II. Christians are to direct all their prayers only to Jesus since no One among the Trinity can be approached directly in prayer, except Him. Moreover, all purely createdkinds cannot be prayed to because never in the entire 66 Books of the Bible or Holy Scriptures did Jesus teach anyone to pray to any createdkind.
1. There is no teaching in the entire Bible that we should pray “to” God the Holy Spirit. Instead, the Bible says that we should pray “in” the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
2. And although we are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to pray “to” God the Father (Matthew 6:6), such commandment can never ever be a literal statement and/or instruction from Jesus, but a figurative-illustrative-symbolic one.
3. But what about the prayer “Our Father”? If we are to pray to Jesus alone or if we are to direct all our prayers only to Jesus, why did Jesus teach His disciples the prayer “Our Father” (Matthew 6:8-13; Luke 11:1-4)?
a. The prayer “Our Father” Jesus taught His disciples or followers can never ever be a valid literal prayer but instead a metaphorical-illustrative-symbolic one. Otherwise, it will violate the permanent or forever Mediatorial or High Priestly function of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s the very reason why the prayer ended without even mentioning the name of Jesus. Can you just imagine how foolish-absurd-ridiculous it is to literally pray without saying the name of Jesus? If the prayer “Our Father” is to be taken literally, then all our prayers must not contain the name of Jesus in any way. Can you see how out of tune that would be? That would be tantamount or equivalent to saying, “Jesus, Your permanent Mediatorial or High Priestly function is not valid at all. I will be my own mediator or high priest before God the Father.”
b. Therefore, praying the “Our Father” in a literal way is contrary to the will of the Trinity! You can memorize the prayer “Our Father” literally. You can recite it literally. You can sing it literally, but you cannot pray it literally!!!
Take for instance the following examples:
i. So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life crippled than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out. If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God’s kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. – Mark 9:43, 45, 47 (CEV)
Explanation: Taking these verses literally will contradict the very will of Jesus because self- mutilation or self-injury is self-destructive!!! Merely cutting your wrist with a blade or knife is already opposed to the will of Jesus. How much more if you cut off your hand or chop off your foot or get rid of your eye when they cause you to sin? Therefore, the above mentioned verses are mere metaphors or illustrations or symbolisms. Simply stated, to cut off your hand or to chop off your foot or to get rid of your eye when they cause you to sin mean depriving those body parts of bad doings or undertakings when they would cause you to sin.
ii. And to him that striketh (slaps) thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak (robe), forbid not to take thy coat (clothes) also. – Luke 6:29 (DRB)
Explanation: Jesus didn’t teach this verse to be taken literally! Instead, He rendered this figuratively or metaphorically or illustratively or symbolically. The verse merely conveys or expresses that if someone does something bad to you, you must be ready to receive some more, considering the fact that there are really lots of wicked or bad people in the world.
ii-1. And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck (hit) Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest (beat/hit) thou Me? – John 18:22-23 (KJV)
Note: Jesus didn’t say, “Hit Me on the other side as well.” He didn’t also say, “Go ahead! Give Me some more beating.” Instead, He complained why He had to be beaten for saying something right.
ii-2. And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite (beat/hit) him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite (beat/hit) thee, thou whited wall (hypocrite): for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten (beaten) contrary to the law? – Acts 23:1-3 (KJV)
Note: Paul (a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ) didn’t say, “Hit me some more on the mouth. Go ahead and continue striking my mouth.” Instead, he protested for being treated that way. If you always take everything written in the Bible literally, you will err a lot and will not render justice to the teachings of Jesus. Literal is just one side of the coin. The other side is what we call metaphoric(al).
4. There are also lots of people who use the prayer formula “Father in the name of Jesus”, when they pray. Such prayer formula is not Biblical at all and is again violative of the permanent or forever Mediatorial or High Priestly function of the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely, they have misunderstood several Bible verses like:
a. … whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may (will) give it you. – John 15:16b (KJV)
b. … Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. – John 16:23b (KJV)
Explanation: “Asking the Father in the name of Jesus” can never ever be a valid literal statement and/or prayer because it is figurative-metaphorical-illustrative-symbolic. Otherwise, the permanent Mediatorial or High Priestly function of Christ Jesus will be bypassed or avoided and nullified. In order for us to “ask the Father in the name of Jesus” when we pray, we simply have to pray directly to Jesus alone since being “in” (“en” in Greek) the name of Jesus means being “located in Him” and being “mediated by Him”, not by God the Father. Hence, we have the following verses to back up our claim:
4-A. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it. – John 14:13-14 (KJV)
4-B. Hitherto (up to now) have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. – John 16:24 (KJV)
4-C. At that day ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. – John 16:26-27 (KJV)
4-D. … Let everyone that nameth (profess-confess-mention-call) the name of Christ depart from iniquity (injustice-unrighteousness). – II Timothy 2:19 (KJV)
Note: In 4-B, the disciples have not yet prayed in the name of Jesus, because His visible physical presence is still with them, not having ascended and seated yet at God the Father’s right hand. Therefore, it is just expected that they would just talk to Him, when they want or need something from Him. In 4-C, Jesus was referring to the day when He would have already ascended and seated at the right hand of God the Father’s throne. Come that day, His disciples would pray in His name, but because they believe He came from the Father and have truly loved Him (Jesus), God the Father is likewise loving them so that even before Jesus makes His verbal request/s from the Father in behalf of His disciples, God the Father can already grant it, for Jesus to fulfill because God the Father favors those who belong and come to Jesus. In 4-D, those who name the name of Jesus must render or give justice and righteousness to Him. You cannot be just and righteous if you are violating, bypassing & nullifying the permanent Mediatorial or High Priestly function of Jesus!!!
