Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have noticed a very subtle distinction in the way Protestants and LDS refer to God. When Protestants pray to God, he may address Him as "Heavenly Father", but when they speak about God, they seem to refer to Him as "Our Heavenly Father".

However, the LDS people that I have known and met seem to refer to God as "Heavenly Father" (without the Our) in both situations--as a direct address and as an indirect address.

I really don't know if there is any reason for this. Perhaps it is just cultural to each group, but I thought I would ask anyway as it does make me curious.

share|improve this question
Lol im mormon and he is all of our heavenly father reverancr is needed wouldn't anyone love q good thanks from giving that is your gift of appreciation so as mormons we thank our heavenly with humble and meekness.. we thank him the creation, the fall and the plan of salvation. For he receive all the glory. Amen – user10812 Apr 15 '14 at 10:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted

As @Matt said it's not that significant because they can be used interchangeably (and are both used, I use our in prayer all the time when with other people).

I wanted to address your comment to Matt's answer.

Heavenly Father is used so often in a indirect manner because of the personal relationship LDS feel they have with God.

If I was talking to my sister about my earthly father, I wouldn't say "Our father, said foo and bar", I would however, say, "Father said foo and bar".

He is our father, we know that already so there is no need to refer to him as such again.

It is much the same with our Heavenly Father. We know He is our Heavenly Father, there is no other Heavenly Father, and He is the Heavenly Father of all people on earth, so it's felt that there isn't a need to refer to Him as 'our' Heavenly Father again.

It's interesting to note that Our and My are probably used more by the LDS in prayer then in indirect speech. So if what you say is true about protestant prayer the usage of these possessive words is reversed between the two groups.

I would conjecture that it's more common in prayer in the LDS culture because of how formal and reverent the LDS are towards prayer. The LDS believe that prayer is a dialog between them and God, but the word choice is more akin to a dialog though mail (instant mail but still mail). Where the use of salutations like "Our" or "My" would be more appropriate then normal speech.

share|improve this answer

It's not significant. It could have to do with anything from how they're raised, to how they prefer to speak, to language and dialect, to setting, or to anything else. Mormons will say both "Our Heavenly Father" and "Heavenly Father" interchangeably.

share|improve this answer
Ok... I had just noticed that "Heavenly Father" as an indirect references seemed to be exclusive to LDS. – Narnian May 7 '13 at 19:11

I am LDS. When a person stands and offers a prayer as the representative of a congregation of people---we say, Our Heavenly Father, but when we are praying only representing ourself (not speaking in behalf of all humanity), we don't need to say, OUR, because we are speaking personally to My Father. When said this way, we are not discrediting that all have the same Father in Heaven. But rather, one example addresses the collective and the other addresses the singular--addressing the personal relationship that one has with their Father, recognizing themselves (and others) as a son or daughter of God.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. Thanks for providing an answer to this question. For some further tips on writing good answers here, please see: What makes a good supported answer? Meanwhile, I hope you'll stick around and browse some of the other questions and answers here. – Lee Woofenden Apr 7 at 16:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.