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Are there any trinitarian Christian denominations that believe one should only pray to the Father, not to Jesus?

If so, what are they and what is there scriptural basis for believing so?

  • Since it is a key part of Trinitarianism that Jesus is equal with the Father, and that they are in many ways the same, it would be extremely unlikely that there would be a ban on praying to God (as Jesus) rather than God (as the Father). – DJClayworth Mar 27 '18 at 21:43
  • Jesus does make it clear that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6) and Paul taught that Jesus is the only mediator between God and Man (1 Timothy 2:5). In addition, Jesus is also a member of the Trinitarian Godhead and, therefore, IS God. So whether we pray to "God," "Father," "Jesus," etc., we are still praying to the same Being. I don't know of any orthodox denominations that would quibble with that. – Zephyr Mar 28 '18 at 5:05
  • There is one anti-Trinitarian Christian denomination I know of that refuses to pray to Jesus - Jehovah's Witnesses. However, they say they are neither Protestant nor Catholic, which is confusing. – Lesley Apr 1 '18 at 14:35
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After hours of research, I have found only one Trinitarian denomination where SOME members believe it is wrong to pray to Jesus. It is the Churches of Christ, not to be confused with the International Churches of Christ. Here is an extract from a relevant article which also shows why the majority of Churches of Christ members don’t have a problem in praying to Jesus:

"Here are the facts—God is God, Jesus is God, and the Spirit is God. The Scriptures affirm this. I’ll not give any Scripture on the fact that the Father is God because that’s a foregone conclusion to most. However, let’s first look to Jesus as God—“Thomas answered [Jesus], ‘My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). If Jesus isn’t God, then why did Thomas say what he said? Therefore, if Jesus is God, He should be afforded all glory and praise just as the Father. Jesus said that He deserved the same honor as His Father (John 5:23) and even received worship (John 9:35–38).

Some believe it wrong to pray to Jesus, and they reason thus, “When Christ prayed to God, He prayed to the Father and not Himself. Just look at the Lord’s Prayer.” That’s true, but in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus didn’t pray for the sick, and yet I’m sure that most of our prayers are limited to praying for the sick. At least, most of our bulletin prayer lists are limited to such. The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t cover all that can be prayed for, and, therefore, to whom we may pray.

If Jesus is God who deserves the same honor as the Father, then why can’t He be addressed in prayer? Stephen prayed to Jesus (Acts 7:59). Paul prayed to Jesus (2 Corinthians 12:8). The Corinthians called on the name of Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2). Those who called on His name were bound by Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:14). Prayers were presented to Jesus, the slain Lamb, in heaven by the twenty-four elders (Revelation 5:8). Time and again, Jesus received prayer. The idea that Christ is anything less than God defies clear passages stating such. “For in [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Just read all of Colossians to see just how much of God Jesus is. And John too." (1)

Trinitarian denominations that uphold the Nicene creed have no problem in praying to Jesus since he is part of the One Being of God. When Trinitarians pray to God, they are praying to all three members of the Godhead.

"The Nicene Creed, accepted and used in the whole church since the 4th century, says of the Spirit: “who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.” This means that all three members of the Trinity were prayed to.

Prayers to Jesus were very frequent, even typical, in the early apocryphal Christian writings, including public/liturgical prayers, though they were not commonly used by the second century apologists. Prayers to Jesus became more frequent in certain areas of Christianity after the 4th century.

Clement of Alexandria (c.150 – c. 215) included a rare prayer to Jesus toward the end of his The Instructor. This prayer appeals to Jesus to perfect believers that they would give thanks and praise to “the unique Father and Son, Son and Father . . . with the Holy Spirit, all in One.” (2)

The only denominations who refuse to pray to Jesus are anti-Trinitarian.

(1) https://start2finish.org/churches-christ-trinitarian/

(2) https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/the-trinity/prayer-and-trinity/

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