Who's Jesus? In order to get to know Jesus Christ better, we should also investigate how people who lived in connection with God dealt with HIM. This article is about whether people are allowed to pray directly to Jesus Christ.
The series of "Study carefully" is intended to encourage you to read the Bible carefully. When the Apostle Paul came to Berea (Acts 17:10-11), people believed him, not because he is a special authority, but because they carefully examined his testimony against the Scriptures. This attitude is praised by God's Word and thus by God as "noble".
God therefore has no difficulty when people rethink their life of faith on the basis of his word and, if necessary, change it.
Unless otherwise stated, the scriptures are taken from the New World Translation (NW) of Jehovah's Witnesses. Where this is not the case, the revised Elberfelder Translation is used. This has the following reason: The name Jehovah is not to be found in the basic text of the Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament), but in the (NW) this was inserted over 200 times. This leads the reader to attribute some statements to God the Father, with the biblical context aiming at the Son.
God says very clearly that every person can and should pray to Him.
All people who are in distress are called to call on God. If someone has now experienced the help of God, the conversation with God will continue to be important to him. He will then glorify God. God wants you to pray to him. The Bible is full of events that make it clear that believing people pray to God.
"What does the Bible really teach?" This book, published by the Jehovah's Witness Religious Community, is intended to give thought-provoking impulses on the subject: May we pray to Jesus? In Chapter 17, "Closer to God in prayer" is found in paragraph 9:
9 To whom should we pray? Jesus taught his followers to pray: "Our Father in heaven ..." (Matthew 6:9). So we may only address our prayers to "our Father," Jehovah God. However, Jehovah expects us to acknowledge the position of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
The question about this passage is: To whom should we pray and through whom? The answer from this passage must therefore be: We should only pray to Jehovah God.
The listener of prayer. The entire Bible account testifies that prayers should only be addressed to Jehovah (Ps 5:1, 2; Mat 6:9), that he is the "hearer of the prayer" (Ps 65:2; 66:19), and that he has the power to do something for the petitioner (Mar 11:24; Eph 3:20). Whoever prays to false gods and their idols is exposed as foolish, for idols can neither hear nor act, and the gods they represent are unworthy to be compared with the true God. (Volume 1 p.851)
The only prayer is to Jehovah God.
A prayer directly addressed to Jesus Christ is therefore excluded.
Psalm 91.15 He'll call me and I'll answer him. I will be with him in distress.
Psalm 145:18 Jehovah is near everyone who calls him. To all who call on him in truth.
These scriptures make one thing very clear: calling is praying. When you call on God, you pray to God. (See also 2.Sam.22,4; Ps.80,18; Ps.86,5-6; Ps.99,6 etc.) We could now say: God is called upon by speaking or praying to Him. Jehovah is one, and so any attempt to prove that prayer is also made to Christ is out of the question.
But does the Bible also show this humanly logical conclusion? Could it be that our mind (Pr 3:5) cannot comprehend the greatness of God (Isa 55:8-9)? Do the disciples pray to their Lord Jesus?
1 Corinthians 1,1-2 Paul, called by God's will to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Sosthenes, our brother, to the assembly of God which is in Corinth, to you who are sanctified in communion with Christ Jesus, to be called saints, together with all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of their Lord and ours everywhere.
Christ is being called! He is called by all saints, i.e. by all Christians! The Greek word "epjkaloumenois" used in 1 Corinthians 1:2 is the callers. Thus the Christians are called the "callers of the name of Jesus". Or in other words, Christians are those who pray to Jesus.
Also in the New Testament, "epjkaloumenois" is "called on" for God the Father needed. He is thus called in the same way as the Son.
1 Peter 1:17 If you also call upon the Father, who impartially judges the work of each one, your walk will lead you with fear during the time of your strangeness.
Some try to see a difference between the father calling and the son calling. It is said that only the Father is called, and only through the Lord Jesus. In practice, this means that the Father is the only address to whom a person prays. To him, the Father alone, is spoken in prayer. Praise, thanksgiving and petitions are offered to Him alone. The Lord Jesus should make this prayer pleasant for the Father. Therefore one prays in the end: "In the name of your beloved Son Jesus Christ".
