Focus On the Father When You Pray

Jesus Taught Us The Father Is The First Issue in Our Prayers

I’ve noticed something about the way people pray. I wonder if you agree. My conclusion is based upon listening to people pray over the years. It isn’t a scientific survey but I think I’m right.

Jesus taught us a lot about prayer so let me narrow this down a bit. I’m only thinking about one aspect of what Jesus taught, who we address when we pray. Every Christian knows the Lord’s prayer. Even if things get muddied up with the “sins” or “trespasses” part you know how it begins, “Our Father” Matthew 6:9-13.

The Father as the focus of our prayers

You may be thinking, “If I say the Lord’s prayer and start with ‘Our Father’ how can I be wrong?” I’m not talking about praying the Lord’s prayer. I don’t think Jesus’ purpose in teaching it was just to pray those words. The Lord’s prayer is packed with meaning. In fact, the Lord’s prayer is a model prayer that identifies five different issues we should focus on when we pray.

The 5 Issues Of the Lord’s Prayer

  1. The issue of the Father Matthew 6:9
  2. The issue of the Father’s will Matthew 6:10
  3. The issue of our needs Matthew 6:11
  4. The issue of unmet obligations Matthew 6:12
  5. The issue of temptation Matthew 6:13

The Issue of the Father Is Jesus’ First Priority For Us When We Pray

The Trinity is a difficult concept. The Scriptures tell us there are three persons, Father, Son and Spirit who are one God. The Bible is emphatic about this and makes very consistent distinctions about who does what in the Godhead. This teaching is called Trinitarianism and can’t be learned by taking a course. It is learned by practice in relating to the persons in the Trinity in the proper way. Yet many people pray to Jesus instead of the Father.

Jesus was teaching Trinitarianism when He taught us to pray to the Father in the Lord’s prayer. That wasn’t the only time He talked about who to pray to. Consider what Jesus said to His disciples the night before he died John 16:23.

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

There’s more John 15:16.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

And there’s a lot more to add to these verses. Biblically there is no debate that Jesus wants us to talk to the Father when we pray. You may be wondering why this is a big deal. It’s actually pretty cool.

Do you have a healthy relationship with God the Father? Tomorrow we’ll tackle the issue of the Father in our prayers.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or question below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Henryk Hukisz

    It happened couple of times, when I was filling application on line, I put wrong word in a
    certain field. My application was rejected due to wrong information.

    I do not think that our loving Father will do the same. In all New Testament writings we
    can read that believers were praying to God. I do understand, that they were recognizing
    the Trinity in the proper way.

    There is one particular prayer in the Book of Acts. When Stephan was stoned, He was
    praying: “Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit!” (Acts 7:59).

    Thank you Ward for your inspiring posts “equipping to stand firm”. May the Lord bless you
    and your ministry.

    Henryk

    • Henryk, I love your picture! 🙂

      This is an interesting topic. Years ago, before I had a computer to do this for me, I made a list of every prayer in the New Testament. The Old Testament is just as valid a study, but we know the theological development of the Trinity is not as complete in the Old Testament. I then observed how many prayers were directed at Jesus. As you point out, Stephen is one, and there are a few others with Jesus that are actual conversations, like when Paul asked Jesus to take away the thorn in the flesh. Some people point out that whenever anyone asked Jesus anything directly when He was on this earth it was a prayer. And that is true, too, but not what we normally mean when we say we pray.

      What I find fascinating is that if you look at all the prayers in the NT one for sure and maybe one or two others are addressed to Jesus. The weight of the examples of the Bible is overwhelming. When you add that to Jesus teaching it is clear the norm is to address our prayers to the Father.

      There are many reasons why this is so and in particular I think this relates to the distinct roles of the Trinity in our prayers. When we pray to Jesus I think it is not unlike your daughter calling you and asking you about how to prepare a certain dish your wife cooks. You can either say “Hold on” and hand the phone over to Dana or you can ask your wife, repeat her words and so forth. The question isn’t for you. Jesus tells us to talk with the Father when we pray, specifically when we ask for things.

      I completely agree with you that it is okay to pray to Jesus and to the Spirit of God. I certainly do that myself. Usually it is to give thanks or worship. I focus my requests on the Father, because that is what Jesus teaches. If it wasn’t a big deal to Him, I don’t think He would have taught on it as much as He did.

      Thanks for the note. It is always good to hear from you my friend! Please give my love to your dear wife!