How do you address God when you pray?

I’m am intrigued by listening to people pray. The other day I watched a man stand up in the middle of a warehouse, not in a church and pray. Afterwards I began to think about this exercise of prayer.
When we prayer we take it for granted God will hear us. We normally barge into God’s “presence”. Hindus and Buddhist bring their gods little presents and maybe big presents for all I know. Muslims pray kneeling and prostrating themselves on a carpet five times a day. We don’t bow, some of us raise our hands and we don’t give God gifts. We don’t say hello how are you doing to God. We just start talking to him. I guess it is kind of silly to ask God what kind of day he had? But I think he would like us to be interested in things that interest him.

Just think about this, we are addressing a figure whom most prayers believe created the universe with just the sound of his voice. I wonder what our voices sound like to him. Are they squeaky selfish little voices even if we are bombastic in our tone? Are they whiney poor me little voices? Are they angry voices?
I wonder if God is glad to hear our voice. We flatter ourselves and think God wants to hear from us. But if the only time he hears our voice is when we are in trouble or want something I don’t know how glad God is to hear that.
I wonder if we can talk to God naturally. Some people have to use Old King James English, others have gotten so silly they wander up to God and call him “daddy” and “papa”. I know they grab onto “abba” from the Bible, but when you talk to the creator of the universe he should get some respect. Some people call God “she”, I guess I’m just chauvinistic I just can’t talk to God as “she”.

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11 thoughts on “How do you address God when you pray?

  1. There is much to think about in this blog regarding spiritual etiquette and communication towards the Creator. One particular sentence got my attention… “We normally barge into God’s “presence”. I looked up barge and it said: to thrust oneself heedlessly or unceremoniously. That certainly doesn’t sound like a proper way to behave toward The King of the universe. In the book of Esther (4:11) there is an account where queen Esther herself risked death if she entered the King’s (her own husband’s) presence without His golden scepter being extended to her.
    So addressing (to greet by a prescribed form; to communicate directly) God the Father must have at least equal importance. This blog exhorts me to re-evaluate my own etiquette and posture as I come into His presence. Portions of Psalm 100:1 give some guidelines I believe. “Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

  2. In Matthew 6: 5 – 14 Jesus gives us “The Lord’s Prayer” as an example of how we should pray. Jesus comes before the Father first by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. (Hallowed: honor as holy, greatly revered or respected). We have discussed in a prior blog “Our Father”, those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives and who are obedient and carry out what the Father has us to do on this earth. If Jesus shows high respect for God the Father and He has given this as a model prayer then we ought to start our prayers off the same way. Again who gives us the authority to come to the Father – Jesus our Lord and Savior. God gave His only Son Jesus to die for our sins. We could not even approach God if it were not for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, because God is HOLY and can NOT look upon sin. By Jesus’s blood who took on our sins is the only way we can come. As when Queen Esther came to the King and the scepter had to be extended. Jesus is that scepter. We, like Esther, would be domed to death without the scepter -Jesus. Thank you oh Holy Father for sending Jesus that our sins may be forgiven. Therefore as David said in Psalms 103: Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name, Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s…. Praise the Lord, O my soul, Praise the Lord.

  3. “I wonder what our voices sound like to him. Are they squeaky selfish little voices even if we are bombastic in tone? Are they whiney poor me little voices? Are they angry voices?” We know that God’s Word has taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:7-13, but this blog sure got me to searching God’s Word. I want to understand how to address God, when I pray, so my voice does not sound “squeaky, selfish, whiney, or angry”. Read with me some scriptures I investigated, and the conclusions I discovered:
    1Thes. 5:17 “Never stop praying.”
    Mark 11:24-25 “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours, but when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
    1Peter 3:12 “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
    Prov. 15:8 “The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright.”
    Phil. 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
    Luke 11:1-4 “Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said,’Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ Jesus said, ‘This is how you should pray. ‘Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.'” Footnotes: “When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he made forgiveness the cornerstone of their relationship with God. God has forgiven our sins, we must now forgive those who have wronged us. To remain unforgiving shows we have not understood that we ourselves deeply need to be forgiven. Think of some people who have wronged you. Have you forgiven them? How will God deal with you if he treats you as you treat others?”
    2Chr. 7:14 “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” Footnotes: “In chapter 6, Solomon asked God to make provisions for the people when they sinned. God answered with four conditions for forgiveness: (1) Humble yourself by admitting your sins, (2) pray to God, asking for forgiveness,(3) seek God continually, and (4) turn from sinful behavior. True repentance is more than talk-it is changed behavior. Whether we sin individually, as a group, or as a nation, following these steps will lead to forgiveness. God will answer our earnest prayers.”

