Stephen’s Dying Prayer

Acts 7:59

While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

As Stephen is dying he recites a form of a Jewish bedtime prayer that we read in Psalm 31:5.

What is interesting is that Stephen addresses his prayer not to Yahweh (exactly), as the Psalmist did, but to Lord Jesus. In fact, in the Greek it is “Kyrios Jesus”.

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint), the name of God, Yahweh, is translated into Kyrios.

You see what is happening here?

Stephen is commending his spirit to Jesus, who will receive him after death, because Jesus is now in the heavenly realm at the right hand of the Father, one with the Father.

The title Kyrios ascribed to Jesus indicates supreme sovereignty  over all creation. He is Lord and Master of the universe.

Sometimes people say you can translate and interpret Scripture in such a way that the authors are not really saying that Jesus is divine, or that Jesus is God, or that it is appropriate to worship him. Some say the proper interpretation is that Jesus was showing us that we are all God already, and we have only to realize it.


The authors of Scripture are crystal clear in their affirmation of just who they saw Jesus to be–none other than the Creator of the universe, the mediation reconciling humans to God the Father. This may be rather difficult to comprehend theologically or metaphysically, but it is plain to see just who they were avowing Jesus to be.

And they were willing to die for it.

2 thoughts on “Stephen’s Dying Prayer”

  1. Thank you so much for this Rob. What you have written here about Stephen’s dying prayer (praying the Psalms to the majestic, exalted, ascended Savior and Lord) is just what I needed to read this morning.
    The LORD bless you richly in your “ripple effect” ministry.

    Lucindale Bible Chapel,
    South Australia

    1. You’re so welcome, Philip–praise be to our Lord! All the way from Australia. I love it. We are connected in Christ.

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