A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS?
Is it scriptural to pray or talk to Jesus? Can we sing the song, “Have A Little Talk with Jesus?”
A note on talking to Jesus.
When I first started preaching back in 1973 I was taught and believed that it was wrong to pray to Jesus and therefore, since it was wrong to pray to Him it was also wrong to sing, “Let us have a little talk with Jesus.” For years I taught others what others had taught me. Come to find out, what others taught me and what I had taught others should not have been taught to others…or me. Finally, when I actually studied the Bible on the subject for myself I came to another conclusion other than what I had learned from the others. I would say when I “re-studied” the subject, but the truth is I did not actually study the Bible in the beginning but only repeated what those I respected taught me. Like most (actually all) preachers I know, when I first started preaching I believed and taught what others believed and taught me! The following are some of the notes I made during my personal study which was over twenty-five years ago.
Here are my notes on the question of speaking directly to Jesus.
- Many Bible students both in and out of the Church of Christ believe that the “Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament was in many instances God Himself. Many of us believe that it was “Christ’s visible form before the incarnation” and that “The connection between the Angel of the Lord and the pre-incarnate appearance of the Messiah cannot be denied.” Observe the following:
- Smith’s Bible Dictionary states: Angel of the Lord. (Genesis 16:7) etc. (The special form in which God manifested himself to man, and hence Christ’s visible form before the incarnation. Compare (Acts 7:30-38) with the corresponding Old-Testament history; and (Genesis 18:1, 13, 14, 33) and Genesis 19:1).
- Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says:
The connection between the angel of the Lord and the preincarnate appearance of the Messiah cannot be denied. Manoah meets the angel of the Lord, and declares that he has seen God. The angel accepts worship from Manoah and his wife as no mere angel, and refers to himself as “Wonderful,” the same term applied to the coming deliverer in Isaiah 9:6 (Judges 13:9-22). (Louis Goldberg).
- It does seem clear to me from numerous Old Testament Scriptures that God Himself did appear to men on numerous occasions. It also seems that the one we refer to as the “Second Person” in the Godhead or the “Word” (the one who became Jesus) was the one who made those appearances. (See John 1:18). Since that is the case then there were numerous instances when men/women “had a little talk” with Him in the Old Testament before He came to the earth.
- Genesis 18:1-33. Abraham had a little talk with Him.
- Exodus 3:1-22. Moses had a little talk with Him. (See John 8:58).
- Joshua 6:13-15. Joshua had a little talk with Him.
- Judges 6:11-24. Gideon had a little talk with Him.
- Judges 13:1-22. Manoah and his wife had a little talk with Him.
- Isaiah 6:1-13. Isaiah had a little talk with Him. (See John 12:39-41).
- Plus there are other instances in the O.T. when others talked with/to Him.
- Many “had a little talk” with Jesus during His personal ministry.
- John 4:5-42. The Samaritan woman had a little talk with Him.
- John 3:1-21. Nicodemus had a little talk with Him.
- John 8:2-11. The adulterous woman had a little talk with Him.
- Luke 23:42-43. The thief on the cross had a little talk with Him.
- Plus there are numerous other instances when various people had a little talk with Him during His earthly ministry.
- Many “had a little talk” with Jesus after His resurrection.
- Acts 1:1-4. The disciples had a little talk with Him after His death on the cross and during the forty days while He was on earth before His ascension.
- Acts 7:59-60. Stephen had a little talk with Him after His ascension.
- Acts 9:1-7. Paul had a little talk with Him when the Lord Jesus appeared to Him on the road to Damascus.
- Acts 9:10-17. Ananias had a little talk with Him. Note that is “the Lord Jesus” who “sent” him to Paul and therefore Jesus is the one Ananias had a “little talk” with (v.17).
- I Corinthians 16:22. Paul had a little talk with Him when he said “O Lord, come.”
- Revelation 22:20. John had a little talk with Him when he said “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
- Revelation 5:8-10. The four living creatures and the twenty four elders had a little talk with Him when they sang the new song to the Lamb.
- Revelation 5:11-14: 7:9-17. Thousands upon thousands had a little talk with Him in John’s heavenly visions.
- And there are probably other instances where others have had a little talk with Him.
- We “have a little talk” with Jesus in our songs. In a number of our songs we sing directly to Him and some of them are “prayer songs” that we sing directly to Him. Examples are:
- I need Thee every hour
- My faith looks up to Thee
- Worthy art Thou
- Blessed Jesus hold my hand
- I am Thine O Lord
- Draw me nearer
- Jesus keep me near the cross
- My Jesus I love thee
- Jesus lover of my soul
- Just as I am
- O to be like Thee
- In the hour of trial
- Jesus, we just want to thank You!
- Lead me to Calvary
- Master, the tempest is raging
- More love to thee, O Christ
- Just a closer walk with thee
- Fairest lord Jesus
- Tell it to Jesus alone
- I must tell Jesus
- And there are numerous other songs that have words where we “speak directly” to Him and, therefore, have “a little talk with Jesus.” It is unreasonable to me to think that we can “speak” to Jesus directly in song but we cannot speak directly to Him in any other way such as prayer and words of praise or simply talking to Him as our Savior and Friend.
- In John 14:14 Jesus said, If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (NASV). Here Jesus told His disciples plainly to “ask Me” and “I” will do it. (See also NIV, ESV, McCord’s Translation, footnote in the NKJV and ASV).
- In First Timothy 1:12 Paul wrote, “And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord….” Sounds like a “little talk” with Jesus to me.
- Commenting on First Thessalonians 3:11-13 Burton Coffman observed: Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way unto you: These three verses (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13) are “a prayer to Christ as co-equal with the Father.” The Christology of Paul is not something which “developed,” but was implicit and explicit in all that he wrote, even in this letter, one of the very first epistles from his pen. “Here we have an express prayer directed to Christ, thus necessarily implying his divine nature.” Again from Coffman, commenting on Acts 7:59, And they stoned Stephen, calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. The peculiar construction here has the effect of making “calling upon the Lord” equivalent to praying to Jesus personally. This is one of the few prayers in the New Testament directed to the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than to the Father through him. (Coffman Commentaries).
- Commenting on Second Thessalonians 2:16-17 Wayne Jackson makes an interesting comment: “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word”. (II Thess. 2:16-17). Again, the subject is compound, yet both verbs (“comfort” and “establish”) are singular. Scholars are virtually unanimous in the view that the apostle’s prayer is JOINTLY addressed to both the Father and the Son—and what is most unusual in this case is the fact that Jesus is placed first.” (Christian Courier, Questions).
- Guy N. Woods answered the following question: “In the light of what Christ said in John 16:23,24, would it be wrong to sing songs such as ‘Tell It To Jesus,’ ‘My Jesus As Thou Wilt,’ and ‘Just a Little Talk With Jesus,’ and others which seem to advocate making our requests made known to Christ instead of the Father?” No. It is a misinterpretation of John 16:23, 24 to draw from it the conclusion that Jesus there forbade any address to him. It is of course very true that our prayers are to be addressed to the Father “in the name” of Christ, i.e., by his authority but the words of the foregoing passage were not intended to prohibit any address to him. It was the Lord’s design, in this instance, to indicate to his followers their relation to him and to the Father when he was no longer with them. He said in effect this: “You shall not, as you presently do, bring your questions to me; henceforth, you shall make your needs known to the Father by my authority and he will hear and answer.” For instances of such direct address to Christ as is involved in these songs, see Acts 7:60 and 9:6. There are many other examples of this in the New Testament. (Questions And Answers, Vol. II, pg.39)
- In my judgment it is surely proper and scriptural to “have a little talk with Jesus” either in songs of praise or prayers to Him. Furthermore, as a side note, Jesus is a “Father” in some sense because God has given children to Him. Read Hebrews 2:13. I personally would believe that Jesus is rightly named the “everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6) because He is a “Father” to us in some sense because we are His “children” in some sense (Heb. 2:13). G. K. Wallace said, “Christ was a Father. He had children.” He was a father who had a father.” (Wallace –Vaughn Debate, pg. 44-45).
- Can I have a little talk with Jesus?
- Jesus is the “one in charge” of everything that affects my spiritual life (1 Corinthians 15:27), but I can’t talk to Him at all or under any circumstances?
- Jesus is the Head of the body of which I am a member, but I can’t talk to Him? A part of His body, but can’t talk to head? What kind of head does not listen to the body?
- Jesus is the Vine in which I am a branch (John 15:1-8), from whom I derive all of my spiritual sustenance, but I can’t talk to Him?
- Jesus is the King of the kingdom in which I am a citizen, but I can’t talk to the King? What kind of King does not listen to the citizens of the citizens in his kingdom?
- Jesus is the Captain of my salvation (Hebrews 2:10), but I can’t talk to my Captain?
- Jesus is my Brother (Hebrews 2:11), but I can’t talk to my brother? What kind of brother will not let you talk directly to him?
- Jesus is my High Priest (Hebrews 3:1). He offered Himself for my sins, He is touched with all of the feelings of my infirmities (Hebrews 4:15), and is over the house of God of which I am a part (Hebrews 10:21), but I can’t talk to my High Priest? (1 Tim. 2:5). Can I come boldly to the throne of His grace? (Heb. 4:16; The Message).
- Jesus is my Physician (Luke 5:31), but I can’t talk to my Physician? What kind of physician would not let his patients talk to him and tell him what is wrong or ask for advice?
- Jesus is the Overseer of my soul (1 Peter 2:25), but I can’t talk to my overseer? What kind of overseer would not talk to or listen to the overseen? (Somebody answers, “Some of you Elders in the Church of Christ!” Just kidding, just kidding.)
- Jesus is the Bridegroom and I am part of His bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33). But the bride can’t talk to the bridegroom? What kind of husband would not let his wife talk to him directly?
- Jesus is my “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6), but I can’t talk to my Counselor? What kind of “counselor” is it who will not let us those of us who need counseling talk directly to him?
- Jesus is my Friend (John 15:14-15), but I can’t talk to my friend? What kind of friend is it who will not let us speak to Him directly but only through someone else?
- Jesus is the “Great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20), of which I am one, but I can’t talk to my Shepherd? What kind of shepherd would not want to know from his sheep what his sheep need?
- Jesus is the “Minister of the sanctuary” (Hebrews 8:2), of which I am a part, but I cannot talk to my Minister? What kind of minister will not listen to those he ministers to?
- Obviously I have a very different view of Jesus now than I did at first. Actually I have a little talk with Jesus every day and I even tell Him all about my troubles. Technically, we can never go to the Father and “leave Him out” because we must go through Him and actually go to Him…whether we realize it or not. We cannot go “through” Him without going “to” Him in some sense. Of course, I now talk to Him directly as I would any loving Friend, Brother, Physician, Companion, Counselor, Savior, Shepherd, and Lord. I also believe that He personally hears me when I talk to Him. (I certainly do not believe that as He sits at the right hand of the Father that He has any need to ask His Father, “What did he say? What did he say? “What did he say?” when I am praying!).
- The truth, most likely, is that the unity and oneness of the Godhead is such that the distinctions that are made are not nearly as pronounced as they seem to some of us. One of the main lessons from John chapter five is that Jesus is “equal with God” (Jn. 5:18) and therefore all should “honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (Jn. 5:23).
- Is it right to “Have a little talk with Jesus?” Why not ask Him?
Copy and paste for the first article:
(m) “On cloud nine” – means extremely happy.
(o) “One foot in the grave” – means seriously ill.
JUST AS I AM: MARRIED, DIVORCED AND REMARRIED
This book is written primarily for those who have been married, divorced and remarried and have come to Jesus for salvation. Many of you have suffered enough guilt, rejection and/or suspicion because a previous marriage did not work out and you have started over in a new marriage relationship. It is time for healing. It is time to focus on God’s grace, mercy and peace. It is time to move on. God wants to give you peace of mind and lasting assurance and this book will prove it. Jesus, the great “I AM,” accepts us just as we are—even if we are “married, divorced and remarried.”
This book covers a variety of timely subjects such as: What is marriage? What is meant by the two shall become “one flesh?” Is divorcing a mate always wrong? What does the Bible teach about divorce and remarriage? Are those divorced “still married” in God’s sight? What is “adultery?” How does God join a couple in marriage? Who can marry? Can one “live in adultery?” What about abusive relationships? Does a deserted believer have to stay single? Can the guilty party remarry? What about refusing to baptize/fellowship those divorced and remarried? Must couples who have been divorced and remarried in the past, divorce their present mates and live single for the rest of their lives in order to go to Heaven? What about preachers telling a couple who have been married for over eighteen years with two teenage children that they must divorce?
These and other questions are answered in this book—Just As I Am…Married, Divorced and Remarried.
Comments from others who have read the book:
You have really covered all the bases – the great thing about it, other than the fact that it’s biblical and well studied and presented, is the fact that the average person (like the two I’ve been talking to this week) will be able to read and understand! Too many of these books “Greek and Hebrew” the reader to death and leave them with more questions than answers!
I’m loving your book. I’m nearly finished with it and will recommend it to my church family this coming Sunday.
The book was a great insight to me. I am a Christian and my husband left me back in September. I was questioning my faith and my preacher gave me your book to read. It really helped open my eyes. Thank you for writing it.
“Wonderful book and is so easy to understand—so plain and simple—if people will just read it!”
Thanks so much, Wayne! Great book, wonderful read! I already shared my copy and am sure your book will touch many hearts!
I have found this book to be something that I believe the brotherhood really needs. In the church today, we are lacking Biblical teaching on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. The real truth in your book would allow more individuals to be led to the Lord as well as help those who have been hurt, abused and misused in the Lord’s Church to come back home.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen!!! There is Grace and Forgiveness for anyone!!”
“I got it and read it from cover to cover!! I can tell you have done your homework, there were some things I had never thought about before. Right now I am reading it again. I hurt so much for people in these situations and you have caused me to re-think on some things. I would say it is a very good book, very thought provoking.”
I read your book in two sittings. Learned more about the MDR issue than I have in my entire 57 years. Makes so much more sense than the way I was taught. Love you so much for having the courage to write a book like this.
I would like to thank you for writing what I feel is the best book on the subject MDR that I’ve read and I’ve read a number of them. I found it to be the most simplistic and logical but thorough approach to understanding the teaching of God’s idea of marriage and divorce…. I also feel that after reading the book I have a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus in the book of Matthew.
Your Book: Just As I Am, Married, Divorced and Remarried was very refreshing to me. Having been married, divorced and remarried I have run the gamut of opinions on the topic. My wife and I were told that we were living in sin. When asked how we should correct it, we were informed by some to separate and not live together.
From South Carolina
You make great points and do it in a way that even the “haters” should not complain. This was a long time coming. Wish I’d had it years ago to show my dad. Oh well….. You did a good thing by writing this book, Wayne. With this book, you are removing much guilt….Thanks again for writing it.
Wayne Dunaway has been a serious student of the Bible for over forty-four years. He is a Preacher and an Author. His books include A Journey with Jonah, The Lord’s Friend in a Lion’s Den, and Heaven: Where Few…Are Many. He has a unique way of speaking and writing which will be evident when you read his books.
Wayne can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Ph. 256-624-6024
A reader asks: Wayne, what do you believe about “precision obedience?”
First, I really do not know “precisely” what that means! It sounds like something only “Jesus” could do to me. Second, I have read the words “precision obedience” lately but I have not read any articles or books about what is meant by that. But I do know this:
Those of us believers who are doing “all” we “know” to do…quite obviously don’t “know” much. Any of us who think we are “practicing” all that Jesus teaches…quite obviously don’t even know what that means. Those of us who think we “precisely” obey all of God’s commands…must be very “precise” in our “choices” of which commands we are “choosing” to obey…and also very “loose” and “lenient” in our definition of “precise.” “Precise obedience” to every command of God at all times is not possible for weak sinful human beings like us and that is “precisely” the reason Jesus had to come to earth and practice what was actually “precision obedience.” Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).
Just two examples will suffice:
1. Therefore you shall be perfect (not nearly perfect, or somewhat perfect, or almost perfect, but “perfect”) just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matt. 5:48). No matter how “perfect” is defined no one you know does this “precisely” or “exactly.” (I personally don’t know anyone who even comes close.)
2. But also for this very reason, giving all (not some, or much, or a lot, but ALL) diligence (not negligence), add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (2 Peter 1:5-8). If you know anyone who is doing all of this “precisely” or “exactly” or “accurately” then you surely know the most “faithful,” “virtuous,” “knowledgeable,” “self-controlled,” “persistent,” “godly,” “kind,” “patient,” and “loving” person on the planet if they have actually been “precisely” doing this for any length of time. Those among us who claim that they are making “EVERY EFFORT” at “ALL TIMES” to add “ALL THESE THINGS” are simply “ALL” wrong!” When will we learn that salvation is based on what Jesus has already done for us…and not on what He is presently doing in us? He works “in us” because of what He has already done “for us.” Believers who are “already saved”…are now “all ready to serve.” Read Ephesians 2:8-10. We are a “work in progress”…because of His progressive work. Read Philippians 2:12-13 and Hebrews 13:20-21. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).
A related article: Keeping ALL of the commandments of God…really? Who? You gotta’ be kidding me!”