5. The will of God the Father is for us to listen to His own Son (Romans 8:3, 32) Jesus Christ (Matthew 17:5) and to have fellowship with Him (I Corinthians 1:9).
6. God the Father is glorified-exalted-extolled-honored-dignified when His beloved Son (Matthew 3:17) Christ Jesus is worshiped in all places (Philippians 2:10) and acknowledged by all as Lord (Philippians 2:11).
7. The work of God the Holy Spirit is to lead/guide us into all/the whole (“pas” in Greek) Truth (John 16:13a), which is Personified in Christ Jesus or the Lord Jesus Christ in Person (John 8:32, 36) because He shall not speak of Himself (John 16:13b) but will glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:14a), will testify of Him (John 15:26) and will remind us of all the words of Jesus (John 14:26).
Jesus as the correct-appropriate-rightful prayer Addressee-Recipient-Receiver:
Not only should we pray purely-only-solely-exclusively to Jesus, but we must also pray according to His will that we may have the assurance or confidence that He will hear us (I John 5:14) and therefore, grant or give whatever prayer-petition-request-supplication that we desired of Him (I John 5:15).
When to pray?
We can talk to Jesus 24/7 through prayer (Luke 18:1). When we say 24/7, we don’t literally mean non-stop. Instead, it’s a metaphor-illustration-symbolism for saying we can pray to Jesus any time and at a regular and/or frequent interval.
Should difficult circumstances/situations prevent us from praying to Jesus? Answer: Definitely not.
a. Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? – Jeremiah 32:27 (KJV)
b. … Fear not Abram. I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. – Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
c. Now unto Him (Jesus) that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us… – Ephesians 3:20 (KJV)
Where to pray?
We can talk to Jesus wherever we are because He is Emmanuel- the God with us (Matthew 1:23).
a. “I will therefore that men pray everywhere…” – I Timothy 2:8a (KJV)
b. “… in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ…” – I Corinthians 1:2b (KJV)
Parts of a Sample Prayer: ACTS
Adoration & Praise– As we pray, we should never forget to spend time doing these to Jesus. (Psalm 86:9; 96:4; 150:2)
Confession– All of us have sinned against Jesus and even everyone who have already committed his/her all to Jesus still gets to sin every now and then, since we are not perfected yet while still in this world, but through prayer, we can ask for forgiveness whenever we sin against the Lord Jesus Christ. (I John 1:9)
Thanksgiving– We have a lot to be thankful for so we need to be constantly thanking Jesus for all the things that He is doing in our lives. (I Thessalonians 5:18)
Supplications– We can present all our requests to Jesus and we can be assured that He is able and willing to answer our petitions. (Philippians 4:6, 19)
Hindrances to Prayer: SUWUD
Sin(s)– This must not be cherished-treasured-loved but instead negated/nullified and hated/despised if we want our prayers answered. (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2)
Unbelief– Getting to doubt our prayers to be answered can be another reason for its non-fulfillment. (Hebrews 11:6; James 1:5-8)
Wrong motives– When we pray with inappropriate/improper reasons, our prayers can be hindered too. (James 4:3)
Unforgiveness– The Lord Jesus commands us that whenever we pray, we must forgive those whom we have anything against. Otherwise, His Dad will not forgive us as well. (Mark 11:25-26)
Disunity/Disagreement with, lack of respect to and being inconsiderate to wife are also hindrances to a husband’s prayer. (I Peter 3:7)
Develop a prayerful life!!!
We know that all relationships grow through communication. So, if we value our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ we will build up-raise up-establish-make-produce-form a prayerful life so that we could be in constant connection with Him.
Note: Both Parts 1 & 2 of the topic “Prayer” are derivative works from the Personal Discipleship Guide of the TAFJ Church.