Christian Living

Pray to the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Praying to the Godhead

Last week we looked at God as Trinity and used the image of a tripod to illustrate how one God can exist in three parts: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now we’ll build upon that understanding and use it to inform us so that we can better pray to the Trinity.

When you pray, who do you pray to? Many people address their prayers to God. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s a bit impersonal and keeps him at a distance. God doesn’t want that, and we shouldn’t either. God desires that we have an intimate relationship with him.

This should be our intent as well. One way to do this is to stop addressing our prayers to God and start talking to him using his Trinitarian parts: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is, our Creator, our Savior, and our Advocate.

To inform us as we move forward, consider the characteristics of each part of the godhead.

Pray to the Trinity When We Offer Thanks and Praise

God deserves our adoration and are thankful hearts. Out of gratitude for what he’s done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us we should praise and thank him. To help make this come alive we can address our appreciation, as appropriate, to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.

For example, we can praise the Father for creating us (knowing that his Son took part as well, John 1:1-3). We can thank Jesus for saving us. We can thank the Holy Spirit for living in us and guiding us.

Likewise, we can praise Father God for his blessings and provisions. We can praise Savior God for his example, words, and sacrifice to save us. We can praise Holy Spirit God for living in us and guiding us.

Pray to the Trinity When We Make Our Requests

We can also use this idea of praying to the Trinity to inform our petitions. For example, James writes that if anyone lacks wisdom, they should ask God (James 1:5). This is correct. But which part of the godhead can best grant this request? The Holy Spirit. So ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom.

If we seek a blessing, who might we ask? Go to God the Father. Ask the Father for his provisions, and he will provide.

If we desire to live a more holy life—not to earn God’s attention but as an act of worship—we might ask this of Jesus, since his life serves as an example for us to follow.

In Whose Name Should We Pray?

Jesus tells us we are to set our requests before him, asking in his name (John 14:13-14). Some Christian traditions follow this by adding a phrase to the end of their prayers: “in Jesus’s name we pray, amen.” Of course, Jesus also tells us to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:6). Which is it? Both.

In addition, the Holy Spirit can help us when we pray. He will intercede for us (Romans 8:26-27). Should we then pray in his name? How about all three? This may be why other Christian traditions pray “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Enjoy Freedom as We Pray

This idea that we can pray to the Trinity is to free us so that we can move into a closer and more meaningful relationship with God. In doing so we should hold loosely our desire to identify the correct part of God to pray to. If we ask Jesus for something that more appropriately should go to the Father, it’s not a problem. They are one (John 17:22).

Praying to one is praying to all three. If we get the name wrong, it’s not a big deal.

This idea that we can pray to the Trinity is not a command to follow but one option to enhance our prayers. As we pray to the Trinity, we can breathe life into our prayers if our words mired stuck in a rut.

In the same way, this can also draw us into a closer relationship with God if he seems distant. Remember, it’s not him who’s far away from us but we who are far away from him.

When we pray to the Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we draw ourselves to God in greater intimacy. Isn’t this the purpose of prayer?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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