Addressing the Lord in Prayer and Worship.
by D.L. Higgins
Two Questions, and a Reply to each.
1.—Are we right in addressing our prayers in the assembly to the Lord Jesus?
2.—Are we right in ascribing worship to Him?
REPLYING first of all to the second, it should be a sufficient answer to quote John 1 and other Scriptures: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God," etc. Again, He is "over all, God blessed for ever," Rom. 9: 5. He is "our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ," Titus 2: 13. He is "the King of those that reign, and Lord of those that exercise lordship; who only has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light: whom no man has seen, nor is able to see; to whom be honour and eternal might," 1 Tim. 6: 15, 16. Viewed in His own place in the Godhead, He is in Person God, and in every sense on an equality with other divine Persons. To call in question His title to the worship of His creatures, is to call in question His deity. When the disciples saw Him received up into heaven, they worshipped Him, Acts 1. The One of whom Isaiah spoke, John 12: 41, when he saw His glory, was the one in whose presence the seraphim veiled their faces, Isa. 6. The inspired Word says, "let all God's angels worship him," Heb. 1: 6; Ps. 97: 7. It says also, "And every creature which is in the heaven and upon the earth and under the earth, and (those that are) upon the sea, and all things in them, heard I saying, To him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb, blessing, and honour, and glory, and might, to the ages of ages. And the four living creatures said Amen; and the elders fell down and did homage," Rev. 5: 13, 14. The testimony, therefore, of Scripture is decisive on this point, and the only possible answer to the question raised is to affirm it with all our heart and mind.
Now it is perfectly certain that when our blessed Lord took a bondman's form, He in no wise ceased to be God—such a thought is impossible; but He was now in a condition of perfect humanity, in which He had not been before, and in which He took the place of subjection to the will of God His Father. He was thus enabled to fulfil that will even to death, having authority to lay down His life as well as to take it again. While Lord and Christ in the days of His flesh, it was in resurrection and glory that God made the One whom men had crucified "both Lord and Christ," Acts 2:36. Now it has been suggested that because our Lord said "in that day ye shall ask me nothing," John 16: 23, we are not right in addressing our prayers to Him in assembly. The difficulty which seems to arise from these words is removed the moment it is understood that the word "ask" in this passage is one which in the original means asking on the familiar terms on which the disciples had been with the Lord in the days of His flesh; they were no longer to be on those lines, but whatsoever they might "ask the Father in my name" they would receive. This "ask" is another word which implies asking of a superior, as a man prays to God. When the Lord was in resurrection, the disciples asked whether He would at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel. The very last request in the Bible is addressed to the Lord: "come, Lord Jesus," and "the Spirit and the bride say, Come."
A quotation from Vol. XXV, Coll. Writings, J. N. D., page 427, bears very aptly on this subject. "The passage has been used for a very bad purpose indeed, 'ye shall ask me nothing,' as if you are not to look or pray to Christ Himself, a mere abuse of the words. They are not to come to Him like Martha and say, ' I know that whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee.' The Lord says, Do you come yourselves to the Father, and do not ask of Me that I should do for you. But in all that concerns His lordship on earth, the Christian prays to the Lord, not to the Son in that character. As a child and son, I go to the Father, but if I have something of administration in the church, I go to the Lord. It is a definition of a Christian, that he calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, and you have Stephen's example, and Paul besought the Lord thrice. You cannot properly address the Spirit, but this is for another reason, the Holy Spirit being the One who is in me, and so He cannot address Himself. He is the agent in us to sustain us in prayer, for by one Spirit we have access to the Father."
What is said here shows that in intelligent prayer, we should address our God and Father as children and sons, while in regard to administration, "to us there is . . . one Lord Jesus Christ," and we go rightly to Him as to such matters. That in doing the latter, we should neglect or ignore the former is unthinkable. Both have their place in our prayers. In fact, the Lord's supper, where He is expressly the Object before the hearts of the gathered saints, leads to the worship of the Father, where the Lord is rather the Leader, as "in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises," Heb. 2:12.
"Words of Truth" 1935