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2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (ESV):

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Did Paul pray to Jesus?

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The identity of the "Lord" in 2 Cor 12:8, 9 could potentially be either the Father (eg, Matt 11:25) or Jesus (eg, 2 Thess 2:16, Luke 5:8, etc).

There are a number of times in the NT where the unqualified vocative "O Lord" is used such as:

  • 1 Cor 16:22 - If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be under a curse. Come, O Lord!
  • Matt 15:22 - A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly."
  • Rev 15:4 - Who will not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.”
  • Rev 6:10 - And they cried out in a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You avenge our blood and judge those who dwell upon the earth?”
  • Acts 1:24 - And they prayed, “Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen

There are many more - most of these, especially those without qualification, refer to Jesus and thus are prayers to Jesus. I observe that in the NT, the title "Lord" is never used of the Father without an accompanying "God" or "Father" close-by.

Thus, I see no reason to doubt that 2 Cor 12:8, 9 is a prayer to Jesus - it is addressed to the "Lord" and when unqualified, addresses Jesus.

APPENDIX - Prayers to Jesus

There are numerous cases in the NT of People praying directly to Jesus. Here is a sample:

  • John 4:10 - Jesus answered and said to her, "If you had known the gift of God and who it is saying to you, 'Give Me to drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given to you living water."
  • John 14:13, 14 -And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me for anything in My name, I will do it. Acts 1:24, 25 - And they prayed, “Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen to take up this ministry and apostleship, which Judas abandoned to go to his rightful place.”
  • Acts 7:59, 60 - While they were stoning him, Stephen appealed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Falling on his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
  • Acts 9:5 - “Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied."
  • 1 Cor 1:2 - To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours
  • 2 Cor 12:8, 9 - Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.”
  • 1 Tim 1:12 - I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, that He considered me faithful and appointed me to service. Rev 5 contains numerous prayers of praise to Jesus, eg, V8-10, V11, 12, V13.
  • Rev 22:20 - He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
  • Matt 28:17 - When they saw Him, they worshiped Him [this one for completeness] See also Matt 2:11, 14:33, 28:9, Luke 4:8; 24:52; John 9:38, Rom 10:9, Heb 1:5, 6, Phil 2:10,

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