God, Jesus, Holy Spirit: To Whom Do I Pray?

When I pray, should I pray to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?

While it is difficult to define and explain the Trinity, it’s important to establish some biblical guidelines that will help answer your question. The Father is God (Rom. 1:7), Jesus is God (John 1:1) and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). At the same time, there is only one God (Deut. 6:4). Plainly stated, the Trinity is one God, existing in three co-eternal and co-existent Persons (see Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14). When you address prayer to the Father, the Son or the Spirit, you are praying to God, because all three make up one God. From what I can tell, most prayer in the New Testament is directed to the Father. For instance, when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said, “This is how you should pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” (Matthew 6:9). There are other times however, when prayer is directed to Jesus. When Stephen was being stoned to death, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). In John 14:14, Jesus said, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” While the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27), I haven’t been able to find a reference that says we should pray specifically to the Holy Spirit, though I don’t think it would necessarily be wrong to do so. It’s certainly appropriate to address any member of the Trinity. One reason we don’t see evidence for praying to the Spirit is perhaps because He is always bearing witness of the Son (John 15:26). While not saying we should pray to the Holy Spirit, Jude 20 tells us to pray “in the Holy Spirit.” Interestingly, when I asked my friend Ray Pritchard for some insight on this topic he pointed out that nearly all of our hymns about the Holy Spirit are prayers to the Spirit - “Breathe on Me Breath of God,” “Spirit of the Living God, Fall Afresh on Me,” and “Holy Spirit, Fill Me Now.” Having said all that, I recommend that you pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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