Who Did Jesus Pray To? – A Saint’s Response

Who did Jesus pray to?

Jesus prays at a few points in The Bible. He is, of course, praying to God.

Yet Jesus is God. So why would he need to pray? And to whom would he be praying? Himself?

Questions such as these were often lobbed at the early Christians by those people who doubted the Trinity and other Christian truths.

And in the modern day, lots of Christians have forgotten that these issues were settled many hundreds of years ago.

So when people ask who Jesus prayed to, lots of weird and insecure responses are given.

So it seems fitting that we return to the teachings of the Church Fathers to learn what they had to say on the matter. These are the people who had the authority to answer the question in question.

Here’s what St. John of Damascus has to say in response to the question:

Who did Jesus pray to?

Jesus prayed to the Father. Jesus is the Son, so He did not pray to Himself. Christ needed to pray before men in order to show them proper fealty to The Lord. Christ frequently behaves as a man who was not God should in order to show us the proper way of being.

So Jesus prayed to the Father. This does not refute Christ’s divinity. The reason for their coexistence is the Trinitarian view of God that Christians hold.

So, knowledge of the Trinity, , specifically the relationship between the Father and the Son, should quickly answer this question.

Yet the question still exists.

This indicates that The Trinity has been misunderstood and should be re-examined by the inquirer.

The Trinity – Father and Son

The Father

The Father is the first person in the Trinity. He is The Almighty who created Heaven and Earth. He is called The Father because He is the ultimate authority above all else. This person of the Trinity is also a life-giver, rule-maker, and a punisher of misdeeds. God The Father does not have a gender.

The Father gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites. They are His people,a dn the relationship between them and The Father is analogous to that of a father and his children.

It is unlikely that God’s proper name is The Father. This is really just a metaphor for describing his nature.

Christians who do not come from the Israelites may think of themselves as the adopted children of God.

Most creeds that have been adopted by Christians over the centuries have dedicated some portion of their wording to the assertion of their belief in the Father.

The Son

We are to believe that the Son is Jesus and God, both on Earth and in Heaven. The Son prays to the Father in the New Testament.

The Bible never clearly asserts that Jesus is the Son and God. So some Protestant sects reject that this would be the case. These are the non-Trinitarians. They are mistaken. Their rejection of the Trinity is born out of the Sola Scriptura heresy, and all Catholics and Orthodox must reject it.

Jesus is often called the Son of God in the Bible. This phrase is not the same as God the Son. Many early Christian heretics understood this and believed that Jesus was not God and that he had been elevated because of His divine parentage.

The most common belief to arise from this perspective was Arianism. This particular heresy was common among the Germanic peoples who entered the Roman Empire. They readily accepted it because they had first been pagans,a dn most pagan religions have figures who are born to gods and possess great powers because of their line.

Christians must reject this notion. The reason why we must reject the idea that the Son is the offspring of The Father is because this would mean that the Son is not eternal. So the Son would be a created being and of lesser stature than the One God. It would mean that Jesus was no longer God, but merely His son.

So Christ would be like Hercules and Hippolyta instead of Christ.

An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith- John of Damascus – Who Did Jesus Pray To?

The answer given at the top of this page is a summary of the writings left by St. John of Damascus on the subject. Here is the source text. I have divided it into sections to reduce the strain of reading it.

What Is Prayer?

Prayer is an uprising of the mind to God or a petitioning of God for what is fitting.

Why Did Christ Pray to God if He Is God?

How then did it happen that our Lord offered up prayer in the case of Lazarus, and at the hour of His passion?

For His holy mind was in no need either of any uprising towards God, since it had been once and for all united in subsistence with the God Word, or of any petitioning of God.

For Christ is one.

To Show Man What Was Expected of Him

But it was because He appropriated to Himself our personality and took our impress on Himself, and became an example for us, and taught us to ask of God and strain towards Him, and guided us through His own holy mind in the way that leads up to God.

Christ Guides Men in Prayer by Showing It Properly

For just as He endured the passion, achieving for our sakes a triumph over it, so also He offered up prayer, guiding us, as I said, in the way that leads up to God, and fulfilling all righteousness on our behalf, as He said to John, and reconciling His Father to us, and honoring Him as the beginning and cause, and proving that He is no enemy of God.

Who Did Jesus Pray To? – Christ Speaks Before Lazarus

For when He said in connection with Lazarus, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You hear Me always, but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me is it not most manifest to all that He said this in honor of His Father as the cause even of Himself, and to show that He was no enemy of God ?

The Two Natures of Christ

Again, when he said, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: yet, not as I will but as You will, is it not clear to all that He said this as a lesson to us to ask help in our trials only from God, and to prefer God’s will to our own, and as a proof that He did actually appropriate to Himself the attributes of our nature, and that He did in truth possess two wills, natural, indeed, and corresponding with His natures but yet in no wise opposed to one another?

Father implies that He is of the same essence, but if it be possible does not mean that He was in ignorance (for what is impossible to God?), but serves to teach us to prefer God’s will to our own.

For that alone is impossible which is against God’s will and permission.

But not as I will but as You will, for inasmuch as He is God, He is identical with the Father, while inasmuch as He is man, He manifests the natural will of mankind.

For it is this that naturally seeks escape from death.

Who Did Jesus Pray To? – Christ’s Words on the Cross

Further, these words, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

He said as making our personality His own.

For neither would God be regarded with us as His Father, unless one were to discriminate with subtle imaginings of the mind between that which is seen and that which is thought, nor was He ever forsaken by His divinity: nay, it was we who were forsaken and disregarded.

So that it was as appropriating our personality that He offered these prayers.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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