In the picture, the Father is the one to whom the letter is addressed, and the Lord Jesus is the stamp that first validates the letter and brings it to the recipient. Or the Lord Jesus is like the telephone line or the telephone and the Father is the one to whom the telephone call applies.
The father picks up the phone and he is spoken to. Is there this difference in "calling" really? Is it wrong to start a prayer that way? "Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for sacrificing yourself for me."?
The Bible isn't just a book that says you should pray. It also shows how the first Christians prayed. You can learn the theory in the practice of that time. What was it like with the first Christians?
1. indictment – worship of christians
Festus, the then Roman responsible for the city of Caesarea, has a problem. His predecessor Felix had left the apostle Paul in prison. Since there is no clear charge against the Romans, Festus discusses the whole matter with King Agrippa. He says about the Jews:
Acts of the Apostles 25:19 They just had some disputes with him about their own worship of the deity and about a certain Jesus who was dead, from whom Paul kept claiming he was alive.
So it was known that the Jews pray differently from the Christians.
2. the incident – Ananias and Paul
Acts 9:13-22 13 And Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many about this man how much damage he hath done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14. And here he has the authority from the chief priests to put all, calling upon your name, in shackles. 15. But the Lord said to him, Go away, for this man is a chosen vessel for me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and sons of Israel. 016 For I will show him clearly how much he must suffer for my name. 017 Then went Ananias and came into the house, and he laid his hands on him, and said, Saul's brother the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you in the street where you came, sent me that you might again see and be filled with the Holy Spirit. 18 And immediately it fell from his eyes like scales, and he could see again, and he arose and was baptized, 19. and he took food and came to strength. He stayed a few days with the disciples in Damascus 20. and immediately began to preach to Jesus in the synagogues that he is the Son of God. 021 And all they that heard him were astonished, and said: Isn't that the man who, among those in Jerusalem who call that name, wreaked havoc and came here precisely for the purpose of leading them bound to the chief priests? 22nd Saul, however, continually acquired even more strength and confused the Jews who dwelt in Damascus when he logically proved that this is the Christ.
It is clear from this text that
With this name the name Jesus is meant. Christians were not distinguished from Jews by using the name Jehovah in prayer, but by prayer to Jesus. This made the Christians worthy of persecution for the Jews. It is also worth mentioning in this context that Paul should bear the name of Jesus to the nations and suffer for him.
3. the death of Stephanus
Acts of the Apostles 7:55-60 55 And when he was full of the Holy Ghost, and looked firmly toward heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56. and he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. 57. And they cried with a loud voice, and shut their ears, and fell upon him with one accord. 58. And when they had cast him out of the city, they stoned him. And the witnesses took off their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59. And they stoned Stephen, who prayed and said: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! 60. And kneeling down he cried with a loud voice: Lord, do not attribute this sin to them! And when he had said this, he passed away.
The biblical text proves
4. the recommendation of the apostle John
1 John 5:13-15 13 I write these things unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, ye who believe in the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that he hears us, regardless of what we pray according to his will. 15 And when we know that he hears us in what we always ask, we know that we will have the requested things, because we have them asked from him.
Christians believe in the person (name) of the Lord Jesus. They have to him that he hears them. They pray to him and ask things of him. This makes it clear that we should not only pray to the Father through Jesus, but also directly to the Son of God!
5 The prayer of Paul
What does this look like in practice? Paul makes it clear in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians. Here he explains how and to whom he prayed.
2nd Corinthians 12:7-9 7 So that I therefore should not be exalted, a thorn was given into my flesh, an angel of Satan, that he should strike me again and again, that I should not be exalted. 8 For this cause I besought the Lord three times that he should depart from me; 9 And yet he said unto me indeed, My undeserved goodness is enough for thee; for my power is made perfect in weakness. I therefore prefer to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may be like a tent over me.
Paul asks the Lord, i.e. he prays to the Lord. This Lord answers with the sentence ... my power is made perfect in weakness. Paul shows that the power of the Lord is the power of Christ. The only possible conclusion from this passage is: Paul prays to Jesus.
