The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
— Samuel Chadwick
It’s Prayer Week here on GUWG. Yesterday, we focused on the WHY of prayer. Today, we’ll focus on the WHO.
So, who prays? According to the latest data from the Barna Group, in the average week:
- 84% of all adults pray
- 89% of women pray
- 79% of men pray
- 92% of conservatives pray
- 71% of liberals pray
- 65% age 21 and under pray
- 30% of atheists/agnostics pray
OK, so that’s who prays. But to whom should we pray? Or, as the question raised yesterday asked: Should we pray to God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, all of them at once, Jesus’ mom or someone else?
The short answer: We should only pray to God. (If you need help understanding the whole God/Trinity thing, click here.)
The long answer . . .
A survey of the prayers of the New Testament reveals that the vast majority are to God the Father. But that’s a bit misleading because a huge chunk of the prayers were Jesus’ and he didn’t pray to himself.
There are several prayers in the Bible that were directly to Jesus. As he was dying, Stephen prayed: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59). The closing prayer in Revelation is addressed to Jesus (“Come, Lord Jesus!”). (Revelation 22:20). Jesus is our “merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2:17) who enables us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence.” (Hebrews 4:16)
So, it’s clearly OK to pray to the Father and to Jesus. But what about the Holy Spirit?
There are no prayers in the New Testament directly to the Spirit. While there’s nothing wrong with talking to the Spirit, here’s how the Bible describes his role in prayer:
[T]he Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
At its essence, prayer is communicating with God. Get to know each person in the Trinity intimately. Share your deepest thoughts and concerns with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If you don’t know what to say, ask the Spirit for help.
OK, that’s the WHO of prayer. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the WHAT.