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Prayer Questions I

Can Prayer be Offered to the Son?

The Meaning of Jesus' Words in John 14:14

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Question:  When we pray, are we to pray only to the Father? Can't we pray to Jesus too? I'm wondering about John 14:14.

Response:  I have heard people make a point of saying that one should address all prayer to the Father, but the passage you cite, John 14:14, is Jesus saying we can ask Him. Here is what I say in Essential Doctrines Part 1, Theology [at the very end of section II.B.3.c]:

[ ... 1) Prayers of the Believer: offered to the Father (Matt.6:6), in the name of the Son (Jn.15:16; 16:23), accomplished in the power of the Spirit (Eph.6:18).

N.B.: These examples above are given to help explain and expound the Trinity as the Bible reveals the doctrine, but the "divisions of labor" suggested by them are not to be taken as strict in all cases. In most of these (and other) joint actions of the Trinity, there is overlap and further subdivision of responsibilities which is often only hinted at in scripture. To take the last case, for example, prayer in scripture is almost always addressed to the Father, but Jesus does say (in Jn.14:14), that if we ask Him anything in His name He will do it. A major controversy in the history of the Church - one that split the east from the west - had to do with the "procession of the Spirit" and the question of whether the Father only (Jn.14:26) or the Father and the Son had sent Him (Jn.15:26). In some sense, both are right (the issue turns on the Father's role as possessing original authority and the Son's role as receiving delegated authority - note the stress on the word "role"). Therefore, in our appreciation of the Trinity, we should be careful to restrict ourselves to learning what such scriptures actually teach us, and not build dispositive doctrinal principles solely on deductions stemming from them. ...]

I would say that on the one hand, you can't be "wrong" to offer prayers to the Son; on the other hand, as I suggest above, most prayer in scripture is in fact offered to the Father in the name of the Son. I suppose we can draw a conclusion from that, although it is clear that Jesus and the Father "are one" and that means, among other things, that there is absolutely no differentiation of purpose between them, so that a prayer to One would not be received any differently than a prayer to the Other. As long as our motivations are correct in prayer, and our heart is right, the address we use isn't going to be at issue in my opinion.

Hope this helps - I have never found any guidance beyond this in the Bible.

Yours in Christ,

Bob L.

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