Should We Pray to the Father or Jesus?

Question from a Site Viewer
I’ve noticed that whenever I pray, I always pray to God the Father, as opposed to Jesus Christ or the Holy spirit. Is this a problem? At first I didn’t think so, but some how I feel like I’m neglecting Christ in my life, and just thinking of God’s love and God’s mercy, and God’s greatness. I always hear that we should have a relationship with Christ, yet I have always taken that to just mean God in general. Am I missing something here?

Apostle Paul always mentions Christ in his letters. In Ephesians, many of the paragraphs mention Christ:

  • “Spiritual Blessings in Christ”
  • “Made Alive in Christ”
  • “One in Christ”
  • “Unity in the Body of Christ”

The verse that really got me was Phillipians 3:7-11:

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11

Sometimes I feel like Christ and God are interchangeable, but it does not seem so in Paul’s letters. He mentions both, God and Christ Jesus. Please clarify this for me, because I don’t want to live a life neglecting my Savior.

Tim’s Answer
Thank you for your question about prayer. If we follow the pattern set forth in Scripture, we should pray to the Father, as Jesus taught us both in Matthew 6 and as He taught by example in His prayers. We also should pray in the name of the Son, as Jesus also taught in John 16:23-24. This was the pattern the Apostle Paul gives us in Ephesians 3:14-21. Ephesians 2:18 tells us that through Christ both Jews and Gentiles have access to the Father in the Spirit. So, my view is that the general pattern of prayer is to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. In my prayers, I almost always spend some time thanking the Father for Christ, who is the greatest blessing given to us.

However, I do not think it is wrong if one prays directly to Christ Jesus or to the Holy Spirit. While I know of no examples in Scripture where prayer is directed to the Holy Spirit, I do not find the concept to be contrary to Scripture. I note that in Acts 7:59, when Stephen was dying, His prayer was directed to the Lord Jesus. And the Apostle John closes out the book of Revelation with a prayer to the Lord Jesus. So, there is certainly valid precedence for praying to Jesus. The Holy Spirit, being our comforter and friend, certainly is capable of having conversation with us as well.

Nevertheless, given the teaching of Christ, I believe that His pattern to us is to pray to our Father in heaven. And we should ask in the name of Jesus, a pattern that Jesus explains in John 16:26-27 as being based on the Father’s own love for us, which love is shared by the Son and the Spirit. As Hebrews 4:15-16 states, we have the privilege of coming boldly to the Father because of our great high priest, Jesus Christ.

I appreciate your observation on the “Christ focus” of Scripture. Both the Father and the Spirit point to the Son. He is everything to us, our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption, our hope, our life, our shepherd, our brother, our friend, and our Lord and our God. Hebrews 12:2 tells us to look to Him as the author and perfecter of our faith.

May the Lord Jesus continue to guide you and enrich your life with His presence.

a fellow servant,


4 thoughts on “Should We Pray to the Father or Jesus?”

  1. I have established a close relationship with Jesus because He redeemed me with His blood and sometimes although apostle Paul said we were adopted as children of God, I cannot help but think he said it because he was the apostle to the gentiles. But after our “adoption”, are we not blood children of Jesus Christ? So I feel so close to Him. But as I was praying to Him, he said,”Pray also to our Father because He gave me to you.”

  2. Jesus said, if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father, that tells me if you pray to the Father your also praying
    to the son, if you pray to the son your also praying to the Father and if you pray to the Holy Spirit wouldn’t you
    be still praying to both the Father and the son Jesus, doesn’t…

  3. We should be careful here I think. As Christ emphasises throughout his ministry, he came to bear witness of the Father, who we cannot know except through Christ. The Father and Spirit do not point to Christ so much as Christ points to the Father and the Spirit confirms this truth on a personal level. We must remember that the Son is not greater than the Father, as Christ says. We are yo pray to the Father through our Lord, the Son of Man. Remember, to pray is to ask. While we may address our ‘prayers’ to the Son, when we PRAY (ie. ask) we should do as Jesus instructed and pray through him to our Father.

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