Should we pray to the Father or the Son?

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By BibleAsk Team


Pray to the Son or the Father

The question of whether to pray to the Son or the Father is one that has been pondered and debated among Christians for centuries. It delves into the heart of Christian theology and understanding of the nature of the Godhead. Let’s examine the Word of God that offers numerous references that shed light on this topic.

To begin, it’s essential to understand the concept of the Godhead in Christianity. The Godhead is the belief that God exists as three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—yet is one God. Each person of the Trinity is fully God, sharing the same essence or nature. This foundational doctrine shapes how Christians approach prayer and worship.

One aspect of this discussion revolves around the role of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in prayer. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus instructs His followers on how to pray to the Father as He serves as the only Mediator between humanity and the Father. In the Gospel of John, Jesus emphasizes the importance of praying in His name:

John 14:13-14 (NKJV) – “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

This verse suggests that when Christians pray, they should pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, acknowledging His role as the Mediator between humanity and the Father. To pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, signifies a recognition of His authority and His unique relationship with the Father.

Furthermore, Jesus Himself modeled this approach to prayer. In the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches His disciples to address God as “Our Father.” This prayer serves as a template for Christian prayer, highlighting the intimate relationship believers have with God as their Father through Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV) – “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Here, Jesus teaches His followers to direct their prayers to the Father, recognizing His sovereignty and holiness. This pattern suggests that while Jesus is the Mediator between humanity and the Father, the ultimate recipient of prayer is the Father himself.

Moreover, the apostle Paul reinforces this understanding in his letters to the early Christian churches. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul emphasizes the supremacy of Christ and encourages believers to pray with thanksgiving to God the Father through Jesus Christ:

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV) – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

This verse highlights the central role of Jesus Christ in Christian worship and prayer while directing the focus of gratitude and praise toward God the Father.

Believers should address the Father in their prayers because of His great sacrifice. The supreme expression of divine love is the Father’s gift of His own Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  Through Christ, it becomes possible for us to be “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1).

Also, when we pray to the Father we acknowledge our son-ship to Him. We may be unworthy to address Him as “Father,” but whenever we do so in sincerity, He receives us with rejoicing (Luke 15:21–24) and acknowledges us as His sons indeed.

However, it’s important to note that while the New Testament predominantly portrays prayer as directed to the Father through Jesus Christ, there is an incident where a prayer was addressed directly to Jesus. In the book of Acts, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, prays directly to Jesus as he is being stoned:

Acts 7:59 (NKJV) – “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'”

The reason Stephen addressed his prayer to Jesus because he saw Jesus. For he said, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (verse 56).

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Prayer

Additionally, throughout the New Testament, believers are encouraged to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in prayer, who dwells within them as a comforter:

Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV) – “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

This passage underscores the Trinitarian nature of prayer, where believers are guided by the Holy Spirit in their communication with the Father in Jesus’ name.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Bible teaches that we should pray to the Father in Jesus Christ’s name by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This has been the predominant pattern in the New Testament as this form of prayer acknowledges Jesus’ role as Mediator. Ultimately, prayer in the Christian faith is an expression of relationship with the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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