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"The Wading Pool" - Questions from the Newly Reformed discuss How should we address God in prayer? in the Information and Introductions forums; Is there a correct or wrong way to address God in prayer? I know this may sound like a remedial question but I would like ...

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    Blue Tick's Avatar
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    How should we address God in prayer?

    Is there a correct or wrong way to address God in prayer? I know this may sound like a remedial question but I would like some clarity on it. Should be begin with Father or is it our God and our Father, etc? I remember a while ago there was a thread on this issue.
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    The scriptural model is, "Our Father." He is to be addressed as "Father."
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    Thank you Bill.
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    Not sure if this would be considered a hijack of sorts, but beyond "our Father", is He a 'thy' kind of God, or 'your'? What is the case for the former?
    Kevin, husband of a truly angelic woman, and father to twelve.
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    Does it suffice to address just one person of the trinity or do people incorperate all three in prayer?
    Brian E
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psalm 28:7
    The Lord is my Strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song i give thanks to Him.

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    Does it suffice to address just one person of the trinity or do people incorperate all three in prayer?
    I guess that's what I'm kind of confused about. Do we open with Our Father and close in Jesus' name or is a simple amen sufficient? Or can we pray directly to the Holy Spirit and close in Jesus' name? The reason why I ask is because in my former evangelical days, myself included, when we would gather with other Christians to pray we all had a different way of addressing God. E.g., Father God, Dear Jesus, Lord Jesus, Abba, etc. We were all over the place! What I'm trying to determine what is the biblical model to address God rather then have a individual twist in addressing God.
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    Not sure if this would be considered a hijack of sorts, but beyond "our Father", is He a 'thy' kind of God, or 'your'? What is the case for the former?
    Kevin, I think the case for the later is abba, which is more a daddy thing than a thy thing.
    Tim Vaughan
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    Quickened's Avatar
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    I understand what you are saying John. It really seems as though there is a mishmosh when it comes to addressing our heavenly father in todays society. What confuses me is that I know that man has one mediator in Jesus Christ. So as our mediator do we pray to the Father through Jesus? Also would it be unbiblical to pray to the Spirit for help?
    Brian E
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psalm 28:7
    The Lord is my Strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song i give thanks to Him.

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    So as our mediator do we pray to the Father through Jesus? Also would it be unbiblical to pray to the Spirit for help?
    It would be interesting if someone had a table that they could post with the number of times each Person of the Trinity was prayed to in the New Testament, especially after the Gospels. There would be some cases that aren't clear, but by using some agreed upon method, like certain words for Lord mean Christ and certain mean God the Father it would be instructive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    So as our mediator do we pray to the Father through Jesus? Also would it be unbiblical to pray to the Spirit for help?
    It would be interesting if someone had a table that they could post with the number of times each Person of the Trinity was prayed to in the New Testament, especially after the Gospels. There would be some cases that aren't clear, but by using some agreed upon method, like certain words for Lord mean Christ and certain mean God the Father it would be instructive.
    Good point Tim. Off the top of my head I can't recall specifically where the Holy Spirit is prayed to directly. But there are instances in scripture where the Spirit makes intercession for us.

    Romans 8:26-27
    Likewise 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. 27 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.
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    Matthew Henry, A Method of Prayer, has a chapter on how to address God, with both apprehension of his holiness and in recognition of our covenantal relationship to the triune Diety (pp. 1-25):

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    Not sure if this would be considered a hijack of sorts, but beyond "our Father", is He a 'thy' kind of God, or 'your'? What is the case for the former?
    Kevin, I think the case for the later is abba, which is more a daddy thing than a thy thing.
    Tim,

    I think your point is well taken (i.e. we should not be afraid to have a dear level of familiarity with God), but the "abba" linguistics that float around everywhere (abba=daddy) simply are not borne out by the language. It is something made up that has stuck.
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    We shouldn't be hung up on whether we should say "Our Father" or "My Father" or even "Dear Father." The point being that we pray to Father, through the Spirit, and in the name of the Son. It's not formulaic. In other words, if we forget to address the Father, it doesn't mean that God will not hear our prayer. Likewise if we don't end with, "In Jesus name" our prayer doesn't become null and void. It's a matter of reverential awe and a recognition of the divine order within the holy Trinity.
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    I didn't feel like typing a thousand words.

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    ...ah yes, perspective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobVigneault View Post
    I didn't feel like typing a thousand words.

