In John 14:12-14, Jesus says that he will do whatever we ask and that we may ask him for anything. Also, Stephen, when dying, says "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." I'm a little confused by this. It seems the Bible instructs us to pray to Jesus as well as to pray to the father in his name. So should our prayers be directed to God and Jesus (since Jesus is at the right hand of God)? -- Marcel Hall (Los Angeles)

Jesus encourages us to pray to the Father in his (Jesus') name, and there are precious few exceptions to this. And yet we must remain flexible; Jesus on earth was God in the flesh, and in heaven is still God in nature. Stephen prayed--spoke--to Jesus because, as Luke records, he actually saw him. Surely this is an exception to the rule!

For more on this, please see archived question 0076, "Baptism and the 'name.'"

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