6. the words of Jesus Christ
Matthew 11:28 Come to me all you who labor and are loaded, and I will give you rest.
How can one then come directly to Jesus Christ today, if not by address through prayer? How can I unload the effort if I do not say it? Today one can also ask Christ, as John recommended and as Paul practiced. The Lord Jesus asks for it directly (John 14:14). Unfortunately, the (NW) has the small word "me" not in the text. However, the interlinear translation of Jehovah's Witnesses makes it clear that it is in the basic text after all.
Thus says the Lord Jesus: "Anything you ask of me in my name, I will do". This can and may still happen today.
Revelation 5:8-14 8 ... the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and each had a harp and golden bowls full of incense, and that means the prayers of the saints ... 11 And I saw, and I heard the voice of many angels ... Creatures ... Elders ... 12 who spoke with a loud voice: The Lamb slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. 13 And every creature, ... I heard say, "To Him who sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honour and the glory and the power for ever and ever. 14 And the four living creatures further said, Amen, and the elders fell down and worshipped.
Revelation 7:11-12 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell upon their faces before the throne, and worshipped God, 12 speaking: "Amen! The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength of our God for ever and ever. Amen "
The Bible passage Revelation 7:11-12 shows how to worship God. You worship God by speaking something to Him in great reverence! The sitemap of prayer to God the Father is almost 100% identical to the sitemap of prayer that the Lamb received. Even the prayers of the saints were symbolically brought before him.
In Revelation 5:13-14 there is even no difference in worship between God, the Father and the Lamb. It should also be noted that the elders can see the Father and the Son directly. So the argument that worship is only possible if the person concerned cannot be seen is out of the question.
8. angels worship Jesus
Hebrews 1.6 6 And when he shall bring his firstborn again into the inhabited earth, he shall say, "And all the angels of God shall worship him;
In this passage the statement is made that all angels without exception will pay homage to the firstborn of God, the Lord Jesus. The word "worshipping" is called "proskynaesatohsan" in Greek. This is usually translated as worship, for example Rev.14,7; 1.Cor.14,25; Lk.4,8; Joh.4,21 and many more. Also the (NW) in its edition of 1963 has the word worship here.
Since Jesus is prayed to, it is obvious that he is neither the Archangel Michael nor any other created being. Otherwise all Christians would have violated the words of Col.2,18 and Rom.1,25.
Peter and John stand before the High Council (Acts 4) after the healing of a paralytic (Acts 3) to answer for themselves. Peter speaks this sentence in reference to Christ (Acts 4,10-11):
Acts of the Apostles 4:12 12. Moreover, in no other is there salvation, for there is no other name under heaven given among men through whom we are to be saved.
Only the name Jesus, i.e. Jesus as a person, can save only man for God's kingdom. Without Christ man is hopelessly lost. In the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John it is reported that Jesus Christ came into this world and experienced rejection (Joh.1,10-11). But in this context there is also a wonderful promise:
John 1:12 12. But as many as received him, he gave them authority to become children of God because they believed in his name;
Man can come into the family of God if he accepts the Lord Jesus into his life in faith. The Son of God is to determine man's life through the forgiveness of sins and the reign of kings. This also means that everyone (no matter how many) can receive Christ and not just one particular group.
It emerges from these eight indications that prayer is not a minor matter, but is part of being a Christian. It also becomes clear that Christians pray to Jesus Christ. Prayer to Jesus Christ has been the sign of recognition for its persecutors. The fact that these people prayed to Jesus might be one reason why others called them "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The apostle and missionary Paul writes about this in his letter to the Romans:
Romans 10:4-13 4 For Christ is the end of the law, unto every believer for righteousness. 5 For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law: The man who has done these things will live through them. 6 And the righteousness of faith says, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? This is, Bring down Christ. 7. or, Who shall descend into the abyss? that is, bring Christ up from the dead; but what does she say? 8 The Word is near to you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the word of faith we preach, 9 that if you confess Jesus as Lord with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart is believed righteousness, and with the mouth is confessed salvation. 11 for the scripture says: everyone who believes in him will not be ashamed. 12 for there is no difference between Jew and Greek, for he is Lord over all, and he is rich for all, who call upon him; 13 for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
The focus of this text is the Lord Jesus. He is the end of the law. No one can come to him through human effort. Only faith is necessary for this. He makes man just. The content of this righteous faith is: Jesus is the risen Lord. It is necessary to believe and confess this personally.
