To whom should we pray?

Last time, we looked at Who should pray, as part of a series on Prayer. But the question of to whom should we pray often comes up. Should we pray to one or any of the three persons in the tryinity. If we believe in the trinity, that there is one God in three persons, then the answer would be yes. Let’s look at what the Bible says about it.

We are to pray only to God.

Deuteronomy 6:13-15

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

Philippians 4:6

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Jesus said we are to pray to The father.

Matthew 6:6

6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:9

9“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,”

John 15:16

16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

John 16:23 (NASB)

23“In that day you will not question Me about anything Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.

Since we believe in the trinity, it would make sense that we are to pray to God the Son, Jesus. We know this is the cases because we are told to be in fellowship with Him – which requires communication.

1 Corinthians 1:9

9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful

And in fact we are told by Jesus we can ask Him.

John 14:14

14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

We also have examples of Jesus being worshipped and prayed to.

John 9:38

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Acts 7:59

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

But what about praying to the Holy Spirit? I could find no examples or instrucitons of praying TO the Holy Spirit. However, just because we do not see evidence of something in the Bible does not mean we should or should no do that thing. Where the Bible is silent, we must have grace and take care to find principles in the Bible that tell us what we should do in those cases where a specific example or instruction does not exist.

So as to whether we should pray to the Holy Spiirt, the answer would be yes, if God is in fact three in one. Yet, we do not have biblical evidence of whether to pray to the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Holy Spirit testifies about God the Father.

John 15:26

26″When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

Even so, I think we also should communicate with the Holy Spirit, because we are told Paul prays for us to be in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 13:14

14May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Indeed, the Holy Spirit will remind us of all truth – we have to be in communication with Him for this to occur.

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

This involves communication, which is what prayer is.

Now, I know some will say, “we have no biblical evidence we should pray to the Holy Spirit,” and,  “you are only using human logic to say we should pray to the Holy Spirit.” I can’t argue with you there. Certainly the Holy Spirit teach us all things (John 14:26) and intercedes for us (Romans 8:27-28). Christ is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). I am only saying that God is who we should pray to; God is made up of three persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It makes sense to me that we can pray to the Holy Spirit, being as how He is God. But should you feel you should only pray to the Father or to both the Father and the Son, feel free to follow your conviction.

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10 Responses

  1. One of the most important books in the Bible for our understanding of the Holy Spirit is the Gospel of St. John. With this present time or can we say this dispensation of Grace, is character of Christ above at the right hand of the Father, but for the most part Christ is in a place of rejection in the world, and the presence now of God is the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the promise of the Father. But this is within the Church or the Body of Christ. We can see this reality in the Epistles and Letters of the Church, the Holy Spirit resides in and with both the collective and individual Church, body and each member. See, St. John 7:38-39. Yes, indeed the Holy Spirit is God within the Church, because Christ is glorified on the Throne of God, He Christ lives above for us, “praying for us” (our Parakletos with the Father). And we have the Holy Spirit within us the Church, (our Parakletos within). “And I will pray the Father, and He shall (will, gk.) give you another Comforter (parakletos), that HE may abide with you forever.” (St. John 14:16) Amen!
    Fr. R.

  2. PS..So we are not left to wonder about our God, each person or member of the Holy Trinity. They all work together in the redemptive life of the Church, “the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19) A Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity…Three in One; and One in Three!
    Fr. R.

  3. wbmoore:

    While there is no mention of praying to the Holy Spirit and nothing that precludes it, there is the matter of what has been revealed in scripture concerning the role and ministry of each division of the Triune Godhead. As best as I can tell, we pray to God the Father in the Name of God the Son. Then God the Father grants the request and sends God the Holy Spirit to answer the request, and if I am correct the Holy Spirit also comes in the Name of (or in the place of?) God the Son.

    There are some details with which I am not clear, such as the distinction between the actions of God the Son (being God’s Word) and God the Spirit (see creation, where the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters), whether the Holy Spirit is actually sent by God the Son or God the Father (i.e. whether the Holy Spirit is sent by God the Father at God the Son’s request), and whether the Holy Spirit comes in the Name of God the Son or God the Father.

    However, following the model set forth in the Lord’s prayer keeps one from tying oneself into theological and speculative knots on the issue. It is indeed significant and relevant that no examples of praying to God the Holy Spirit exists, and furthermore that David prayed to God the Father requesting that God the Holy Spirit not be removed from him in Psalm 51! He did not pray to or address in prayer the Holy Spirit.

    So again, the structure set forth by the Lord’s prayer is best, and there is also the structure of the prayers and doxologies in the epistles.

  4. irishanglican:

    Jesus Christ is God within the church also. Consider http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/immanuel-jesus-christ-is-here/

    Also, I am not ignoring your comments on the eternal generation of the Son. I will address them, hopefully next week!

  5. Hi Job.

    I agree. It is best to follow the model Christ gave us, but we DO see Christ being prayed to by Stephen (Acts 7:59).

    The function and roles of Christ and the Holy Spirit could cover a book.

  6. wbmoore:

    And that is a book that I would love to read!

  7. […] should we pray? Posted on November 12, 2009 by wbmoore We looked at Who should pray, To whom should we pray, To Whom Should We NOT Pray , For What Should We Pray, Where should we pray, Why should […]

  8. […] Posted on October 12, 2009 by wbmoore We have looked at Who should pray. We have looked at To whom should we pray. We have looked at To Whom Should We NOT Pray. This time we will look at what we should pray for, […]

  9. […] should we pray? Posted on October 14, 2009 by wbmoore We have looked at Who should pray, To whom should we pray, To Whom Should We NOT Pray , For What Should We Pray, and Where should we pray. Now we will […]

  10. […] should we pray? Posted on October 15, 2009 by wbmoore We have looked at Who should pray, To whom should we pray, To Whom Should We NOT Pray , For What Should We Pray, Where should we pray, and Why should […]

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