Vol.XX No.I Pg.7
March 1983

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Why do we pray to God the Father, in view of the fact that all authority has been given unto the Son who now reigns? I do not question prayer to the Father — just ask WHY...? JDM


I do not know the WHY of many Bible teachings — and discuss such matters with fear. It seems prayer is offered to GOD (deity) as a whole, and not to Father or Son exclusively.

Many have an ill conceived, mechanical concept of deity: losing sight of the ONENESS of "Theos" (God), and considering Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in such a way as to make three Gods. When man tries to bring ETERNAL SPIRIT into his time and space-bound realm, he boldly marches in where angels fear to tread. We can know deity only through faith in revelation: the incarnate One, and His Spirit-filled word. Here, by the very nature of the case, we must cope with figurative language which translates spiritual matters into matters of human experience. "Father and Son" have a figurative, not a literal use, re. deity.

God is first called "Father" of Israel — considered collectively as His son (Ex. 4:22; Hos. 11:1-3). "First-born" signified the preeminence of Israel over other "offspring of God" (Acts 17:29). The preeminence of the Christ is so described (2 Sam. 7:14, Psm. 2:7, Acts 13:33, Heb. 2:5), and is demonstrated by His resurrection. The "only begotten, indicates uniqueness, not inferiority of son to father. In fact, Christ is called "Everlasting Father" (Isa. 9:6; 22:21- 22).

"The Word" is co-eternal with the whole of deity, being deity (Mic. 5:2, Jn. 1:1-f; Phil. 2.5-6. In Revelation the message from "God" was also from Christ. "Alpha and Omega" is applied to Christ (1:11-18); and what He said the Spirit said (2:1, 7-8, 1'7-18). The Lamb is "in the midst" of God's throne (7:15-17), with the fullness of the Spirit (5:6). It is difficult to see how one might invoke the "God" of heaven without involving the whole.

The "Father" role is dominant, and we pray to the Father remembering the example: "Our Father who art in heaven..." (Matt. 6:9). Christ told his disciples, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you" (Jn. 16:23). These are good reasons to pray to "Our Father." But it is also true that Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59). Paul "besought the Lord thrice" and identified that "Lord" as Christ (2 Cor. 12:8-10). John wrote to those who "believe on the name of the Son of God" saying, if we ask according to his will "he heareth us," and we have the petitions which we "asked of him" (1 Jn. 5:13-15). It seems clear that prayer is offered to both Father and Son — perhaps indicating deity as a whole (GOD); and that we should not allow prayer to fragment GOD, putting one role to the exclusion of others. The O.T. alone gives 35 descriptive names or roles of God. We cannot invoke God the Judge, without praying also to God the Savior, Father, etc.

Brethren, I am ashamed that we allow such matters to become divisive "issues." They should humble us, and make us see our ignorance and sin.