Sometimes, the simplest, shortest prayers are the most powerful. Or, they are the only words we can muster in certain situations. Prayers like:
- “Help, Lord.”
- “Father, forgive me.”
- “God, please guide me.”
For centuries, Christians have also prayed this simple, powerful prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit!” A number of Biblical scholars point out today that early Christians often prayed and sang to the Holy Spirit. We cite Joseph Bingham, in his celebrated work, The Antiquities of the Christian Church, who has provided a pile of evidence establishing that the Christians of the early post-apostolic age did not hesitate to offer worship and prayers to the Holy Spirit
While it is true that there is no specific example or command to pray to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, there is no verse that says we cannot either. There are many biblical propositions that cannot be established on the basis of a solitary “command-text” as in “Pray to the Holy Spirit.” Neither does the Bible expressly prohibit such a prayer!
There are many examples of believers praying directly to Jesus. The apostle John in 1 John 5:14-15: “And we are confident that he [Jesus] hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” Stephen the martyr prayed directly to Jesus (Acts 7:57). Paul prayed to Jesus for relief from his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor.12:7-9). John ends the book of Revelation with a prayer to Jesus (Rev.22:20). As Scripture allows us to pray to two members of the Trinity, we many assume that it is therefore equally appropriate to pray directly to the Holy Spirit.
Some Bible expositors also point to both church history as well as several places in the New Testament where the writers included the Holy Spirit in their benedictions (invocations of blessing and the expression in prayer for happiness and well-being). For example, in 2 Corinthians 13:14 the Apostle Paul writes: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” This is most certainly a prayer; and if it is a prayer addressed to God, it is no less so to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. In Revelation 4:8, the angels sing “Holy, holy, holy“—this could also serve as an illustration of prayer directed to the 3rd member of the Trinity. Most interpreters of Scripture see the three “holy’s” as a reference to the Trinitarian nature of God—so the Holy Spirit is receiving worship. It is safe to conclude that the prayers of believers are, ultimately, received by the Trinitarian God.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly—as we’ve seen from a theological and Trinitarian point of view—we must understand that the Holy Spirit is fully, completely God, and therefore worthy of our worship and prayer.