The way we pray to God and address Him in our prayers is one of the most overlooked things in Christian life. It is vital to understand that how we pray is not something we do just however we want, but something that even the Bible prescribes in a specific way. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. What Jesus teaches us is how we ought to pray, not the words of the prayer itself. Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:7-8 that we should not pray like the Gentiles, who always heap on empty phrases, thinking that it will make them heard even more. When we pray, we are not to repetitively use the names we use to address God. For example, we tend to overuse the term “Father,” “Lord,” and “God” whenever we pray. Sometimes we even combine all of them. When we use those words just for the sake of saying and repeating them, thinking that it makes our prayer better, we are praying like the Gentiles who are filled with empty phrases. Not only that, but we also end up using the Lord’s name in vain. That does not mean that you should not address God using the terms “Father,” “Lord,” and “God,” but make sure that you are using them out of the desire to communicate to God, not just using them as mere words. That doesn’t mean you should not persistently pray on something. We should be persistent in our prayers, just as Jesus taught us in Luke 11:5–10. However, praying persistently for something does not mean it must be repetitive; at that point, it becomes mere words or some kind of chant.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
How do you address God in prayer?
As mentioned before, Jesus taught us through the “the Lord’s Prayer” how to pray to God. Looking at the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus taught us how we should address God as we begin our prayer. In verse 9, Jesus started the prayer by saying, “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.” This teaches us that whenever we begin our prayer, we are to address God by worshiping God for who He is. Our prayers are never about us or our concerns, but all about God. However, you should not always begin with the “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” phrase at the beginning of every prayer. It means that you should adore and worship God every time you begin a prayer. Remember that we should not address God with mere words or repetition.
This is why you must read your Bible. When you read your Bible, you will know more about God. For example, you will see the splendor and majesty and wonder He brings through Psalms. In Isaiah, you will see that God is a holy God. The angels repeated the word “holy” three times in Isaiah 6:3, which shows how ultimate His holiness can be. Also, in the book of Genesis, you will see how God is sovereign over everything, specifically when God used for good what Joseph’s brothers intended for evil. Knowing God makes us worship Him. That is why every time we come to Him to pray, we should adore and worship the Lord.
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
Given the things we have discussed above, below are two examples of how you can address God at the beginning of your prayer:
Father in heaven, you are a holy God, the one true God who is one above everything. You created the universe, and the beauty of creation speaks of Your glory. Knowing how holy and majestic You are, I pray to always address You with reverence and never use your name to address you repetitively or say it as meaningless words. Give me the grace to always address You with respect and reverence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Almighty God, you are a God who works wonders. You do wonderful deeds. You are also a God of compassion who looks after His children. You are the God who provided Israel with food and water in the wilderness. Almighty God, I pray that You will provide for my needs as I encounter financial difficulties. Thank You for always being faithful in your provision. Even in times of lack, I am content and have joy because I have Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Father, You are the God of comfort and mercy who comforts me in times of affliction. You hear all of my pleas and cries. Comfort me as I go through hardships in this season of my life. Give me the grace to persevere and endure and keep on running the race. Thank You because through Christ, I can do all things that strengthen me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
If we meet and talk to a random person, how we speak to that person is probably the way we casually speak to any stranger. However, if we suddenly know that the person we are talking to is a president or a national leader, it changes how we address and talk to them. We speak to them with more respect. It is the same way when it comes to praying to God. Knowing who God is and what He is like shapes our way of talking to God.
That does not mean that we are not children of God. We address God with respect and reverence because we know who He is and what He is like from our intimate relationship with Him. If we are in Christ, we have been adopted into God’s family, which is why we can call God our “Father.” Calling God our “Father” is a privilege only given to those in Christ.
Christ invites us to be God’s children through Him. Sonship with God requires perfect obedience to the Father. However, we can never perfectly obey God because of our sinful nature. That is why, only in Christ, who has lived the sinless life we should have lived, can we have the grace and the privilege to address God as our Father. It is also where we become adopted in God’s family. We obtain our sonship with God not because we could obey Him perfectly, but because Christ did obey him and we are in Christ.
Another thing to remember is that whenever we address God in our prayers, we ought to address Him with respect and reverence. Knowing that God is majestic, an almighty God, and the Creator of the universe who sits on a throne of grace, the proper attitude before Him is respect and reverence, not overfamiliarity. That does not mean that God is not your Father. He is your Father. However, we also revere God. That does not change the truth that He is your Father who always cares for you and loves you.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Lastly, addressing God does not require you to use the word “Father” constantly. If you are reading your Bible, you know God’s other names with which you can also address Him. In one of the three prayers earlier, we addressed God using “Almighty God” because He is indeed almighty. There are many names with which we can address God, all from the Bible. For example, we can address God as the God of peace, Holy One, God Most High, God my Refuge, God our dwelling place, or Sovereign Lord. Those are just some of the many names you can address God with in your prayers. As you read your Bible, you will get to know more about the names of God, which you can also use in your prayers. Understanding and using God’s names in your prayers, aside from the name “Father,” reminds you who God is and what He is like, and fills you with joy by knowing it.
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
2 Samuel 7:18
Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You should pray to God and use His name correctly. You should not just use His name for the sake of using it. If you have worries or anxieties, you can pray to God and address Him as the “God of peace.” It will give you peace and joy knowing that the person whom you are praying to is the “God of peace.” Here is an example of how you can pray using the name “God of peace”:
God of peace, you always watch over me and never let evil befall me. I pray that You will give me peace regarding my worries and anxieties. I thank You because the peace You give me in Christ is a shalom kind of peace, where I am whole and complete, no matter what season I may be going through. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Reading your Bible is essential for addressing God with proper respect and reverence. It also teaches us how we ought to pray to God. When we read our Bibles, we are amazed by His wonders, and we also get to see how holy God is. When we truly know the character of God, we can’t help but respond with worship and adoration.