From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Sat Feb 21 1998 - 18:43:36 EST

On Sat, 21 Feb 98 06:29:41 PST Edgar Foster <> writes:
>Paul Dixon quoted this thought:
>>>I've always thought Stephen's prayer was an exceptional case because
>he had just had (or was still having?) a vision or view of Jesus
>"standing at the right hand of God". Since he was allowed to see
>Jesus, it made sense for him to talk/pray to Jesus.<<
>In this statement is contained a common error regarding PROSEUCHOMAI.
>Prayer is not just "talking" to God. It is "worshipful address" to God
>gods. Prayer is ONLY directed to God, not to humans. In the Timaeus,
>prayer is directed to the gods (heavenly luminaries). In the Bible, the
>true God is only addressed in prayer (pagans also address their gods).
>Thus, there is a distinction made between talking and praying.
>If prayer were merely "talking" to God, then Satan prayed to God in
>Job 1. Also, Cain "prayed" to God in Genesis 4. These statements would
>true if we failed to rightly understand PROSEUCHOMAI. Stephen may have
>talked to Jesus, but I find no evidence for saying he engaged in

Edgar et al:

While PROSEUCHOMAI is not used in Acts 7:59, neither is it used in Lk
23:46 where Christ gives a similar utterance directed to God His Father
just before Christ died. The parallels here are striking and undeniable.
 If one envisions the words of Christ as a prayer, then certainly one can
envision the words of Stephen as that of a prayer.

If your objection is that such cannot be considered a prayer by Stephen,
because this would then imply the deity of Christ, then you have given
away your theological presupposition and are letting that presupposition
determine your exegesis.

Whether or not Acts 7:59 should serve as a model for Christians today,
the point remains that apparently Stephen saw such an equality of essence
and being between the Father and the Son, that he felt comfortable in
addressing the Son, even as he would have the Father. Frankly, if I were
being martyred, I would have no necessary objection to imitating either
the words of Christ [Lk 23:46] or the words of Stephen. Apparently,
neither did many of the Christian martyrs throughout history, as the
records reflect.

I will have to admit, however, that I don't think I have ever prayed to
Christ as such. My prayers have always been directed to the Father, in
the name of the Son, and hopefully enabled by the Spirit.

Paul Dixon

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