Jesus always refers the Father as to be greater than himself.

For example:

You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28

Jesus gave them this answer: "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19

And many more. So why don't Christians directly pray to the Father instead of Jesus if he is more superior than him?

  • 2
    Let us pray the Our Father! The Our Father is prayed at every Catholic Mass.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 12:06
  • 1
    Would love to give a biblical perspective on why... using Jesus's words. But your question is limited to a Catholic perspective. Multiple biblical references, but this is most pointed: John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Commented May 6, 2017 at 18:28
  • Why a Catholic perspective specifically? Not saying it is wrong at all, but just interested why.
    – Michael
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 15:02
  • 1
    @Michael—Because the limited scope is necessary otherwise the question would be closed.
    – user900
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 4:19
  • Many, possibly most, Christians do pray to that Father, through the name of Jesus. What makes you think most Christians only pray to Jesus?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 0:02

3 Answers 3


Prayer is not an "either / or" proposition

From the Catholic point of view, praying to the Son and praying to the Father are both appropriate and necessary forms of prayer, since

  1. Prayer is a means by which we communicate and establish a relationship with God, and

  2. We believe that God is the Triune God.

For a TL;DR answer to the question's cherry pick of scripture, a cherry pick of scripture from John 14:6-7

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well.

To have a relationship with God you need a relationship with Jesus. That's Raw Scripture, and Catholic belief is in harmony with this.

Not only that, but Jesus provided explicit guidance in John 16:23

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

Prayer as Catholics understand it (in an official sense)

To fulfill our baptismal promises, we need to have a relationship with Jesus. Matthew 7:21-23(KJV) illustrates this very well, and is used as a teaching point by Catholic pastors, deacons, and catechists in my experience.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

To get to know Jesus one has to establish a relationship (walk the walk) not just call out his name (talk the talk). Prayer is a fundamental way to grow a relationship with Jesus, with God, and even with the Holy Spirit.

CCC 2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

Prayer as communion
CCC 2565 In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit.
The grace of the Kingdom is "the union of the entire holy and royal Tinity . . . with the whole human spirit."
Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him.
This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ.
Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ's love.

I'd recommend reading the entire section IV of the Catechism of the Catholic Church -- articles 2558-2865-- to get an comprehensive look at prayer in the Christian life from the Catholic perspective. It's good stuff, and the on-line version is well footnoted with scriptural references.

The question is based on two false premises

False premise 1: that prayer is an either / or proposition in communicating with God. We are encouraged to pray to all three persons of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Indeed, when we pray after we have crossed our selves, we appeal to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

False premise 2: that Catholics/Christians in some way "lose out" if they don't pray to God but instead pray to Jesus. We don't lose out, prayer to a person of the Holy Trinity is inherently beneficial. As a matter of practice, Catholics say the Our Father at every Mass and multiple times in every rosary. (I say at least on Our Father every day). That is a direct prayer to God as taught to us by Jesus. (See Gospel of Matthew Ch 6 for a review).

Most Christians approach this similarly

It is my experience (having encountered Christians from multiple denominations over the past 45 years, and having prayed with them, and having talked about prayer with them for the past two decades in some depth) that this point of view is common to most Christian groups. I have yet to encounter a Christian group who does not pray to both the Son and the Father. (Since I may misunderstand how that is applied by Jehovah's Witnesses (I am not one but have numerous friends who are) I may be wrong on that by way of misunderstanding).


Why pray to Jesus and not to the Father?

According to the Catholic Church there is nothing stopping the faithful from having a devotion to God the Father or simply to the Father. After all the Our Father also known as the Lord's Prayer is prayed at every Catholic Mass and is recited in our rosaries. How many of our prayers within the sacred liturgy are addressed to the Father?

Is it possible that the Church will institute a Feast in honor of the Father some day? Anything is possible.

The Church has many devotions and feasts in honor of different aspects of Christ's sacred humanity and the Holy Trinity.

Devotions to the Holy Trinity

Feast of the Holy Trinity is a devotional day celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost and honors the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[16] The Novena to the Holy Trinity may include the Glory Be prayer, as well as other prayers, although the other prayers may vary.

Devotions to Jesus

Several widespread devotions in the Catholic tradition relate directly to Jesus Christ. Official Catholic teachings consider Eucharistic adoration an important practice which "stimulates the faithful to an awareness of the marvelous presence of Christ and is an invitation to spiritual communion with Him." In many cases Eucharistic adoration is performed by each person for an uninterrupted hour known as the Holy Hour.The inspiration for the Holy Hour is Matthew 26:40 when in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, Jesus asks Peter: "So, could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?".

