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Addressing God in prayer (Read 541 times)
I Am Dude
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Addressing God in prayer
Apr 29th, 2017 at 5:55pm
 
What is the best way to address God in prayer?

Most prayers seem to be addressed to the Father or the Son, but I don't believe it's common to pray strictly to the Holy Spirit, perhaps unless it's in conjunction with the Father and Son. This is, of course, assuming one is coming from a trinitarian perspective, which I am.

If I pray to "My Heavenly Father," does it cover the Son and Holy Spirit as well?

Is there some kind of spiritual difference between praying to the Father and the Son? Are certain situations more appropriate to address Jesus Christ rather than the Father?

I'm perhaps 1/3 of the way through the Bible so I don't have the complete answer to this yet- what does the Bible teach regarding this?

I was thinking that praying in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit would cover all bases.

I'm somewhat averse to using the title "god," even with a capital G, as it is a title likewise used for false gods and pagan deities. I've also read some alternative perspectives indicating that terms like the Lord and God have been sinisterly introduced into Christianity to trick us into blasphemy, as allegedly these terms were originally names for false gods. I don't put much faith in such theories but the possibility makes me weary.

I also considered that perhaps the original name, perhaps Yahweh, is most appropriate.

Don, any guidance from your knowledge and experience would be appreciated. Thanks!
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But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
 
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TheDonald
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Re: Addressing God in prayer
Reply #1 - Apr 29th, 2017 at 8:24pm
 
Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the heavenly Father in Jesus' name (John 16:23) and His Lord's prayer is address to our heavenly Father, not to Jesus!   The NT teaches us to praise and thank Jesus, but to offer our prayer petitions to the Father.  But Jesus is God incarnate, you say.  So why does it matter whether you address God or Jesus in prayer?  Well, the NT teaches that Jesus is the mediator between God and humanity and that we should think of His current role as our heavenly intercessor.  Our acknowledgment of these 2 roles (prayer "in Jesus' name") tends to get buried by our presumption when we address Jesus directly. 

In the mystery of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is God's saving power in action or God insofar as we can experience Him.  The Holy Spirit helps guide our prayers to the Father and points away from "Himself" to the Father.  So I believe we should petition neither the Spirit nor Jesus.  But God is compassionate and does not abandon us for our minor theological errors. Many prayers to Jesus or the Holy Spirit have been very effective, despite my  quibbles!

I think the more important issue is this: How should we talk to God?  What should we say and not say--and why?  Jesus warns us not pray as if God needs the information: "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8)."  Jesus also warns against the use of repetitive words and phrases (6:7).  But anyone who tries to pray for an extended period of time finds themselves reminding God of needs and tirelessly repeating the same petitions and words of praise and thanksgiving.  After a while, such words seem cheap, mechanical, and ineffective, but the petitioner despairs of the lack of alternatives. 

So what is the solution?  Let me make just 2 points here.
(1) One must learn to pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
I will discuss this in a later post.
(2) Most believers seem to assume that there are basically 3 types of prayer: praise, thanksgiving, and petitions.  To correct his misconception, I recommend Richard Foster's book, "Prayer," where this Quaker scholar offers chapters on 22 (!) different types of prayer.  The more these types are understood and practiced, the more our petitions can be effective and our praise and thanksgiving meaningful.
Before you read Foster's book "Prayer,"  I recommend that you read his earlier outstanding book, "The Celebration of Discipline."  Google the reviews and table of contents for both books in Amazon.  Anyway, Dude, do you want me to start a new thread on these issues or address them in this one?

P.S.  Now for a Duh moment.  Do you prefer I address you as "Dude," "Vince," or "Vincent?"

And Albert, I will address the questions your raise in a future post.
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I Am Dude
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Re: Addressing God in prayer
Reply #2 - Apr 29th, 2017 at 9:17pm
 
Thanks, that makes sense to me.

My friends and family call my Vince, except my mother, who calls me Vincent, and my wife, who calls me Baby. Anything but baby will be fine by me. I'm not called "Dude" in the real world except by some of my surfer friends, but it's more like, duuuuuuude...

One thing that's been on my mind in regard to prayer is selfishness. I feel like prayer with selfish motivations (not selfish at the expense of others, but petitions to the benefit of one's own self, or for helping others but perhaps with at least a partially selfish motivation) may not be in Jesus' name in the sense that they are not according to God's will (which is what I take the expression "in Jesus' name" to mean), which is essentially the opposite of selfishness if I'm not mistaken.

For instance, if I have a personal health issue, I want to get better for my own sake, but also because the alternative would hurt my loved ones. So there is some selfishness in there. Or prayer for a loved one, not just for their sake, but for mine as well. Perhaps one needs to let go of the selfish aspect of the motivation and be completely concentrated on the selfless part? Or maybe there is a way to frame the selfish (harmless) prayer in a way that works?
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But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
 
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