Praying "In the name of......"

On the way to work I sometimes listen to the Sonrise Morning Show on EWTN radio to learn more about the Catholic faith.

I noticed that when people like Matt Swaim pray, he always starts out “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit… Amen”… I’ve also noticed other Catholics tend to do the same.

I want to better understand the reason for that, which I assume has to do with the Holy Trinity. The reason I ask is because it is not what I am accustomed to – not that there is anything wrong with it.

In my Protestant upbringing we also believe in the Trinity and the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers as the one who is called alongside to help, the encourager, to convict us of sin, revealer of truth, etc.

However, I’ve mainly been around people who started out prayer with “Dear Heavenly Father”., “Dear God”, “Dear Lord”., or “Our Beloved Heavenly Father”,etc, and we always ended the prayer “In the name of Jesus, Amen.”

I don’t recall ever hearing the Holy Spirit as someone included to pray to “In the name of”.

Can someone explain the distinction and the significance of including the Holy Spirit in the prayer when addressing God in prayer? This inquiring mind would like to know. :slight_smile:
Just curious. Thanks for your time.

When we start a prayer, we first remind ourselves of God to whom we are praying and of our baptism “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).
It is also an reference and “invocation”, if you will, of what Jesus said in John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do”

So, we are praying to the Tribune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as Baptized Christians especially in the Name of The Son.

We pray to God. The Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit dwells within every Christian who is in a state of grace.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

I could kneel in front of such a person and pray to the Holy Spirit who dwells within them.

That’s is one of the things which makes our God unique in all the world’s religions. You don’t have to climb a mountain or go to a castle in the sky to meet God because the Third Person of the Trinity dwells within you wherever you go. All you have to do is turn inward and God is there.

-Tim-

Thanks for the clarification, Ignatius. I had overlooked the obvious tie to our baptism by doing it that way. That makes more sense now. Thanks.

Hi Tim,
Thanks for sharing. I realize those things you stated are true. I was just used to praying “In the name of Jesus” so including the Holy Spirit in the prayer was different for me and takes a little getting used to. Nothing wrong with it. Just curious, mainly.

The name of Jesus is powerful! You really can’t go wrong…

*But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." (Acts 3:6)

**But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus **Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)

**And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus *Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:18)

Many don’t realize the power of the Holy Name. Saul even opposed the very name of Jesus.

I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (Acts 26:9)

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on January 3.

Jesus Christ
Son of God
Have Mercy

Yet it is nice to know that God is close, that the Holy Spirit is right inside of me and I can find God there always, resting in my soul as if on the 7th day of creation.

-Tim-

I come from a Baptist background and know the difference you mention. I think for us Catholics it comes naturally since we make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves whenever we enter church and at other prayers and events. The Protestant world mostly rejects the making of the sign of the cross since it comes across as too “Catholic”.

Other prayers in the Mass and other events we do invoke the name of Jesus alone.

You’ll get used to it pretty quickly. I hear, “In the Name of the Fa…,” and my hand is already making the Sign of the Cross before my brain can start praying!

But that’s one of the ways it’s helpful (besides the obvious Scriptural/Baptism reference which is the real core reason).

That particular formulaic start to a prayer and your body movement can kickstart a prayerful attitude in my brain and soul, because that’s the habit I’ve been trying to form for most of my life, and my parents worked hard to form in me. If I don’t feel myself taking the right attitude at the beginning, I can also correct myself by comparison to previous experience.

It’s not the only way to get ready to pray, of course, but it can be very helpful when people are praying together.

That’s one thing Catholics do - we often begin and end our prayers with the sign of the Cross. “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” I mean, we are saved by the cross of Christ, and we are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit - just as Jesus commanded.

I’ve noticed many Protestants will end their prayers with “…in Jesus’ name (we pray).” We Catholics also have our own version of that: “through Christ our Lord.” You wanna know what the fullest version is? “…through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.” You’ll most often hear prayers ending this way during a Mass.

By that standard, some of the Reformers would be ‘too Catholic’. I mean, Martin Luther himself recommended the Sign of the Cross.

How the head of the family should teach his household to pray morning and evening.

Morning Prayer.
In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say, “God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.” Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

[INDENT]I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray you to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please you. For into you hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Evening Prayer.
In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say, “God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.” Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, that you had graciously kept me this day, and I pray you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

  • Martin Luther, The Small Catechism[/INDENT]

Thanks, patrick457, Mintaka, and zz912. Your explanations help very much. :tiphat:

I found this video on The Sign of The Cross that I think is very interesting:
youtube.com/watch?v=U9t9KqfvIhc

Isn’t it funny how today’s Protestants wouldn’t recognize the first Protestants, and how the first Protestants would view today’s as wild heretics.

I suspect that many of the protestants of which you speak come out of the Reformed, Anabaptist, and other Reformation era movements not particularly related to Luther.
Lutherans today continue to start prayer by invoking the Holy Trinity.

Jon

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