SHOULD WE WORSHIP AND PRAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT? by Andrew Menkis for Core Christianity
Christians can sometimes struggle with relating to the Holy Spirit. This is understandable. The names Father and Son are familiar and ordinary however Holy Spirit conjures up something mystical, something outside of and beyond our ordinary experience. A spirit is intangible and ethereal. This can make our interactions with the Holy Spirit confusing or unclear: should we worship the Spirit? Should we address him directly in prayer? We can deepen and strengthen our relationship with the Spirit by thinking through each of these questions.
Should we worship the Holy Spirit?
The answer to this question is simple: yes we should worship the Spirit. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is God. I could stop here, but the truth is that this question requires deeper examination. While on the surface it can be quickly answered, the question gets at a more complex issue: how do we worship a God who is triune? There is a tension here. God is one essence and our worship should be directed towards him alone. Yet, at the same time God is three persons and each person, since they are divine, ought to be worshiped. On the one hand we do not want to worship God as an essence or abstract being, we want to worship him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the other hand, we don’t want to so separate the persons in our worship that they effectively become three distinct gods.
The key to navigating these extremes is twofold. First, we must know God as he has revealed himself (Deuteronomy 29:29). If we don’t study and meditate on the things God teaches us about himself in the Bible, we won’t know how to approach him in worship. Second, as we worship we must be thoughtful and aware of how we are thinking about God. The Triune nature of God should be ever present at the forefront of our minds when we worship. This state of mind was described well by the fourth century Byzantine theologian Gregory of Nazianzus when he said: “I cannot think on the one without quickly being encircled by the splendor of the three; or can I discern the three without being straightway carried back to the one.”Christian worship does not think of and address God as either one or three. Christian worship always praises God as both one essence and three persons.