    “I wonder if God is glad to hear our voice. We flatter ourselves and think God wants to hear from us. But if the only time he hears our voice is when we are in trouble or want something I don’t know how glad God is to hear that.” In reviewing the above scriptures, I believe there are some conditions we should follow when praying, as well as addressing God: 1) have faith 2) do right 3) be upright and thankful 4) depend on God 5) be forgiving 6) be humble, ask for forgiveness, seek God, and turn from sinful behavior.

  4. I think the key to approaching the Heavenly Father lies in the attitude of the heart of the pray-er. Proverbs 28:1 says, “the RIGHTEOUS are bold as a lion.” Now I know that also means they are bold in their witness & testimony but the significant word here is RIGHTEOUS. In Hebrews 4:16 is says, “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and BOLDLY draw near to the THRONE of grace, the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners, that we may receive mercy for our failures and find grace to help in good time for EVERY need, appropriate help and tell-timed help, coming just when we need it.” Those of us who have been washed by the Blood of the Lamb can come boldly when in times of need or troubles or persecution.
    In some select prayers in the BOOK OF PSALMS David cries out to His Heavenly Father for help and assistance. He even tells the LORD GOD how to get rid of his enemies. And this is BEFORE the CURTAIN of Partition OF THE TEMPLE WAS RENT at Jesus’ Death; that significant, spiritual event that tore down the barrier between GOD and man that had been erected through Adam’s sin.
    So now we have perfect access to the FATHER through the shed blood of Jesus Christ His Son, Glory be to God.
    BUT…Gary is right. I find myself, usually when I am praying by myself, whining and changing my countenance with a grimace and a pitiful look that must make the Lord plug His GODLY ears and hum out loud so HE won’t have to hear ol’ whiny me. I have thought about that recently. Teary-voiced prayers, whimpering as though I have to placate the GOD OF MERCY to BEG for favor or a special request; acting as though He were going to hit me with a big fly swatter at some whim of HIS. We all know better. We have been thoroughly taught by our pastors in how to approach the throne of the most High God.
    We are so blessed to be on this SIDE OF THE CROSS. So I thank Gary and the other bloggers who reinforce the message to approach our GOD AND LORD with Praise and Thanksgiving and IN FAITH! FAITH! FAITH!

  5. NOW! About the “SHE” in GOD…I believe that THE LORD GOD, CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE possesses all the qualities
    of His creation, especially of those who are created in HIS Image. So I have heard teachings that speak of the characteristics in GOD ALMIGHTY of both male & female.
    This might be pure conjecture and if it appears somewhere as a revelation in Scripture I do not know the reference. But it is an interesting concept.

  6. How I wonder how we sound to God too? How much whining have I done? How much vain repetitions have I done? Lord please forgive. Here are some scriptures on prayer to contemplate. In my search of the scripture I have found the following scriptures and you may have more to add to these:

    Scriptures of when God hears or doesn’t listen to prayers:

    Psalm 4:3
”But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.”
    Proverbs 15:29
”The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.”

    Proverbs 28:9
”He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”
    John 9:31
”Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.”

    Psalm 66:18
”If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”

    Scripture on forgiveness and prayer:
    Mark 11:25-26
”And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

    What is God wanting to listen to or doesn’t want to hear when prayers are offered up?
    Matthew 6:7 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
    Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
    Luke 6:28
”Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

    1John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

    James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

    How should we act when praying?

    Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

    Who is there to help us pray adequately?
    Romans 8:26
” 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.”

