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Praying to the Father in Jesus Name
By Tom Brown

"In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God"—(John 16:23-27)

Here in this passage of scripture, Jesus tells us that we should not pray to Him. Yet many sincere Christians spend most of their time praying and petitioning Jesus instead of petitioning the Father. I hear their prayers, "Oh, Lord Jesus, please help me with this or that!" That is a wrong way to pray.

Jesus taught us that it is better to go directly to the Father. "I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." So let's accept his teaching and not tradition. Jesus did not want to take glory away from His Father and so He instructs us to pray to the Father and not to Himself. Jesus submitted Himself to the Father’s authority; therefore, the Father is in charge. This truth is a revelation every Christian should understand. Your prayer life will become more powerful and effective once you receive this truth. Jesus taught His disciples to pray after this manner, "Our Father in heaven." Prayer is directed to the Father, not to anyone else.

Only while Jesus was on the earth, could people ask Jesus for help. However, Jesus said that it wasn't right to ask Him anything after His resurrection. We are now living in the day of the new covenant, so praying and petitioning Jesus is not the proper way to pray.

Someone may argue this point and say, "Why can't I pray to Jesus?" Because Jesus said not to! That is a good enough reason for me!

"Well, I don't understand why I can't," someone may persist. It's not whether you can't, but it's whether you should. Let me explain the work of the Trinity.

One Mediator

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 (Tim 2:5)

Notice that Jesus is the mediator not the object of our approach to God. Although Jesus is God by nature, He is the Son of God the Father, which places Him in a subservient role. This is what Jesus meant when He said, "The Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). Jesus is the mediator, which means that He is the go-between God and men. He is like a bridge. You cross the bridge to get to your destination. So you go through Jesus to get to God the Father. Unfortunately, many treat the bridge as their destination. They go to Jesus instead of to the Father. It is an unscriptural approach to prayer.

Let me explain what His being mediator is NOT. You do not say your prayer to Jesus, so that Jesus can take your prayer to the Father. Jesus ruled this out: "I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf." So His mediator-ship does not mean that you ask Jesus to pray to the Father for you. I bring this up, because our Catholic friends usually accept Mary as co-mediatrix. They will claim that they do not pray to Mary, but only ask her to pray for them. In this sense they see her as co-mediatrix. But notice that Jesus said concerning His mediator role that He would not ask the Father on our behalf. So if this were true of Christ, it would be true for Mary as well, according to the Catholic view.

Beside, the Word says that there is only "one" mediator, and He is the "man" Christ Jesus. The "woman" Mary is exempted from being co-mediatrix based on this clear passage.

PRAYING TO SAINTS

Since Mary is not co-mediatrix, you can be sure that the other saints are not either. Why people would waste their prayer time talking to saints, I will never understand. I suppose I can't understand this kind of irrationality since I was never a Catholic. However, my wife Sonia was. I asked her why she used to pray to Mary. Her answer was silly, but honest. She said, "I figured since Mary was the mother of Jesus, he would have to obey her. So I prayed to Mary thinking she would tell her Son what to do."

Now some of you may be laughing at this explanation, but this is actually what was taught to my wife. Many Catholics believe just like my wife used to believe, and they are very sincere. However, being sincere does not make someone right. The only teaching we should adhere to is the Bible and not tradition. Jesus said to some very religious leaders, "You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition" (Matt. 15:6). In another place he says, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mk. 7:8).

We all need to ask ourselves this question. Do I hold onto traditions that go against the word of God? If the answer is yes, then get rid of your tradition that has robbed the word of God of its power. God's Word has the power to save, heal, bless and deliver. But traditions stop the word of God of its saving, healing, blessing and delivering power. Praying to saints is really praying to idols. An idol is any person or thing that occupies the place in your heart that only God Himself should occupy. We should never put any person or thing in God's place. We should pray only to God and not to saints.

Why even pray to saints if Jesus said that we could go to the highest in all authority? Why go to someone lesser if you can go to the greatest? Let me give you an illustration: Suppose I had a problem with a certain federal law. Then the Vice-President hears about my problem and writes to me a letter inviting me to speak to the President about my situation. But instead of accepting the invitation, I tell the Vice-President, "I really do appreciate the opportunity to talk to the Head of Chief, but you see, I'm so unworthy to talk to the President. I wish I could get the nerve to talk to him, but I can't. Instead Mr. Vice-President, I'm going to talk to my Congressman about my problem. Thank you anyway."

Now, what would you think of me for turning down the opportunity to talk with the President? You would think I was crazy! Well, aren't we crazy for passing up the opportunity to talk to the Head of Chief of the universe?

I could almost hear Satan laughing at some people. He laughingly says, "Look at those people with false humility. Jesus told them they have the right to go to His Father, yet they're trying to pray to his mother! Ha! Ha! Ha!" As you read this article, you might be getting mad at me for tearing down your doctrine. However, I'm not tearing down your doctrines, instead I'm giving you something better. Isn't it better to pray to our heavenly Father than some saint? Sure it is! So, let us get on the right track and start praying to our Father in Heaven. Hallelujah!

IN JESUS NAME

Jesus not only taught us to pray directly to the Father, but he also said to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name. In other words, we do not go to the Father without first going through Jesus Christ. If you’re trying to pray to God without Jesus, then you'll get nowhere. You see, no one is worthy to go to God the Father in prayer because we have all sinned. No sinner can go to God since God is perfectly Holy. However, God made a way for mankind to approach Him. That way is Jesus!

"I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn. 14:6).

What about coming to God through Joseph Smith, Muhammad, Rev. Moon, Hare Krishna, or some other self-proclaim prophet? The answer is found in Acts 4:12:

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

There are some people who want to unite all religions together. They falsely teach, "All the roads of all religions lead to God." But Jesus contradicted this by saying, "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matt.7:13-14). Jesus is the small gate and narrow road. You must go through the Lord Jesus to get to God.

Several years ago I was talking to a girl about God and her relationship to Him. It was apparent to me that she was not born again. However, she tried to convince me that she was religious. She said, "I pray to God every day."

I shocked her with my next statement. I told her, "But God doesn't listen to you!" Her eyes got as big as quarters.

"Why do you say that?" she asked.

"Because you do not go to God through Jesus Christ." I then proceeded to tell her about salvation. That evening she accepted the Lord Jesus into her heart.

Many people are just like this girl. They pray to God and get no results. Why? They don’t get results because they don't go through Jesus Christ the Lord. God listens to you when you go through Jesus.

GOD IS OUR FATHER

There is one more point I want to write concerning prayer: God is our Father! Many people think of God as being mean and angry. However, God is our loving, caring, and watchful Father. Whatever problem you might have pray to your very own Father, who will take care of your problems, if you're born again of God's Spirit. If you're not sure that you're born again, then please pray the following prayer out loud and from your heart.

Dear God in Heaven. I come to you through your Son Jesus Christ. I come as a repentant sinner. Please forgive me of all my sins. I'm going to live for you starting right now. I believe that Christ died for my sins, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day and that he is Lord. I now make Jesus the Lord of my Life. I'm now saved by the blood of Christ. Heaven is my eternal home. And God is now my very own Father. Thank you Father-God for adopting me into your Family. Amen!

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>Statement of Faith   
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