Many see the prayers of Jesus as proof of a distinction of persons within the Godhead. This leads to many questions. Do the prayers of Jesus prove that there are multiple ‘persons’ within the Godhead? When Jesus prayed, did he pray as God or as man? Did he pray from his Deity or his humanity? How did Jesus Pray?
In order to understand how Jesus prayed it is important to understand that Jesus had two natures- he was both God and man.
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
When Jesus prayed, he did not pray as God; he prayed as the Son of God. In other words, he prayed as a man. As a man, Jesus prayed to the Father just like everyone else.
Jesus could not pray as God. If he was praying as God, then we have one God praying to another, which is polytheism (the belief in many gods). Jesus could not have prayed as God because there is only one God and He doesn’t need to pray. There is only one God and He has no one He can pray to.
To say Jesus prayed as the second member of the Godhead doesn’t follow logic. If Jesus was praying as the second ‘person’ within the Godhead then he was subordinate to the Father in his Deity, which shows a separation between the Father and Son, making two Gods. This means that the ‘persons’ within the Godhead are not co-equal. Also, Jesus never prayed to the Holy Ghost, which means he had respect to one ‘person’ over another.
Jesus prayed from his human nature to God. Jesus only needed to pray from his humanity. From his Deity he had no one to pray to, because there is none beside him.
Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Isaiah 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
Isaiah 45:5-6 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
There is only one God.
Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Jesus was the one God manifest in flesh.
John 14:8-9 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
As a man Jesus submitted his will to the will of God.
Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Jesus only needed to pray in the days of his flesh.
Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
As a human Jesus was obedient to God.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Even though Jesus was man and Jesus was God, this doesn’t mean that Jesus prayed to himself. The Son of God did not pray to the Son of God. God did not pray to God. Jesus prayed as the Son of God to the only God in heaven. Jesus had two natures- humanity and Deity. This means that Jesus was both God and man- two complete natures. To say that Jesus prayed to himself implies that he only had one nature and that he prayed from that nature to that nature, and this is clearly against scripture. Jesus prayed from his human nature to God just like we do. Since he was God manifest in flesh, Jesus prayed from his human nature to his Divine nature. This does not mean that Jesus prayed to himself. Jesus did not pray from his humanity to his humanity or from his Deity to his Deity. To say that Jesus prayed from his Deity makes more than one Deity. It also makes his Deity subordinate to the Father, destroying co-equality and contradicting scripture that says there is one God. He could not pray from his humanity to his humanity because it is wrong to pray to anyone but God.
To say Jesus prayed to ‘himself’ implies the ‘same self’. Jesus had two natures fused together. He was not two ‘persons’. There is a distinction between the Father and the Son. The distinction is between humanity and Divinity, not between ‘persons’ within the Godhead. The human nature of Jesus is distinct from his Divine nature.
Jesus had to pray from his humanity. Jesus praying from his humanity does not require the Godhead to be made up of ‘persons’. It just requires Jesus to have a human nature, which we see in scripture.
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
From his human nature Jesus was born, grew, was anointed as a priest, ate, slept, prayed, wept, and died on the cross.
Multiple ‘persons’ within the Godhead are not necessary to explain the prayers of Jesus. There is nothing difficult about Jesus praying as a man to God. To say that Jesus prayed to himself is a logical fallacy. Jesus had a dual nature- he was both God and man. Jesus prayed from his humanity to Deity. Jesus prayed as a man to God.