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Have you noticed a Seventh-day Adventist trend in prayer lately? It is now common to hear brethren pray using the words “O God” in the main body of the prayer and then in closing, use the words “In your name we pray. Amen.” During the prayer no reference will be given to the names “Father” or “Son.”

Remember that a Seventh-day Adventist who believes in all 28 fundamentals of the church has affirmed the following belief about who God is:

God Trinity
God is a relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The only being worthy of our worship, God is our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/god/trinity/

In other words, “God is a relationship” of three separate beings (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who is “the only being” (one being) worthy of our worship. This 3-in-1 fundamental belief about God has changed the way we pray.

Closing a prayer with the words “In Your name we pray” doesn’t specify who’s name we are praying in. Is it in the Father’s name we are praying in or is it in the name of Jesus Christ we pray in? Perhaps we are praying in the name of the 3-in-1 God Trinity. For a trinitarian it will not matter who he prays to because a prayer to anyone of the three beings is a prayer, ultimately, to the one being named God the Trinity. Using the words “In Your name we pray” muddies the understanding of our prayers especially since the word “God” has now been changed in the Seventh-day Adventist church to mean three beings who are one being. We lose the distinction between the Father and the Son when we use a possessive pronoun like “your” without clarifying who we are addressing the prayer to.

The video below shows that an Adventist preacher is even encouraging Adventists to pray directly to the Holy Spirit.

Do you see the confusion or lack of clarity in the phrase “In your name we pray. Amen.”

It would be well for us to look to the Bible for guidance in prayer. Jesus points us to pray to our Father in heaven.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13

Jesus Himself admonishes us to take our petitions to God (that is, the Father) in the name of Jesus.

At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: John 16:26

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

For those desiring added clarity, Ellen White, in Steps to Christ, encourages the biblical principle of praying to God (who is the Father) in the name of Jesus Christ (the Son of God). You will see no indication of praying to one being who is three beings. In the following short paragraphs notice that God is defined as the Father. The pronouns in the paragraph clearly show that God is one personal being and not a family of three. The pronouns for God in the following paragraph’s are not plural but singular.

We may keep so near to God that in every unexpected  trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the flower turns to the sun.

Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. “The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.

Jesus said, “Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.” “I have chosen you: . . . that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” John 16:26, 27; 15:16. But to pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and work His works. {Steps to Christ, Ellen White, p. 99-100}

Here is a quote taken from the book, Mount of Blessings:

Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour’s heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, “Our Father.”

Here is the announcement of that wonderful truth, so full of encouragement and comfort, that God loves us as He loves His Son. This is what Jesus said in His last prayer for His disciples,Thou “hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:23.

The world that Satan has claimed and has ruled over with cruel tyranny, the Son of God has, by one vast achievement, encircled in His love and connected again with the throne of Jehovah. Cherubim and seraphim, and the unnumbered hosts of all the unfallen worlds, sang anthems of praise to God and the Lamb when this triumph was assured. They rejoiced that the way of salvation had been opened to the fallen race and that the earth would be redeemed from the curse of sin. How much more should those rejoice who are the objects of such amazing love! (Mount of Blessings, Ellen White, p.103-104)

Please note four important points in the quote above:

  1. Jesus Christ has a Father. This relationship is not explained as a metaphor or symbol or role. The Seventh-day Adventist church currently believes that the names Father and Son are roles only. For more information read chapter twelve of “A Study of the Godhead – as it pertains to Seventh-day Adventism” – Chapter 12 – A role-playing Godhead – current Seventh-day Adventist theology page 206.
  2. There is a family of God which we can be members of but it is not a Trinity. The heavenly trio defined.
  3. Ellen White connects “in approaching God” to mean the “Father.” God = the Father. God = the Father is biblical. This truth is based on 1 Corinthians 8:6, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Currently, the Seventh-day Adventist church officially says “There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons.” Please note that these two beliefs are contrary to one another. The Bible is true: “one God” = “the Father,” and the church’s current fundamental belief is untrue “one God” = “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”
  4. Ellen White does not say God loves us as He loves the second person of the Trinity. Ellen White says “God loves us as He loves His Son.” We do not have to be afraid of the word “Son.” Remember the words of Ellen White “God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son” (Counsels for the Church, Ellen White p.76). The  belief that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God in no way demotes Jesus but exalts Him. Jesus Christ, the Son of God is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of the Father’s person. He sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).
  5. Cherubim and seraphim, and all the unnumbered hosts of all the unfallen worlds are singing to two beings. The first being is to God (the Father). The second being is to the Lamb (Son of God). Remember that Ellen White was talking about the Family of God in the previous paragraph and there is no reference to a third being called the Spirit. There is a third person of the Godhead which Ellen White clearly reveals is the Holy Spirit, but it is not a third being separate from the Father and the Son. “We want the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ. Letter 66, Ellen White, 1894.

In closing, the phrase, “in Your name we pray,” is negligent. It is not the biblical way to unite with God in prayer. Let’s encourage each other to pray as the Bible teaches – to our Father in heaven in the name of Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.