To whom should I pray? Jesus Christ? Mary and the Saints? The Holy Spirit?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The Bible says we should be praying constantly, but to whom are we to pray? Rather than appealing to church tradition, why not let God through the Holy Bible tell us how to pray?
“Giving thanks unto the Father” (Colossians 1:12). “I thank my God…” (Philippians 1:4). “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). “For through him [Jesus Christ] we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… that he would grant you…” (Ephesians 3:14).
Firstly, whom did the Apostle Paul address? He directly addressed Father God, not Mary or any other deceased saint, in prayer.
Secondly, how did Paul reach Father God? “In whom [Jesus Christ] we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him [Jesus Christ]” (Ephesians 3:12). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
We approach God the Father through the merits of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Jesus Christ has a perfect standing before God, and we have His righteousness because we are in Him (if we are members of the Church the Body of Christ). We cannot approach God on our own merits; thus, we must come through Jesus Christ. This is what it means to pray “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
Interestingly, when we pray, we are actually praying with the help of the Holy Spirit who indwells us: the Holy Spirit brings to mind the verses that we studied and believe, and He causes us to pray in line with what God is doing. “ Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). The indwelling Holy Spirit links us to Father God in heaven, and when we pray, we are using the “mediatorship” of Jesus Christ.
So, we address God the Father in prayer, but we are using the merits of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit helps us pray when we are “at a loss for words.”
For additional insight about prayer in the Dispensation of Grace, please study the four model Pauline prayers—Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-12 (These are discussed in our study “How Should I Pray?” See link below.)