Sunday, June 14, 2009

May We Pray To Jesus And The Holy Spirit?

The earliest Christians prayed to Jesus. In Matthew 21:16, Jesus identifies Himself as the object of the prayer of Psalm 8:2. Jesus is referred to as the one who chose the apostles in Acts 1:2 and as Lord in Acts 1:21, so the prayer to the Lord to choose another apostle in Acts 1:24-25 seems to be a prayer to Jesus. Hebrews 1:8-12 identifies Jesus as the object of some prayers in the Psalms. See, also, Acts 7:59, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 16:22, and Revelation 22:20.

Prayers to Jesus suggest that the prominence of prayer to the Father in scripture isn't meant to exclude prayer to the other persons of the Trinity. And the prominence of prayers to the Father shouldn't be overestimated. With many of the prayers in scripture, we aren't told which person of the Trinity they're directed to. People may have a misconception of the extent of the Father's prominence in this context as a result of a dubious assumption that all prayers with an unspecified recipient are prayers to the Father. And the significance of the prominence of prayers to the Father in the gospels is lessened by the fact that Jesus wouldn't have prayed to Himself and the fact that His followers wouldn't have needed prayer to communicate with Him while He was on earth. The prominence of prayers to the Father isn't as significant as it may seem. If Jesus is sometimes the object of prayer, as He is, then that precedent for praying to a person of the Trinity other than the Father increases the credibility of praying to the Spirit. In Acts 5:3-4, Peter not only refers to the Holy Spirit as God, which suggests that prayer to the Spirit would be acceptable, but also seems to assume that it's acceptable to speak to the Spirit. Ananias would have been speaking to the Spirit whether he had lied or told the truth. The problem was that he lied. Peter condemns the lying, but not the concept of speaking to the Spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment