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?
A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS?