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» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Ecclesiantics   » How do you address God in prayer?

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Source: (consider it) Thread: How do you address God in prayer?
kingsfold

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How do you address God in prayer?
As Lord? Father? Almighty? Lord Jesus? Jesus? Something else?

And do you think the way we address God says something about the way we relate to God, and/or the nature of our relationship with God?


It's something that's kind of niggling me at the moment, which probably means there's something going on that I need to spend some time with. But since I can't quite get a handle on it, it seemed like a good idea to ask the question and see if the replies helped to nudge anything along.

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I came to Jesus and I found in him my star, my sun.
And in that light of life I'll walk 'til travelling days are done


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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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I call him God. There are several examples I could mention where he has answered my prayers, so he must like his name.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Lamb Chopped
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I don't know that the choice means a whole lot. I usually start out "Dear Lord" and yes, I'm using thinking of Jesus. But that won't stop me from addressing a different member of the Trinity a moment later. I dunno, I feel rude sometimes, like I'm ignoring who's in the room [Snigger] .

I think the word "Lord" is simply the one by which I first came to know him. "Dear," yes, well, um...

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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leo
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I don't think I do - I just think/chatter as part of an ongoing conversation.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Oblatus
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Quite often I address God as "Heavenly Father," which makes me sound Mormon, but I'm not a Mormon. God knows that.
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Brenda Clough
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Oh God, or perhaps dear God. If I am being especially tried He gets, "You know, God, you must be aware that etc. etc."

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by kingsfold:
How do you address God in prayer?
As Lord? Father? Almighty? Lord Jesus? Jesus? Something else?

All of the above. I often find myself using several different forms of address in the same prayer. I can't say I've thought too hard about whether I tend to make particular choices in particular circumstances. I think in some cases, there are phrases that naturally attach to one particular form of address, but I don't think it has much more significance than completing the formula.
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BroJames
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In my own private prayer it is usually 'Lord', and rarely anything else.
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Doone
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An interesting question that I haven't really thought about before. I almost always use Father or Father God, I suppose because, subconsciously, that reflects a desired relationship.
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Nick Tamen

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A professional hazard, I guess, but I have, on a few occasions, caught myself addressing God as "your honor." [Hot and Hormonal]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Lamb Chopped
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[Snigger]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Graven Image
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Depends on the subject of the prayer, and my image of the moment. Holy Father, Great Healer, Mother God,
God, Holy One , Our Savior and the list goes on. I do not think of one that I use always.

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Zappa
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Having lived too long In Oz I'm sometimes tempted by "Mate", but default to Lord, I'm afraid.

Less often than I should at the moment. [Tear]

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kingsfold

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I tend to find myself using Lord or Father, but Lord is beginning to feel rather over-formal and not necessarily where I'm at currently. A bit like always referring to someone who knows you intimately and in love as Sir.

Which isn't to say God isn't Lord, or that it isn't an appropriate form of address sometimes, but...

And I'm finding Father slightly dissonant too, though maybe not for quite the same reasons.

At the end of the day it probably doesn't matter too much - I think God's pretty used to clumsy words & phrases from me. Maybe I'm just over-thinking or over-wondering....

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irreverend tod
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I tend to use God more than anything. My prayer is more an ongoing conversation unless I have specific things to pray about, so it feels more natural than Lord or Father.

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Diocesan Arsonist and Lead thief to the Church of England.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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"Helllooooooooooooo?"

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
"Helllooooooooooooo?"

Although that's probably on reflection a bit unfair. Perhaps a better answer is "rather infrequently."

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Anglican_Brat
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"Almighty God" is the term I usually fall back on, probably because it's the most common address in the collects of the Book of Common Prayer, I also sometimes use "loving God".

"Heavenly Father" I use sometimes if I am ministering to more traditional Anglicans.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Either "God" if I'm using the first name of the Holy One, or, Mr Damn if the last name is appropriate in the circumstances. And variations thereof.

I don't believe in sparing the truth, God knows it all anyway. There are no half measures nor is there denial.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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stonespring
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Back in the day, did the RCC or Orthodox Churches, in teaching people about prayer, encourage addressing God in certain ways and discourage others?

Although liturgical prayers and hymns addressing the Son and the Holy Spirit have been used in the Church for ages (at least in the West - I can't speak for the East because I don't know enough), and prayers to Jesus through specific devotions such as the Sacred Heart and Eucharistic Adoration were very common in the West at least in the last millennium, was private extemporaneous prayer directed towards the second or third Persons of the Trinity ever discouraged? Or is this question besides the point because, in the RCC at least, extemporaneous prayer was not encouraged until at least Vatican II (I'm not sure if it was discouraged), in favor of set devotional prayers and liturgical prayers?

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Kayarecee
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Usually "[Attribute] God," especially in public prayer. My go-to list of attributes (in alphabetical order is Almighty; Eternal; Good-and-Gracious; Holy; Lord; Loving; Merciful.

I seldom address an individual person of the Trinity, unless it's a collect, in which case it's often "Heavenly Father... Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever."

And occasionally, I'll address God as "Boss," but only when there's not anyone else around to hear.

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roybart
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Add me to the "God" group. I had never wondered why this comes most naturally to me ... until reading this thread. Thanks, kingsfold, for raising these questions.

My prayers are verbally quite simple and tend to flow into extended periods of silent listening. I guess I don't like qualifiers ("Almighty," "Loving" etc.), which seem to impose limitations on something much vaster any adjective. It's the same with nouns like "Lord" or "Father." Prayer to me mostly involves keeping it simple and getting my own preconceptions out of the way.

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"The consolations of the imaginary are not imaginary consolations."
-- Roger Scruton

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stonespring
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When Jesus answered a question on how to pray by teaching the Our Father/Lord's Prayer, did He mean that, in private non-liturgical prayer, people should address to God as Father and NOT to Jesus or the Holy Spirit? Did He mean that "Father" should be used rather than Mother or Creator, but also rather than Ancient of Days, YHWH (or any other pronunciation of it), or any other epithet of God from Scripture or the Liturgy?
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Lamb Chopped
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I really doubt it. He was teaching an attitude, and content too, not laying down the law on specific wording or ruling out (by silence) addresses to the other members of the Trinity.

If he had been, that would mean St. Stephen got his dying prayer wrong.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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sabine
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I don't address God by name or title when I pray. I just have the conversation or do the listening. I'm sure God can figure out who I'm trying to contact.

sabine

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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Galloping Granny
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When we had a team of people taking turns to offer prayer to individuals after church, one point made in training was to ask how the supplicant normally addressed God. So after discussing the situation we wouldn't then launch into "Father God..." if they always prayed "Dear Jesus..."

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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Ian Climacus

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I like that GG


quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
Back in the day, did the RCC or Orthodox Churches, in teaching people about prayer, encourage addressing God in certain ways and discourage others?

Not sure about discouraging; I think people, like today, would often use or start with a prayer they were familiar from in the liturgy. I confess I have not been for a while but I was always encouraged to use the prayers of the church at home, adding my own needs where applicable.

One famous one, at the beginning of prayer, addresses the Holy Spirit:

quote:
O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who is everywhere present and fills all things, the Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come, and abide in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

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Stercus Tauri
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I get so annoyed with people saying, without meaning it, "Oh my God!" that I often use exactly that phrase to begin a prayer, but a little differently, as in, "O, my God". For occasions when I am in a foul temper over something, "Anybody there?" has been used before settling down to something a little more gentle that includes rewarding periods of listening. I don't use that approach for public prayer.

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Thay haif said. Quhat say thay, Lat thame say (George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal)

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Pangolin Guerre
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I usually launch with "Dear God." God, being infinite, transcends gender. And, no, I'm not being fashionable. I came to that conclusion twenty years ago, and govern myself accordingly. That said, yes, in the Creed, I do chant "God the Father", etc. "God the Thing" doesn't scan as well. [Biased]

[ 28. August 2017, 01:31: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]

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Gramps49
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Abba is good

Father too

Lord, yes.

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