Ask Anything: Who do we address in prayer?

This guest post is from Linnea Spicer.  Linnea and her husband Chuck left their existing church to help plant Discovery and have served in pretty much every area of the church.  Linnea served on our Leadership Team and currently teaches at Cornerstone Christian Academy.  She has a passion for God and is a great thinker.  

Q: Who do we address when we pray? God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit? 

A: I have often heard people pray aloud addressing God with a variety of names:  Our Father, Lord Jesus, Heavenly Father, Father God etc.  It’s interesting to consider the habits of Christians and whether they are coming from a biblical background or a strictly cultural one.  As with all important questions, we look to the scriptures to inform us.

The words we choose to use when we address God are all inadequate to fully capture the essence of who he is.  Every language, when attempting to define or declare the name of God leaves us wanting more.  The Hebrews had the same struggle and had many names referring to God (El Shaddai, Roi, Elohim are a few) and their name for Lord, Yahweh, was considered so holy that they would not dare say it aloud. God told Moses and the world his name in Exodus 3:14 when he said “I AM that I AM.” 

Jesus, however, teaches us to pray with a surprising title for God. He shares in Matthew 6:9 in what has traditionally become known as “The Lord’s Prayer” that we should approach God as we would our own Father, trusting that he knows what we need even before we ask.  The word he uses to address “our Father”, Abba in Aramaic, is better translated as ‘Daddy.’  I can only imagine the shock of the surrounding disciples and curious Jews who had been taught the holiness of God’s name upon hearing Jesus telling us to call God “Daddy,” an intimate, familiar and quite common name.  What a new thought! 

The Abba father image also implies more than a title or a specific word, but rather a relationship that we enter into as we pray.  More importantly than the words we choose is the attitude and posture of the heart as we enter prayer like Jesus taught us – with the heart of a child looking to the Provider, the Savior, the King, the Lord of Lords.  The many many names you can use to address the God of glorious Lord Jesus Christ only increase the more you get to know him better.

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