How could Jesus pray to God if He is God? Was Jesus praying to Himself?
The key to understanding how Jesus could pray to God the Father is found in Hebrews 2:17: "Therefore [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect." One of the important callings of all people is to pray. Jesus was fully human as well as fully God, and it was perfectly fitting that He should pray to the Father in heaven.
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There are several reasons why Jesus, as a human being, prayed to the Father. First, all people are called to worship God. Prayer is one form of worship.
Second, as a Jew, Jesus was fulfilling the Law of Moses to pray to the LORD. If He did not pray to God the Father, He would have been disobedient and sinful.
Third, as our high priest, Jesus intercedes on behalf of God's people (Hebrews 2:17). We see Jesus acting as intercessor in John 17, sometimes called the "High Priestly Prayer."
A fourth reason for Jesus praying to the Father is found in John 11:41-42. In this passage, Jesus prays before He raises Lazarus from the dead: "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." So, one reason Jesus prayed to the Father was for the benefit of those around Him.
Fifth, Jesus prayed to the Father to enjoy the fellowship of the Triune Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the Bible simply says, "Jesus prayed," yet other times we see a glimpse of something more. Following Jesus' baptism, He prayed, and "the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased'" (Luke 3:21-22). Here, within the context of a prayer, Father, Son, and Spirit are all revealed in perfect fellowship.
Jesus prayed to God the Father because it was an appropriate, natural, and essential part of His mission on earth. His prayers set an example for us grow in intimacy with our Heavenly Father.
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