Who Should I Pray To?

Question: “Who should I pray to; the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?  How do I start and end a prayer?”

Bible Answers

The question often arises, “Do I pray to the Father or should I pray in the name of Jesus?”  “How do I start a prayer or how should I end a prayer”?  Lets first review scripture.


The following prayers from Jesus and Paul will give us guidance.

Some of Jesus’ Prayers

Some of Paul’s prayers

In all of these verses, Jesus tells us to pray to the Father in His name. But if we just add “in Jesus” like we would add a period at the end of a sentence, it has no value. Rather, we need to be saying in our heart, that we recognize the importance of the name of Jesus, the power in the name of Jesus, the position of Jesus, that we are coming to the Father in the Holy name of Jesus Christ, and that we are acting in His name.

When you come in the name of another person, you are to be treated as if you were the person who authorized you to come. When we come in the name of Jesus, we may enter God’s courtroom and He will treat us as He would treat Jesus.

Should we pray to God, the Lord, the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit? It is interesting that in the OT we have over 300 verses with pray(er)(ed) and God or Lord but few examples in the NT.  Likewise, we have only a couple of examples of praying to Jesus in the NT and no examples of praying to the Holy Spirit.  On the other hand, there are no verses prohibiting us from praying to God, the Lord, Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.    

To best clarify this question, we need to follow Jesus’ instructions:

When you pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven … (Luke 11:2).

When you pray, say, Our Father in heaven… (Matthew 6:9).

When you pray, say, … ask the Father in my name… (John 16:23).

In prayer, we are to address God the Father. This is to be the norm; it is the pattern Jesus gives us to follow. In giving this instruction Jesus is not forbidding prayer directed at other persons of the Trinity, but he is showing us that prayer should normally be directed to God the Father in the name of Jesus.

The intent should be clear.  We pray to God, our Father in the name of Jesus Christ.  We are approaching the Father in the authority of Jesus.  While the salutation normally begins or ends in Jesus’ name, this is not a magic formula. It is not so much the words we pray or the structure, but the trust, faith, and conviction of our heart that God hears.

Next Section - What are the five types of prayer?

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