Recognize GOD’s Hierarchy When We Pray
There is the notion amongst many Christians with a sincere love for God, that when we pray to God, we should pray to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in an equal manner. I have heard it said, “We don’t pray to the Holy Spirit. To do that dishonors the Holy Spirit.” In my observance, I find many people pray to Jesus or just to God the Father. Some do either/or with no real concern. Still, others more often than not, pray to God or the Lord and say “In Jesus Name” when finished.
It seems to me that we are not told to pray to Jesus or the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit are indeed a part of the Godhead (and all present in prayer), but Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father. He states, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 ESV). Now in context, He is telling us not to pray in public simply to be seen praying. Prayer is not an ego boost. He also communicates to pray to the Father. This passage is not the only time He says to pray to the Father. In Luke 11:2 Jesus says, “When you pray say: ‘Father, Hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come.’” Furthermore, when Jesus Himself prays in the Bible, He prays to the Father (look up the prayers of Jesus). Here are some verses to start with: Matt 26:39 Luke 22:42, Luke 23:34, and John 11:41 or you can trust me that in all these verses Jesus prays to the Father.
I take this to mean that we go to the Father in prayer and not Jesus the Son or the Holy Spirit. At the same time, I don’t think it offends Father God if we pray to Jesus or even the Spirit since they are God.
Nevertheless, I think we should respect the hierarchy of the Godhead.
Jesus taught us to pray through Him to Father God or in His Name. The finished work of Jesus Christ makes the way open to the throne of Father God. There are no other means to access His presence, and we are to enter humbly. We are to enter seeking above all to reflect Jesus in whom we have such mercy. Since there is no coming before Father God without the act of purification provided by the cross of Christ Jesus. To which He was committed even before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:4).
So, it is in the Name of Jesus we pray… not to Jesus… but in Jesus.
So, this means conforming to God’s will by asking for what we need to live our human lives after the example of Jesus Christ’s humanity. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul tells us the Holy Spirit Himself is in prayer helping us with the purpose that Jesus will be glorified.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 ESV).
The fact is we bow to the Holy Spirit just by going to God in prayer. We honor Him by bowing to God. The Spirit directs us to pray to God in His convicting nature which helps us to ask for what we and others need to be right with God. He can do this because He knows the heart of God and our hearts. I would add that if the Holy Spirit is helping us, He is indeed in our prayer though we are not praying to Him, but to the Father. I think this teaches God has an orderly nature. And we can see in these verses roles within the hierarchy of the Godhead.
In addition, Jesus Christ tells us in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. Therefore, prayer is directed to the Father through the Son with the Holy Spirit’s help. People do not go to God all on their own. There is simply no true relationally acceptable prayer without Father, Son and Holy Spirit present and active in the conversation.
For example, “Father, in Jesus name I come by the help of the Holy Spirit bowing in request of life and what I need to live in obedience to you, Amen.”