To Whom Should We Pray?
Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work in perfect unity and harmony, each has a specific role in our prayers. The writer of the Book of Hebrews said, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence [boldness], so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
But how do we approach the most powerful Presence in the universe? Do we pray directly to him? Do we pray to Jesus Christ and ask him to present our needs to the Father? How can we even approach such a holy God with boldness?
In this lesson you will learn why all three persons of the Godhead are active in our prayers and why each person performs a separate but interconnecting role.
Lesson Objective: To understand the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in prayer
Read Acts 5 and 6
Before you consider the many verses below, be sure to read the Bible passages listed above.
If you click on the verses in the study below you can see the entire verse! If you are not on-the-go, consider opening a physical Bible and looking up the passages.
To Whom Do We Pray?
- According to Matthew 6:6, to whom should we pray?
- From the following passages, give several reasons for your answer:
1 Chronicles 29:11, 12
- Meditate on the principles contained in the following excerpt from How to Pray by R. A. Torrey:
But some will say, “Is not all prayer unto God?” No. Very much so called prayer, both public and private, is not unto God. In order that a prayer should be really unto God, there must a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realization that God is bending over us and listening as we pray.
In much of our prayer there is little thought of God. Our mind is not taken up with the thought of the mighty and loving Father. We are occupied neither with the need nor with the one to whom we are praying but our mind is wandering here and there throughout the world. When we really come into God’s presence, really meet him face to face in the place of prayer, really seek the things that we desire from him, then there is power.
How do you approach God when you pray?
How can you better focus your attention on him?
Think about a time when you particularly sensed God’s presence when you prayed. What made this time of prayer different than others?
Through Whom Do We Pray?
Read John 14:6 and 1 Timothy 2:5.
- How many mediators are there between God and man? Who is this mediator?
- On the basis of Hebrews 4:14–16, describe the qualifications of our great high priest.
- What are the requirements for a prayer relationship according to 1 John 3:21–23?
- What does unconfessed sin in our lives do to our prayer fellowship with God (Psalm 66:18)?
- God’s Word promises in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins he will forgive us. The word “confess” means to “agree with.” This involves naming our sins to God, acknowledging that he has already forgiven us through Christ’s death on the cross, and repenting of our sins (turning away from or changing our attitude toward them).
Follow these steps for confessing your sins:
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sin in your life.
Write it down on a sheet of paper.
Confess the sin to God and ask him to forgive you.
Receive his forgiveness by faith according to 1 John 1:9.
Write the verse across the sin.
Throw away the paper.
- God honors those who truly pray in his Son’s name. What is the promise recorded in John 15:16 and John 16:23? What did Jesus promise in John 14:12–14?
- The name of Jesus means everything to God. He lifted Jesus to the highest place in the heavenly sphere and elevated his name far above all others in heaven and on earth.
From the following passages, describe the significance and standing given to the name of Jesus:
Acts 3:6, 16 and Acts 4:10, 30
- Improperly used, the name of Jesus does not bring results. To many people, the name of Jesus has become a powerless incantation, a run together phrase, leaving them bewildered over unanswered prayer.
According to the following verses, how can we use Jesus’ name properly and receive our answer from God?
1 John 5:13–15
John 15:16, 17
By Whom Do We Pray?
Read Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20.
Andrew Murray, noted author and authority on prayer, wrote:
We all admit the place the Father and the Son have in our prayer. It is to the Father we pray, and from whom we expect the answer. It is in the merit, and name, and life of the Son, abiding in him and he in us, that we trust to be heard.
But have we understood that in the Holy Trinity all the Three Persons have an equal place in prayer, and that the faith in the Holy Spirit of intercession as praying in us is as indispensable as the faith in the Father and the Son? How clearly we have this in the words, “Through Christ we have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
As much as prayer must be to the Father, and through the Son, it must be by the Spirit. And the Spirit can pray in no other way in us than as he lives in us. It is only as we give ourselves to the Spirit living and praying in us, that the glory of the prayer–hearing God, and the ever-blessed and most effectual mediation of the Son, can be known by us in their power.1
- According to Romans 8:26, 27, why does the Holy Spirit need to help us pray?
How does he help us pray?
Why does God answer the prayers of the Holy Spirit?
- What, then, should be our relationship with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)?
- As we exercise the privilege of prayer, what does God do about our anxiety (Philippians 4:6, 7)? Give an example of how this has worked in your life.
- Why should we cast our troubles on him (1 Peter 5:7)?
Think back to a time when you did this. How did he answer your prayer?
What did the answer mean to you?
1 Andrew Murray, The Ministry of Intercession: A Plea for More Prayer (Fleming H. Revell Company, 1898), pp. 119, 120.
- List any new insights into prayer that you have gained from this lesson. Describe how you will use these insights to have a more well-rounded prayer life.
- Write down at least one new way in which you want to apply prayer in your life right now.
- Do you recognize the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in your prayers?
Memory Verse: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT)