Sunday, March 30, 2008
Prayer - 3 Nephi 19:14-18
14 And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.
15 And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.
16 And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth.
17 And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray.
18 And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.
(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 19:14 - 18)
The disciples are encircled by fire as angels minister to them. As this is happening, Jesus also comes and stands in the midst of them and ministers to them. The last few verses appear to show that Jesus is building up His disciples. The experiences in the preceding verses appear to apply to only the 12 disciples of Jesus and not the masses as a whole.
Only after the disciples have been baptized with water and fire, and ministered to by angels and the Savior Himself, does Jesus turn to the multitude and speak to them.
Jesus commands the multitude to kneel and begin praying. The people kneel down and begin to pray to Jesus. Typically, we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, but in this instance, the people are praying directly to Jesus. Why? I think that the answer can be found in John 9:5 where it states, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When Jesus is present it is appropriate to pray to Him directly. Also in verse 22 Jesus states, “Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.”
We should direct our prayers to our Father in Heaven. Elder Bruce R. McConkie was very plain on this subject when he said, “Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. In this connection a current and unwise book, which advocates gaining a special relationship with Jesus, contains this sentence:
Because the Savior is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through his Son.
This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only.”