairs here? Through him all things were made. So it's pretty clear that the Logos, which we understand here as Jesus, is before all things that God created, so praying to him is OK.

Ultimately, even as I attempted to answer the above, I noticed that my explanations DO NOT RULE OUT the opposite position, but merely are alternatives. So there is still a chance that Jesus isn't God. But that would mean the Nicene Creed is wrong, and whoever believes that is a different sort of Christian, one who challenges man made doctrines no matter the authority. And perhaps Jesus taught that the authority of the Church is supreme, in which case Protestants in general should watch out going against it.

So do the benefits of praying to Jesus outweigh the risks? To me they do not. But then again, I am always questioning and still looking for the truth. I hope one day I will find it.

  • "9) Yes, Jesus was a man but also God. The Nicene Creed is clear about it." for us Modalists, i think that is the primary issue. everything else are details Christians can interpret, speculate, or squabble over as they see fit. May 17 '14 at 22:40
  • By mainstream Christians do you mean, western churches that are a minority in the world today? You will have to prove that it is perfectly reasonable for the Jews to assume, 'Son of God = God'. Son of God is a Jewish term with a specific meaning that is not the same as Apollo. Too tiring to crit the rest. Maybe make your questions and and answers one thing at a time. May 18 '14 at 10:11
  • @gideonmarx, you sound like a Jew who is considering how to be a Christian. I am in the same boat. I am curious if you'd like to continue this in chat somehow, I'd like to know what conclusions you've come to. Nov 5 '14 at 2:21

First is to understand the Name. God the Father's name is (יהוה).

Now to understand why Jesus came "Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”" (Exodus 20:19 NKJV)

Yet with instructions we where to be given a display model to see how to fulfill these commandments. "I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him." (Deuteronomy 18:18 NKJV)

Notice that it is stated "My words in His mouth" and "He shall speak to them all that I command Him."

In 1 John we find "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

Since this Prophet was to only be saying the things that where commanded to him to say. This prophet was a true representation for God so he came in the Fathers Name "I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive." (John 5:43 NKJV)

So when we are praying to Jesus we are praying to God, because Jesus is God the Father's Name "Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”" (John 12:28 NKJV)

So to understand how this is so, an understanding to word structure is needed. In English if I say "Ball" that has one meaning, yet if I say "Baseball" a more defined word has been created. To Hebrew for the name of Jesus is (ישוע).

The change to the word changed the meaning to the word. (ישוע) means "יהוה Salvation".

Phonetically after much research I have come to the conclusion that the Fathers name (יהוה) is either truly "Yioua" or "Yiou" Yes you will find many places that say that his name is pronounced "Yahweh" but I have found resources from Hebrew Phonetical teachers that the (Yah) is more correctly (Yih) and that the today's hebrew "Vav" historically had the sound of "OO". I will explain why I feel that is "OU" soon.

Now the Son's name is pronounce in this version of the Hebrew (Yeshou), many believe that it should be pronounced "Yeshua" but with more studied into Hebrew Phonetics I found that the Hebrew letter "Ayin" at the end of a word is considered silent. And I have reason to perceive that it is indeed silent. Now in an alternate version of the meaning "יהוה Salvation" the pronunciation could indeed sound like (Yeoush). When both forms are squished together you end up with (Yeshoush).

Now the Greek rendering of the name of Jesus is Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous). The Greek "I" has the sound of the "Y". The Greek had no letter for the "SH" sound. Therefore the Sigma was used a single "S". So by sound the Greek Rendering would sound like (Yesous). See how the early church fathers used the "OU" in the spelling. So I am simply trusting them. Now some research into the history of the letter "J" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J). You will find that it was a fancy "I". So Iēsous became Jēsous, and when spelled in English became simplified to Jesus.

So not only do we have proof that the Son came in the Father's Name and saying only what the Father Say's. We can learn from scripture one more thing. "He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him." (Isaiah 59:16 NKJV)

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 NKJV)

Immanuel means "God with us" so used more as a title.

Both chapters, Isaiah 53 and 54 is Gods amazing presentation to the world about what is to come. But specifically for the references that I need.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)

For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. (Isaiah 54:5 NKJV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— (1 John 1:1-2 NKJV)

  • If I missed any points can you let me know?
    – Decrypted
    May 17 '14 at 20:14
  • Thank you, I find the etymology very plausible given what I know of ancient Hebrew. So are you saying that Jesus is one of God's names and people are just praying to God using this name? I would like if you addressed why people don't just pray to "Our Father in Heaven" as Jesus taught. Many Hebrew names exist such as Israel, Daniel, Samuel which literally means Name of God, and Yeshua was also the name of Joshua in the OT. If there is a chance Jesus isn't God then isn't praying to the Jesus the Son of God risking idol worship? May 17 '14 at 20:30
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    So make a lot of assertions without much proof. On Mi Yodeya you would be ripped to pieces for an answer like this but I'll ask only a simple thing. Please prove that Immanuel was not used as a name but as a title. May 18 '14 at 10:19
  • Please provide evidence that the tetragrammaton is the name of only God the Father. I have frequently heard it said that it is the name of God as a whole, of the all persons of the trinity.
    – curiousdannii
    May 18 '14 at 21:59
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    Please take this to Mi Yodeya and they can explain it to you from an expert point. It is complex but as I said, an old argument. May 19 '14 at 16:05

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