Now God-inspired Paul applies passages from the Old Testament to faith in Jesus. Verse 11: Anyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. – Verse 12: Jesus is the Lord of all. (See Mt 28:18) – Verse 12 b+13: Jesus saves those who pray to him.
As the interlinear translation shows, verse 13 says "Lord" instead of "Jehovah". Although this verse is also known from Joel 3:5, it must always be seen in context. An example of this is Hebr.2,5-9 and Ps.8,4-10. Although both texts have almost the same wording, the Hebrew text is specific to Christ and the verses in Psalm 8 to man in general.
Therefore, if a person wants to be saved for the kingdom of God, he must pray to Jesus and ask Him for salvation. He should also receive Christ in prayer as his Lord in his life.
The Watchtower Society used to know that Jesus is prayed to and even that salvation is in it. Readers were encouraged in their 1929 book of faith:
»... No one is able to understand and value these things except those who have given their hearts to the Lord. The apostle Paul says: "The natural man does not accept (do not understand) what the Spirit of God is, for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot recognize it because it is spiritually judged." (1 Corinthians 2:14) Jehovah has arranged it so that only those whose minds are enlightened by the Holy Spirit (following their consecration, justification, and acceptance by the Lord) can understand and appreciate the mystery of God.« p. 177
In other words, this means:
Only those who have consecrated themselves to the Lord and accepted Him will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and understand God's mystery. All others are not able to do this. How did this very important consecration happen?
»... He hears this will cost him a lot. So Jesus says to him, "Sit down first and calculate the cost." (Luk 14:28) He hears that it will cost him everything he has, which means giving himself to the Lord. The next step for the one who wants to become a Christian is therefore to consecrate himself, that is, to surrender himself completely to the Lord and his commands. He may do this by saying, in a nutshell: "Blessed Lord, I surrender myself to all your dispositions; here I am. Do with me according to your holy will. I desire to do your will. Neither the Lord Jesus nor the heavenly Father compels anyone, but we must come to the Lord by our own free will, seeking his help. That this is necessary to become a follower of Jesus is clearly expressed in the Master's words when he says, "If anyone wants to come after me, deny himself and take up his cross and follow me..." (Matthew 16:24) Denying himself means agreeing to give up his selfish course and do the Lord's will. It means a complete and complete surrender of oneself to the Lord. This means consecration: to set oneself completely aside to do the Lord's will. ...« p.181
This consecration is a complete dedication to the Lord Jesus and this act is performed with a prayer to Christ. What conclusions are to be drawn from this? – Anyone who wants to be saved by this wrong generation (Acts 2:40) must pray to Jesus! (Rom 10:14) – He must receive Jesus into his life as his Lord and Savior.
It is interesting that the Watchtower Society knew this at that time and made it a condition. In other words, without consecration to the Lord Jesus Christ, we will not be enlightened with the Holy Spirit. Now the question arises to Jehovah's Witnesses: Were people at that time believing at all because of this "food"? If so – and this cannot be denied, for otherwise the so-called 144,000 would not yet be complete – then today the people converted by Jehovah's Witnesses cannot really be believers. The biblical surrender of life to Christ is missing.
In the book "What the Bible Really Teaches", chapter 18, paragraph 14, there is a devotion to Jehovah God, but no devotion to Jesus Christ. I hope that a phrase in "Revelation, your great climax is near", will be heeded by all Jehovah's Witnesses. He can be found on page 319, paragraph 19:
May this prayer to the Lord Jesus be the beginning for a rethink among Jehovah's Witnesses.
I am aware that in this contribution I have placed the Messiah of God very strongly in the center of attention. This has the following reasons:
Yahweh's wish is that the son be honored as the father. This honor is also given in prayer to Jesus. So much for my preliminary knowledge on this subject.