…”can’t pray to Jesus…”, part of a statement made by Rev. Graham, as posted in an article in Newsmax.com (http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/Franklin-Graham-Jesus-Christ/2011/01/20/id/383454?s=al&promo_code=B836-1). When I read his statement “..can’t pray to Jesus..”, I started thinking. “Wait a minute…” I thought. “Pray to Jesus?” Well, if you’re a Christian, perhaps this may seem like a dumb question, but it’s not a dumb question at all. What does it mean to be a Christian? I don’t intend to get into an all encompassing discussion on Christianity here, but I do want to say something about prayer. I say, we should not pray to Jesus Christ. Of course, we as Christians are followers of Christ, so allow me to elaborate on what I mean. First though, I should point out that my comments here have nothing to do with my reference to Mr. Graham. Rather, what I read got me thinking on the matter.
We, if we have accepted him (Christ), have been baptized into his name. So then, who do we pray to? Christ? Saint Peter? Mother Mary? I can recall many times where I have indeed heard people pray to the Mother Mary for example. But is this right? In my opinion, it is wrong and we should pray to the Father and him only. Remember what Christ himself said: “I and the Father are one.” (John Chapter 10 verse 30). Consider also Christ’s prayer from John Chapter 16 verses 20 and 21: “20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.””.
The beginning of the book of John also elaborates on the oneness of Christ and the Father. Now, if Christ and the Father are one, why would it be wrong to pray to Jesus? I do not mean to declare that it is wrong to pray to Christ, because He and the Father are in fact one. But…Christ did not tell us (as his followers) to pray to Him (Jesus). He specifically taught his disciples to pray to the Father. Matthew Chapter 6 verses 5 through 13: “5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
To summarize then, we follow Christ’s example by praying to our Father in Heaven just as Christ himself did, “we cry, Abba, Father”. Yet, we proclaim Christ and are not ashamed. When Jesus was teaching his disciples how to pray as quoted above, he stated “how to”. Have you ever been in a sermon where everyone quoted the Lord’s prayer together, word for word? Do you really think this is the kind of prayer the Lord wants from us? Maybe it is depending on the hearts of those praying, but Christ gave us an example of how to pray, not necessarily what to pray. Here though, I am trying to point out WHO we pray to. We as Christians must never forget: we are seeking a relationship with a living God who is almighty, not some fabled old man, nor the Mother Mary nor St Peter. Throughout the New Testament, Christ always teaches prayer to the Father and no one else.