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Praying To Jesus

November 13, 2008

Do LDS ever pray directly to Jesus?

The LDS church teaches that this is never appropriate.

For example, Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, said, “We always pray to our Father in Heaven, and to him alone… We do not pray to the Savior or to anyone else. To do so would be disrespectful of Heavenly Father and an indication that we do not properly understand the relationship of the members of the Godhead” (Personal Revelation, BYU address, May 20, 1997).

LDS apostle, Bruce McConkie, spoke out against some LDS who were seeking to gain what he considered to be “a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous.” He claims these heretical LDS were beginning to pray “directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed.” He stated, “This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only. They do not go through Christ…” [emphasis mine] (Our Relationship with The Lord, BYU address, March 2, 1982).

Some LDS have tried to discount some of McConkie’s statements in this particular speech and claim that he was giving his personal opinions and not official LDS doctrine so I scavenged around on the internet to see what current LDS members believe about praying to Christ. Recently, on the Mormon Apologetics forum, an LDS blogger, “Cold Steel,” said on 10/25/08, “it’s simply a matter of protocol. We’ve been told by our leaders that praying to Jesus is inappropriate.” One of the main reasons cited by the LDS in this discussion was that Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the Father (Matt. 6:9).

So is this LDS teaching the truth or a lie? Is praying to Jesus heretical? How are we to have a personal relationship with Him if we never talk to Him? What does the Bible say?

Paul prayed directly to Jesus (II Cor. 12:8-10)

So did Stephen (Acts 7:59)

And John (Rev. 22:20)

It appears the apostles were also praying to Jesus in Acts 1:24-25. (Jesus is commonly referred to as “the Lord” throughout the NT.)

The apostles did not believe praying to Christ was heretical or was disobedience to how He had taught them to pray because they believed He was who He revealed Himself to be: God manifest in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16) and one with the Father (John 1:1, 10:30, 14:9) who has been “highly exalted” by the Father so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phil. 2:10). The apostles worshiped Him as God (Luke 24:51-52) and declared His relationship within the Godhead: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (I John 5:7).

I John 5:14-15 speaks of praying to the Son. I will quote the verse in context: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us, and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him

Jesus said, “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 14:14).

Considering who Jesus revealed Himself to be (“in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” Col. 2:9), this LDS teaching that it is inappropriate to ever pray directly to Christ greatly dishonors Jesus Christ, makes Him less than fully God, and dishonors His Father (John 5:23).

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2008 7:36 pm

    Who did Jesus pray to?

  2. November 14, 2008 1:56 am

    I think this really highlights the difference in our views. For me, Jesus is so much more than an example to follow. Just as the early apostles knew Him, Jesus is my Lord and my God. Of course Jesus prayed to His Father. That’s how they have a relationship – by communicating with each other. I can pray to the Father because of my personal relationship with Christ. He is my way to the Father (John 14:6) and my Advocate with the Father (I John 2;1). I will commune with Jesus as well as God the Father because He is my Savior and my God and I have a personal relationship with Him. I love Him and I need Him and I tell Him so. How can you have a relationship with someone you never talk to?

  3. November 14, 2008 12:02 pm

    The Lords prayer was an example and teaching of how to pray. The Lord taught us to address the Father when we pray. If there is such a oneness between the two, then talking to one is functionally the same talking to the other. They are a perfect team with no jealousy between them.

  4. Brad permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:47 pm

    Eric, you just made Jessica’s point – if that’s the case, then why does it matter which is prayed to, and why the LDS insistence on praying ONLY to the Father?

  5. November 15, 2008 7:30 pm

    I think the statement by McConkie that concerns me the most is “Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only. They do not go through Christ…”

    The Bible says, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). John 14:6 says, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Jesus Christ].” We are directed to pray in His name (John 14:14:13-14) and Romans 5:1 says “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    If LDS really believe that there is “such a oneness between the two” how can McConkie have said this? When I pray to the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are also present. I never pray exclusively to the Father as He is never separated from the Son and the Spirit. If I were to pray to a spirit being that is separate from the Son and the Spirit, I would not be directing my prayer to the true God (I John 5:20-21).

  6. Tyler permalink
    December 18, 2008 1:16 am

    Correction- L. Lionel Kendrick was never an Apostle. Please keep your facts accurate; credibility can be lost easily, as I will demonstrate now…

    In response to the McConkie quote, as I have told you before, this was an Apostle who made a non-authoritative remark that was never sanctioned nor canonized. The role of the current church leaders is less to reveal new doctrine (the Restoration accomplished the majority of that), but to exhort people to come unto Christ and to follow him (sounds familiar to the original 12 no?). If Elder McConkie said something contrary to what the church has deemed true, then he would be wrong. However, having read the entire address, it is obvious that he was DRAWING A DISTINCTION BETWEEN INTERMEDIARY STYLE COMMUNICATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER THROUGH JESUS OR MARY OR ANYONE ELSE. Here is the quote in context:

    “Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. In this connection a current and unwise book, which advocates gaining a special relationship with Jesus, contains this sentence:

    Because the Savior is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through his Son.

    This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only. They do not go through Christ, or the Blessed Virgin, or St. Genevieve or along the beads of a rosary. We are entitled to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

    And I rather suppose that he who sitteth upon the throne will choose his own ways to answer his children, and that they are numerous. Perfect prayer is addressed to the Father, in the name of the Son; and it is uttered by the power of the Holy Ghost; and it is answered in whatever way seems proper by him whose ear is attuned to the needs of his children.”

    In other words, he was emphasizing that we can speak to the Father himself. This is simple. He wanted his audience to understand that their Father can speak to them directly and vice versa. He was correcting a false teaching, that people need to pray to Christ so that he can bring the prayer to the Father and then bring the Father’s answer to the person praying.
    This talk addresses the issue beautifully:
    http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-401-21,00.html

    Now Jessica, you have cut and pasted small sections of a long discourse, thus removing the context and blurring the meaning. This may have been a simple mistake, or over-zealousness in trying to convince us of our erroneous doctrine. Either way, you were wrong.
    I am interested in participating in dialogue here on your blog, but you simply must keep things accurate if you want meaningful results.

  7. December 18, 2008 1:56 am

    Tyler,

    Thanks for your comment. I have corrected Mr. Kendrick’s title in my post. I was not trying to remove context from McConkie’s speech to blur the meaning. I selected the comments that stood out to me as being the most heretical. I can see from your comment how you could view this differently than I did. I would have to think about this further and review the link you provided before commenting further. I assure you I am concerned with Truth and inherent in that is accuracy. Thank you again for your comment and please remember that I am constantly learning about Mormonism and am not perfect in my understanding and will not claim to be! Your participation here will help me to increase my understanding.

  8. Tyler permalink
    December 18, 2008 1:57 am

    Thank you Jessica. I look forward to further discussion.

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