For this article, scriptural references are taken from the New World Translation (NWT), and the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT) of the New Testament, which are both published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Catholics pray to God, and worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one Almighty God. We also pray to the saints, honoring them as our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, and ask for their own prayers. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not pray to Jesus on the grounds that this would be worship. This post will demonstrate that Jesus intended for us to pray to Him, and that the New Testament Christians did just that.
Jesus invites us to pray to Him.
“Most truly I say to you, whoever exercises faith in me will also do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father. Also, whatever you ask in my name, I will do this, so that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14 NWT)
After telling the apostles that He is going to the Father, Jesus tells them that He will do anything they ask in His name. Verse 14 in the KIT makes it clear that these petitions were intended to be addressed to Jesus.
“If ever you ask me anything in my name this I shall do.”
This was an invitation to the apostles to pray to Him after He goes to the Father. He intended for them to address petitions to Him while He was at the right hand of the Father.
The First Christians Prayed to Jesus
Consider also the following verses.
“Then you must call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Jehovah. The God who answers by fire will show that he is the true God.” (1 Kings 18:24 NWT)
“But I called on the name of Jehovah: ‘O Jehovah, rescue me!'” (Psalm 116:4 NWT)
These verses demonstrate that to call on the name of the Jehovah is to pray to Him.
“And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved;” (Joel 2:32 NWT)
“For everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.'” (Romans 10:13 NWT)
No ancient texts of the Bible exist which include the name Jehovah in the New Testament, not once in thousands of ancient copies. But every copy of scripture, including the New World Translation, has the first Christians calling on the name of the Lord Jesus.
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosʹthe·nes our brother, to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:1-2 NWT)
The reason is that there is no other name by which we can be saved, and it is the name above all names, because it belongs to Jehovah God.
“Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (Acts 4:12 NWT)