Some devotions have the form of Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during His Passion or for the sin of blasphemy, e.g. the Golden Arrow Prayer. Devotions involving the Sacred Heart of Jesus first appeared in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but most current devotions are attributed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690).

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ.

The devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus dates back to Sister Marie of St. Peter in 1843 who reported visions of Jesus and Mary in which she was urged to spread the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, in reparation for the many insults Jesus suffered in His Passion. This resulted in The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion (Prayer). The Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus was first approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1885.Sister Maria Pierina de Micheli further promoted the devotion based on the image from Secondo Pia's photograph of the Shroud of Turin.In 1958, Pope Pius XII approved of the devotion and the Holy Face medal and confirmed the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) for all Roman Catholics.

Other devotions include the Divine Mercy based on the visions of Saint Faustina Kowalska, known as the "Apostle of Mercy", and First Friday devotions which are related to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Chaplet of the Five Wounds. - Catholic devotions

One of the main reasons why the Church does not have a stronger devotion and prayer to the Father is that a Feast has not yet been instituted in honor of the Father for one reason or another.

The absence of a feast dedicated to the Father in the liturgical calendar bears witness to the fact that the worship of the Father still hasn’t reached its full development. During the year there are feasts dedicated to Christ in memory of numerous events of the work of salvation, the feast of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Trinity, the feasts dedicated to Our Lady and those dedicated to numerous saints. However, there is no particular feast dedicated to the Father.

In the past there were attempts to introduce a feast of the Father. In the XVII century, for example, in 1684 the king of Spain Charles II started a petition in Rome in order to obtain, at least for Spain or for the whole Church, the institution of a special feast dedicated to the Father. - The new worship of the Father by by P. Jean Galot SJ

It is interesting to note what Fr. Raniero CANTALAMESSA OFM,Cap has to say about the possibility of this devotion considering is the Papal Preacher for the Apostolic Household at the Vatican.

It’s sad that in the whole liturgical year there isn’t a feast dedicated to the Father, that in the whole Missal there isn’t even a votive Mass in His honour. Come to think of it, it’s very strange; there are many feasts dedicated to Jesus the Son; there is a feast of the Holy Spirit; there are many feasts dedicated to Mary… There isn’t a single feast dedicated to the Father, “source and origin of all divinity”. We could almost say that the Father, and no longer the Holy Spirit, is “the unknown divinity”.

It’s true, there is the feast of the Holy Trinity, which, however, is the feast of a mystery, or a dogma and not of a person and, nevertheless, not of a single divine person. Besides, the fact that there is a feast of the Holy Family doesn’t mean the Church may not feel the need to celebrate, even individually, the three persons of the Holy Family. There are even two feasts dedicated to Jesus’ putative father, but there isn’t a single feast dedicated to His real Father. Couldn’t this be the moment to fill this gap?

Many feasts originated in order to answer the particular needs of an era: the feast of Corpus Domini, for example, was born as a response of faith to the denial of the real presence, made by Berengario of Tours; to the threat of Jansenism, the Church responded with the feast and devotion to the Sacred Heart and no one will ever know how many spiritual graces this devotion produced. Today, the threat strikes the very heart of the Christian faith which is the revelation of God as Father – the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”, as St. Paul calls Him – and, therefore, the Trinity itself. It’s not a coincidence that Providence is bringing back to mind, in our days, the mystery of God’s suffering, but because the Holy Spirit knows that this is the remedy needed to heal the contaminated mind of modern man, who has found, in suffering, the stumbling stone which leads him far away from God.

While we look forward to this day, we can already celebrate the feast of the Father “in spirit and in truth”, in the intimacy of our hearts, by perhaps promoting little spiritual initiatives whose purpose is to make the Father known more, to honour Him and express all our filial love for Him, in union with Jesus, who always celebrates His Father… In fact, this is already taking place and many people are experiencing the new and extraordinary fervour it gives to faith and to our whole spiritual life. - A Feast for the Father

Praying to the Father has always been permitted within the Catholic Church, although the devotion to the Father is not yet at an official liturgical celebration. A Liturgical feast in honor of God the Father is a possibility in the future as is seen here.


