Q: I have heard people use Acts 7:59 as an example of prayer directed to Jesus. Is it biblical to pray to Jesus?
A: It has been interesting to observe that Acts 7:59 is the one and only passage people ever use to try to teach that it is permissible to also pray to the Son, although it is obvious from actual instructions in Scripture and the actual examples of prayer in Scripture, prayers are always addressed to the Father. Acts 7:59 is not a valid passage to use since Stephen is not praying to the unseen God but is actually responding to a vision he is seeing. Verses 55-56 clearly tell us that he was seeing a vision of Jesus standing at the right hand of God the Father. Stephen is talking to the One he sees in the vision and making a request of the One he sees; so, it is not a prayer in any true sense of the term. For example, when people saw visions of angels, and the visionary made a request of the angel he saw, that did not mean he was praying to the angel because that was a forbidden thing to do. So making a request of the one he sees in a vision is not actually a prayer, any more than when Jesus was with His disciples and they made requests of Him were they actually praying. Acts 7:59 is no exception to the rule. On the other hand, it should be stated that it is not necessarily wrong to address a prayer to either the Son or the Holy Spirit. But it should be observed that it was not the biblical model.
Q: You say that prayer should be addressed to the Father. Is it wrong then to address the Son or Spirit in prayer? If Jesus holds the office of Priest, cannot we go to Him as well?
A: According to the Bible, every prayer should be addressed to the Father and never to the Son or the Spirit. Even after the ascension of Jesus — when He took His role as High Priest, all prayers recorded in the Book of Acts and the Epistles are always addressed to God the Father. No single prayer is ever addressed to the other two Persons of the Trinity. It is true that Yeshua does hold the office of Priest, but individuals did not pray to priests, even in the earthly sphere. When Aaron and his descendants served as High Priests, people did not pray to them. Even the prayers that are recorded in the Old Testament are addressed to God, not to the High Priest. It is true that we are to pray in Christ's name, but this not the same issue as to whom we address that prayer. A letter can be addressed to one party in the name of another. By the same token, prayers are addressed to God the Father in the name of the Son. To pray in this way means to pray in the Son's authority, and He has given us authority to approach God the Father in prayer (Galatians 4:1-7).
Q: What is a good way to build a solid prayer life?
A: Because people are different and personalities are different, no one method of building up a prayer life works the same for every believer. Prayer is, essentially, conversing with God. We all converse with different people in different manners and, therefore, we do not all converse with one another exactly the same way. We must treat prayer the same way. As we pray to God, we must view Him as a personal friend, but at the same time, not to treat it lightly since He is the sovereign God as well. If you can combine those two concepts in your mind, that of a sovereign God and that of a personal friend, and put them together, ask yourself the question, “How would you talk to someone who you would see visibly and physically in that situation?” Then make the leap from the visible to the invisible and go accordingly. Just as we have varieties of conversations, we should have different ways of praying. Sometimes we may wish to go through a list of specific things, like praying through a prayer list; sometimes we may just wish to speak to God about one specific issue and nothing else; sometimes we have only a request; sometimes a confession; sometimes just a praise and thanksgiving. It is not so much the length of each conversation that is important, but the frequency of it. You have to build that relationship on your own personality and ways of conversing and you do not need to move into any kind of special “holy language” to communicate with God.