To Whom Do We Address Our Prayers?

July 12, 2014

Friends,
I wrote yesterday, showing from God’s Word, that Jesus is God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But is there a particular title by which we should address God when we pray? Besides coming to God in humble reverence, worship, gratefulness, and praise, and with repentant / pure hearts that abide in Christ, I do not see, as some people do, that we must begin our prayers with, “Heavenly Father” rather than “Dear Jesus”. As a child, I began my prayers with the latter, but now I do so using the former. However, being that our God is One God, One Lord, One Spirit, I believe the matter should not be one to contend about.

Jesus has taught us about prayer. He says, “This is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in Heaven…” (Mt. 6:9) We see that He tells us to address our prayers to our Heavenly Father. But is this an unbending rule? If it is, then should His command in verse 6 be stiff as well when He tells us not to pray in public, but in privacy, alone with God? No, that command is about focusing our hearts and minds on the Lord while quieting ourselves, and about not praying publicly for the purpose of self-exaltation before men. So, is Jesus saying that this Mt. 6:9-13 prayer is the only correct prayer? No, He is giving us a guideline that covers necessary areas of our regular need.

When we pray, is it obligatory that we include the words, “In Jesus’ name we [or I] pray this”? Does Jesus include such a command in the Mt. 6:9-13 prayer guideline? He does not. However, in John 14:13,14 Jesus tells us that He will do whatever we ask in His name. But, what does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? I like to use the words, but actually, to pray in the name of Jesus means that we are asking in the authority we have been given by being in Christ. Let’s remember that the Father put all things under the authority, rulership, and power of Christ Jesus (Mt. 28:18 // John 13:3 // Eph. 1:19-23 // Phil. 2:9-11) and that through Him we may use His authority and power for all we need for life and godliness. (Luke 10:19 // Eph. 1:19 & 3:20 // 2 Peter 1:3,4 // 1 John 5:4)

Let’s take note concerning something else in John 14:13,14: Jesus is telling those that ask in His name that HE will do whatever we ask of Him. Why would we be amiss then to pray, “Dear Jesus, please grant…”? But, are we to ask Jesus to ask the Father? No, Jesus teaches us in John 16:26 that He does not ask the Father on our behalf. This is because when we pray in Jesus name / authority, we are addressing the entire Deity –He who is One God. (v. 28 & 4:24 & 8:58 // 2 Cor. 3:17,18)

Let’s compare Jesus’ statements: “Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (v. 14) Some ancient manuscripts add “Me” between the words “ask” and “anything” in verse 14, but regardless, Jesus is saying that HE will be the One granting the request.

Let’s continue on to Jesus’ words in John 16:23: “In that day you will ask nothing of Me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in My name, HE will give it to you.” So we see here that the Father grants the requests. And we read that Jesus says we will NOT ask requests of HIM. However, in verse 26, we read, “In that day you will ask in My name…” So which is it? And are we to differentiate “that day” in the two verses? I do not believe so, as “that day” seems to mean now / the present, since Christ returned to us through the Spirit at Pentecost. (John 14:16-19 // Acts 1:4,5 & 2:1-4)

Let’s compare Jesus’ words again concerning the promised Holy Spirit: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name…” (John 14:26) “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father…” (15:26) Who sends us the Spirit? The Father or Jesus? Both, for they are One God.

The answer to the question, then, “To Whom do we address our prayers?” is this: To the One True God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ (John 1:18 // 1 John 5:20), and whose presence we may enter into due to our union with Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:12) / His Spirit (John 3:5-8 // 1 Cor. 6:17) / His Name (Mt. 28:19) which we have through our faith in, and our corresponding obedience to, Him, His Name, and His words. (John 15:1-10 // Rom. 1:5 // 1 John 5:13)

“No one has ever seen God; but the only begotten God –the One who is in the bosom of the Father– that One declared / revealed Him.” (John 1:18)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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