It works out like this. Study the words of Jesus closely and you will see I am correct on this. I suggest finding the gospel canon online and pasting it into a word document. From that point shrink the margins to fit as much on a page as you can and print it on front and back of pages if you can as well. Then get some multi-colored highlighters. The Bible is a horrible format for study. The book is cumbersome, the pages are too fine, and the worded text is far too tiny. Do this and you will see there are no contradictions made by Jesus on these points I am about to explain, save for one passage, or two if wish to count the duplicate passage in one other gospel. This is the much debated "I did not come to destroy the law" passage, the sole passage understandably cited to deny Jesus Christ as the only true path to God the Father. That said, Jesus refers to the Father as greater than himself only before his crucifixion. Afterwards he says:

"All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth" (Mat 28:18).

He tells us the Father and he are one, and are to become one:

"I and the Father are one." John (10:30)

This is the Father, Son, Holy Spirit of Truth.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The Way is Jesus Christ; the Path to the Father and the Holy Spirit of Truth.

“It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life” (John 6:63).

“For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37).

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).

Jesus refers to himself as the new and only path to the God the Father. So you should not really think of Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Truth as different things. Think of it like a bee hive. A bee depends on the hive. Without the hive the bee would die. So the insect itself is part of a larger entity more powerful than itself, without which none of the rest can exist. This is what would be referred to as panentheism, and it happens to be exactly what Jesus is speaking of in the gospels. Everything is a part of God. You can think of this as how we have arms and legs, which, on their own, do not make up a parson. God moves these parts and they are a part of God. All one need to do find the Spirit is to seek Truth.

"Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth." Mark (12:14)

Jesus is the only path to the Father and to find him you must seek the Truth in the words of the Savior Jesus Christ. The rest of the Bible is irrelevant according to the words of Jesus Christ, the deliverer of the New Covenant.

"This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Luke (22:20)

I know this is not a popular thing to say but it happens to be the consequence of having faith in the statements made by Jesus in the gospels. Prepare to be shunned if you start trying to explain this to others. However,

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake” (Luke 6:22).

“[…] “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house” (Mark 6:4).

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:18-20).

“And you will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved” (Mat 10:22).

Now I will cite all the passages where Jesus names himself as the only path to the Father, and you can decide if you wish to cite one passage about not destroying the law to invalidate the mountain of passages that say the contrary.

“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Mat 28:18)

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

“It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life” (John 6:63).

“Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23).

“Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master” […] (John 15:20).

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord” (Mat 10:24).

“Whoever receives me receives him who sent me” […] (Luke 9:48). “[…] Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).

“Truly, truly, I tell you, one who does not enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” (John 10:1-2).

“Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

“…neither does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and he to whom the Son desires to reveal him” (Mat 11:27).

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words” (John 14:23-24).

“But whoever denies me before people, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mat 10:33).

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?” (Mat 7:15-16).

“…everyone who hears these words of mine, and does not do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. And the rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell, and great was its fall” (Mat 7:26-27).

“And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made. Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (Mat 9:16-17).

“No one having torn a piece from a new garment puts it on an old garment, or else he will tear the new, and also the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. No man having drunk old wine desires new, for he says, “The old is good” (Luke 5:36-39).

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters." (Mat 12:30).

"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Luke 11:23).

And as denominational theological debates have scattered and divided then so too is the house divided.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Mat 12:25-26).

And no one can serve two masters, as this results in the appearance in contradictory practice, thus why Christ named himself the only teacher and "The Way."

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God (good) and Mammon (evil)” (Mat 6:24).

To sum up what I have just said, all are one and the same but separate parts of the same organism if you will; God. We become one fully with God upon death by finding the Truth delivered by Jesus Christ. If you pray to Jesus or to God it makes no difference, Jesus is God and God is Jesus Christ. The only way to God is through the Truth delivered in the word of Jesus Christ. The reason mainly this is such a controversial position is because of denominational fracturing, a house divided, among the message delivered by Jesus Christ.

“Why do you […] disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Mat 15:3).

“[…] You have made the word of God void because of your tradition” (Mat 15:6).

“For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men. Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:8-9).

“These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine rules made by men” (Mat 15:8-9).

  • 1
    This answer is in need of some serious reformatting
    – Andrew
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 3:53
  • Serious-ly.....
    – user900
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 4:19
  • 1
    I'm sorry. I hope the changes help. Commented May 14, 2017 at 4:38
  • I am uncertain how your opening discussion on the Bible's hard to study format helps to answer the question. It seems to distract from the core of your answer. Commented May 18, 2017 at 14:33

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