Oh God (4) — Praying to Jesus?

Generally, there is no intention to quote other blogs here, but every once in a while there is a post related to a long list of topics yet unwritten that seems to call for a more immediate, if not totally prepared, posting. See reference at bottom.

As a consequence of attempting to set aside our preconceptions while studying the scriptures, questions arise that confound us. One long-standing confusion relates to those instances in the Book of Mormon where prayers to Jesus resulted in blessings beyond what we and the vast majority of others we know have received. We must presume that Mormon and Moroni (and even God Himself?) are in support since they neither pass over these events, nor do they editorialize, nor explain; they simply let them stand.

Alma the Younger

And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul. And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! (Alma 36:16–20)

King Lamoni’s Consort

…and as he [King Lamoni] arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou. For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit. (Alma 19:12–13)

[and then after an unknown period of time]

…she [the queen] arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people! And when she had said this, she clasped her hands, being filled with joy, speaking many words which were not understood; and when she had done this, she took the king, Lamoni, by the hand, and behold he arose and stood upon his feet. (Alma 19:29–30)

Righteous Remnant in Bountiful

And the disciples did pray unto the Father also in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that they arose and ministered unto the people. And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken—nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken—behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus. And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them. (3 Nephi 19:7–9)

And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them. And it came to pass that He spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that His disciples should kneel down upon the earth. And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, He commanded His disciples that they should pray. And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God. (3 Nephi 19:15–18)

Father, I [Jesus] thank thee that Thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in Me that I have chosen them out of the world. Father, I pray thee that Thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words. Father, Thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in Me; and thou seest that they believe in Me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto Me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto Thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in Me, that I may be in them as Thou, Father, art in Me, that We may be One. (3 Nephi 19:20–23)

And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, He came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto Him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire. And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto Him; and His countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof. And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray. And He turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth; and He prayed again unto the Father, saying: Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in Me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in Me. Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given Me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in Me, that I may be in them as Thou, Father, art in Me, that We may be One, that I may be glorified in them. And when Jesus had spoken these words He came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto Him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus. (3 Nephi 19:24–30)

One thing seems worth repeating here, Jesus did not rebuke them even though He had taught them clearly how to pray the prior day and in particular that they should pray unto the Father in His Name.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him. And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto his disciples, He turned again unto the multitude and said unto them: Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in My Name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in My Name, that your wives and your children may be blessed. And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; 23 But ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in My Name. Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen Me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed. (3 Nephi 18:15–24)

Clearly He knew what was going on, He reported such to the Father, but He didn’t rebuke them. In fact, He smiled upon them.

So, what is going on here? Even if prayer had a different meaning in this last instance, that doesn’t change Alma’s prayer and in spite of Alma’s rebellion, it is reasonable to presume that his father taught him to pray. In the queen’s case, it does sound like she is praising Jesus and God. It could be that the Bountiful remnant were doing something similar. It would be nice to know what words were given them (and who exactly gave them). Nevertheless, even if these prayers had a component of praise/worship, shouldn’t all of our prayers be so? (see: Oh God (3))

So, even if we continue to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus as the standard, would it be inappropriate to praise Jesus as a component of those prayers? Would it be inappropriate to express gratitude directly to Jesus for all that He has done for us? If we believe that Christ is our Mediator with the Father (channeling Elder Packer here), would it be more appropriate to request Jesus for forgiveness, if He is the one actually paying the debt? Was Elder Packer wrong in his parable in the sense that the debtor accepted the Mediator as his new creditor with new terms? And finally, if a principal role of the Holy Ghost is to prepare us to enter the presence of the Savior, Who’s role is to return us to the presence of the Father, why wouldn’t we be communicating with our current coach? If an angel were to visit us, would we refuse to converse with him? “No offense intended here angel, but we only talk to the Father.”

Lastly, if it is appropriate to worship the Savior when He is present, why wouldn’t it be appropriate to worship Him when He isn’t?

And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears. (3 Nephi 17:10)

See: http://peace-in-paradise.blogspot.com/2017/02/calleth-on-my-name.html [Thanks

3 Replies to “Oh God (4) — Praying to Jesus?”

  1. I was just reading about when Nephi did “cry unto the Lord” to “know the mysteries of God” and wondering the same things. I wonder if once you progress to a certain level that you would be taught how to appropriately pray to our Lord.

  2. Was going to respond to this excellent point, but expanded it into an entire post. Will post as soon an my editor checks it out.

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