    That's a sharp knife!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredtgreco View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    Not sure if this would be considered a hijack of sorts, but beyond "our Father", is He a 'thy' kind of God, or 'your'? What is the case for the former?
    Kevin, I think the case for the later is abba, which is more a daddy thing than a thy thing.
    Tim,

    I think your point is well taken (i.e. we should not be afraid to have a dear level of familiarity with God), but the "abba" linguistics that float around everywhere (abba=daddy) simply are not borne out by the language. It is something made up that has stuck.
    I like this note I found:

    abba is an Aramaic word, found in Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6. In the Gemara (a Rabbinical commentary on the Mishna, the traditional teaching of the Jews) it is stated that slaves were forbidden to address the head of the family by this title. It approximates to a personal name, in contrast to "Father," with which it is always joined in the NT.
    In other words, there is a sense of familial intimacy in the term that only a family member would be permitted to use. A child would call his father Abba but the intention of the expression is not to communicate some sort of infantile or irreverent form of address - but rather one of intimacy.

    I usually address God by "Our gracious God and Father," or "Heavenly Father,"

    There is certainly no formula to it but, at the same time, whatever address we use ought to be true, reverent, and one that expresses our trust and affection for Him.
    Rich
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    On that note, I had one Chaplain address God in a prayer this way: "Oohrah God!"

    I think that's blasphemous.
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    According to most reformed and puritan divines I have read, though it is not the ordinary manner, it is nevertheless appropriate to pray to any of the three specific persons of the trinity; see for example, Thomas Manton's discussion of this in his third sermon on the Lord's prayer.

    Also, following Owen's example, to pray in the name of Jesus does not necessitate that such words (i.e., In Jesus' name) actually be spoken; for thus did all the OT saints nevertheless pray in the name of Jesus, as their entire reason for prayer, and all the hope was laid up in the promise of the coming seed: such hope, whether explicit or implicit was the only reason they had to come to God in prayer, as such was the foundation and cause of all religion and revelation of God to them.
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    Isaac Watts in A Guide to Prayer recommends opening with one or more names of God as they are recorded in scripture: "O Lord my God, most high and most holy God and Father," "O God of Israel," and of course, "Our Father," since that is the name Jesus gave us as an example.

    I think of thee-s and thou-s in prayer as a bit of an affection ... amusing really because in old English what sounds high-falutin' to us was really the familiar form of "you."

    BTW, I recall Sinclair Ferguson saying the "Abba" carried with it a demanding, "come to my assistance now" tone that any parent would recognize.
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    MW
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    There should be familiarity -- a Creator-creature relation, but it should be within the bounds set by formality -- the Creator/creature distinction. Christianity is a relationship, but it is a relationship within the bounds of religion. We do not address God as "our Father," but as "our Father which art in heaven." As the Shorter Catechism notes, we thereby draw near to God with reverance and confidence.
    Yours sincerely,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    On that note, I had one Chaplain address God in a prayer this way: "Oohrah God!"

    I think that's blasphemous.

    You think?

    One time, when I was still at the chaplain school, I was trying to make a point... and during a rehearsal for a dinner, after saying the space filler "remarks complete" I ended with, "In the name of Him who must not be named, amen."
    Needless to say, some of the powers that be were not impressed.

    I was at Legeune twice in the past 7 days visiting some of our problem children at the brig. Bragg is definitely larger and "busier" feeling - and there are definitely more secret squirrel stuff - but Legeune had a nice layout. It was a pleasant visit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolaScriptura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    On that note, I had one Chaplain address God in a prayer this way: "Oohrah God!"

    I think that's blasphemous.

    You think?

    One time, when I was still at the chaplain school, I was trying to make a point... and during a rehearsal for a dinner, after saying the space filler "remarks complete" I ended with, "In the name of Him who must not be named, amen."
    Needless to say, some of the powers that be were not impressed.

    I was at Legeune twice in the past 7 days visiting some of our problem children at the brig. Bragg is definitely larger and "busier" feeling - and there are definitely more secret squirrel stuff - but Legeune had a nice layout. It was a pleasant visit.

    Ha, I caused a stink too when they wanted me to pray at a formal officer's thing (no chaplains showed up I guess?). I was asked publicly to pray and so then I asked publicly before beginning whether I could mention the name of Jesus and when they said no, I refused and told them it was just a mockery of religion and someone else could speak meaningless words but I was keeping quiet. An ackward silence befell the room...then a woman spoke up.
    Last edited by Pergamum; 11-01-2008 at 07:10 AM.
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