I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Can Prayer be Directed to Jesus and/or The Holy Spirit?

Cover of "When You Pray: Making the Lord'...Cover via Amazon 
Is it OK to direct prayer to Jesus or the Holy Spirit, or should we address all prayer to the Father?

From Jesus' teaching regarding prayer in John 16:23-27, it would appear He is instructing us to address our prayers to the Father. However, when you read John 14:13,14 (below), it seems to teach that we can also address prayer to Jesus. Scripture does not clearly prohibit directing prayer to either Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  When we pray, the Holy Spirit helps us. See Romans 8:26,27. I see no real problem in directing prayer to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. I think it is very important to remember that we have one God, present in three persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  When you pray to one you are praying to all three.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 16:23

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.  John 14:13,14.


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Aaron said...

Good question, Wayne. However, I'd like to respectfully disagree. When Jesus prayed, He prayed to God the Father both in narrative (as in the garden of Gethsemane, for example) and in teaching (as in the Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4).

It's important to remember who each person of the Trinity is, and what function they serve (so to speak). God the Father has a will, all knowledge gives power and wisdom as he pleases. God the Son receives power from His Father because of His perfect righteousness and obedience, which was obtained at Calvary. God the Spirit searches, empowers, convicts, intercedes, comforts, and guides us.

Furthermore, there is a subordinational order to the three persons: God the Father is the source and primary Head, Jesus the Son submits to the will of His Father, and the Spirit obeys both.

I may be wrong, and I would greatly appreciate being corrected if I am, but it seems here that prayers should be directed to God the Father, with respect to His complete Trinitarian nature.

My "Trutheran" Christian Living blog

Wayne Weeks said...

Hi Aaron,
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your take on this subject is interesting. I agree with much of what you said, but stand by me answer. As far a praying to Jesus, we do have several Biblical examples, the most quoted and first example in the Bible is Stephen’s prayer (Acts 7:59). Further examples are: Rev 22:20, 2 Cor 12:7-9, Acts 8:24. I think it is pretty clear that praying to Jesus is scriptural.

Praying to the Holy Spirit is a little more difficult to quantify as there are scriptural examples. None the less, I think it is clear we can talk to the Holy Spirit as we have an example of the Holy Spirit being lied to (Acts 5:3).

The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will (Rom. 8:26-27). Intercession implies not only receiving communication, but also communicating. It implies intelligence, a concern, and a formal role. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal power, but an intelligent and divine Helper who lives within us.
Whatever we say to the Spirit we are saying to God, and whatever we say to God we are saying to the Spirit.

Blessings brother,

Aaron said...

Thanks for posting the reply - it was very helpful for me. Those verses you referenced (as well as Acts 8:22) were very brief but clearly show how the apostles prayed to Jesus. I hadn't remembered them when I posted my initial reply, and I'm thankful for God's gracious gift of humility in showing me His truth in my error.

Another thing I thought of when praying this morning was that "no one comes to the Father except through" Jesus. So if we pray to Jesus, we are coming to the Father in the right means, just as if we pray "in Jesus' name."

I know what you're saying about the Spirit. He has just as many personal qualities as both God the Father and Jesus the Son, including those you stated, perfecting that Trinitarian unity and showing that when we speak to one we speak to all.

This has been a very enriching topic to think about for me - one I hadn't considered much before. So thank you again, Wayne, for posting it and for your Scriptural reply!

My "Trutheran" Christian Living blog

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