    Giving thanks after praying.
    Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

    Lord may our voices be a sweet sound unto you and not noisy chatter. May we read your scripture and may scripture instruct us as we walk and talk with you in prayer. Jesus may we reach out in loving words in prayer to help others know you and walk with you. Jesus may we pray rightly for all those you have put into our knowing. May we love them as you love them. May our voices not be squeaky, selfish little voices. May you not find our voices whiney or angry. Lord Jesus Christ we give you all the praise and ask all in your name. Amen!

  7. Psalm 42:1 “As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.”

    The words of the Psalmist seems to always come to my mind when I pray. I believe the Psalmist wrote this as a song of worship to God. I think the Psalmist could sing and write but my singing may be squeaky but I can speak with a voice of grace and thanksgiving and love unto God the Father. And, when my whole being longs for God someway, somehow I find a way to speak and communicate with a Mighty Fortress and as Martin Luther knew so well and wrote “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

    I have truly enjoyed all the comments as well as Gary’s challenge to test my relationship with God.

  8. God so longs to hear our voices in praise, prayer and thanksgiving that He has given us so very many ways and means in the Scriptures to assure that we get it right. So, what could possibly be our problem? One barrier is revealed in the Proverb that Rena quoted, Prov.28:9.. (paraphrased)…”you who turn away from hearing the Word of God in His commandments of how to conduct your life….your prayer is an ABOMINATION to the Lord.” Oh My!!!
    So those who profess that they are in the light but walk in darkness within because of not hearing or heeding the Word of God , neither will your prayers be heard nor will they be heeded by the Lord.
    Gary spoke a powerful message the other day when he said,
    comparing physical characteristic & the spiritual with an ear of corn….(loosely translated) “The husk may be fine looking but when its pulled back there’s no fruit (kernels) on the cob”

  9. I have had my early morning devotions by reading and meditating on prayer as we have studied and make a book of prayer here.

    WHOA, it seems Gary, that it does not matter if I call God /he/she/daddy/papa or god if I am not in proper relationship with the God I am speaking with. If I have not read, studied, and practiced the characteristics of Jesus and His teaching of God The Father, I am void of knowledge and need to recharge my dead battery.

    The Lord God refers to Himself as The Bridegroom and the Church as the Bride. Thinking in these terms one would not have trouble saying God, ‘He’ is so wonderful.

    I have never had trouble with he/she in my thoughts of God the Father because when He refers to man in His word, He is saying human being, ie male/female. Passage Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Without a doubt God has an answer for everything under the sun, don’t you think?

  10. Yes, God answers prayer. His timing is not our timing sometime. After 20 and half years, I’m now in Virginia. If I had given up by not waiting who knows what might have happened. As I have said before a wise woman in the Lord told me that most people give up way to soon. Like when riding a bike, they give up at the turn in the road and never see that their answer is right around the corner.

    David says in Psalms 143: Listen to this prayer of mine, God; pay attention to what I’m asking. Answer me – you’re famous for your answers? (Aren’t we glad for this.)
    Here are other passages that speak of God answering prayer for everything under the sun.
    Psalms 145 Message says: God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what’s best for those who fear him – hears them call out, and saves them.
    Matthew 7: 7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
    Matthew 18: 19 “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
    Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
    John 14:13-14″And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
    I John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

    In knowing God does answer all that we would ask him in prayer, we also must sometime wait.
    Look at Sarah and Abraham
    Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
    Genesis 21:2 “2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”
    In Psalms it says:
    Psalms 27:14 “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
    Psalms 37:7 “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;… 9 But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.”
    Psalms 130:5 “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.”
    In Romans it says:
    Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
    In Peter it says:
    1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

    God does answer all that we would ask of those who pray and mean it and sometimes we have to wait. Sitting still and listening for God to answer may be big problem in our busy go-go lives too. What do you think?

  11. I think and agree with you Sara on calling God as Jesus Himself calls God.. in John 20:17 Jesus is speaking to Mary Magdalene after He rose from the dead “….I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.”..but as you pointed out one needs to be in that relationship as Jesus is in order to call God Father…and as to barging into Gods presence when we pray…Im agreeing with Needles…also Jesus said He would send another comforter who would lead us into all truth and teach us….The Holy Spirit…if we are not sure of how when where we are to pray…James 1:5 says”if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not and it shall be given him…but let him ask in faith,…..(It seems it is a heart position to me…you think?…dj).

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