Recently, a group of us were discussing how we address God when we pray. I tend toward the traditional – Heavenly Father, Holy God, Blessed Creator. Admittedly, they’re all a bit formal but I’m ok with that. My prayers generally are running conversations with God and a bit of formality at the start makes up for a lack of formality in the rest.

The various ways that people address God in prayer vary as much as the people doing the praying. Doing a bit of exploring, here are some of the names for God that I found:

  • Abba
  • Yahweh
  • Jehovah
  • Elohim
  • Adonai
  • El
  • Father of the fatherless
  • King of Kings
  • Lord of Hosts
  • The All-seeing
  • Blessed Trinity
  • Holy Spirit
  • Daddy-God

Is one more right than another? There are probably people who would say yes. I’m not so sure. If we can comprehend the concept and come up with a name for it, it is in no way as vast or all-encompassing as God.

Sometimes I think that the name we choose is something of a Holy inkblot test. It tells the world more about us than it tells them about God. Although I call God Father, he isn’t a man, and, no, that doesn’t mean that I think God is a woman. God is God. I call God a He because the only non-gender based singular pronoun in English is It and that just seems disrespectful.

Use what is comfortable to you. It isn’t a magical phrase. It isn’t going to guarantee you access to God if you use just the right phrase. No open sesame here. Conversely, the wrong phrase won’t keep you from speaking to Him.

Think of it as a phrase that simply gets you pointed in the right direction. It helps you move from a focus on this world to a focus on God. If you can’t come up with a phrase that is comfortable to you, simply take a deep, calming breath and speak from your heart.

He is there and He will listen.