The first Sunday after the Day of Pentecost is traditionally observed as Trinity Sunday where we recognize God in a threefold or triple manifestation as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, we as Christians are to always remember that at the center of all Christian celebrations, our God so wonderfully communicates with us or functions in three special, mystical and extremely powerful ways. Cardinal Manning, A Christian Theologian and Senior Pastor gives a good understanding of the Holy Trinity: “God the Father is the Creator, God the Son is the Redeemer, God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier; and yet not so that the Son and the Holy Spirit are excluded from creation, or the Father and the Holy Spirit from redemption, or the Father and the Son from our sanctification. But each of these three Persons has assumed to Himself, by an economy (regulation) of His own supreme wisdom, the special discharge of one of these three offices.”
Trinity (Trinitas in Latin) is a word created by a man named Tertiullian, a North African who lived 160-225 AD. He wanted to explain the fact that God is The Supreme and Divine Substance greater than any other being. God is so great that He has the ability to show or reveal Himself in three different manifestations or three personified mediums but still remains the One and True God! There are not three gods but only the One God.
The word Trinity does not appear in the Bible but God revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is evident throughout Holy Scripture. In the Old Testament, we see the Trinity or Trinitarian concept in action. In the wisdom literature of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, God is wisdom, i.e., He is active in creation. In Psalms 119:89 & 147:15-20 as well as Isaiah 55:10-11, God is the Word, i.e., going forth into the world to challenge humanity. In Isaiah 42:1-3 and Ezekiel 37:1-14, God is Spirit, i.e., His presence and power in the created order gives life and strength to all. In the New Testament, the Trinity or Trinitarian understanding is seen in Matthew 28:19 where Jesus told His apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In II Corinthians 13:13, St. Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthian church in a threefold way; “The grace of Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God [The Father], and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
The Trinity is not limited to these New Testament verses for God’s triune nature and divine activity is evident throughout the 27 books of this testament. Over and repeatedly, God, The Father is revealed in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
The Work of The Trinity in Our Prayer Life
Prayer is always to be directed to the Father. He is the One who alone has the power to answer prayer. In His hands are all times, kings, and nations (Proverbs 21:1). All good and perfect gifts come down from the Father above (James 1:17). The Father knows how to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). Jesus Himself prayed to the Father (e.g. Luke 22:42). Instructing His disciples to pray, He said to begin praying saying, “Our Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Prayer is always directed to the Father in heaven whose will it is that we must pray according to (Romans 8:27).
Of ourselves we would have no right to approach the Father in any way, including in prayer. In the Old Testament, only the high priest was allowed to go into God’s presence in the Holy of Holies in the temple and only once a year. They even tied a rope to his foot in case God killed him on the spot for some uncleanness in him. Approaching the Holy Father whose name is Holy is something that we can only do in the New Testament because of what Christ has done on the cross. When He died, the veil in the temple, which guarded the way into the Holy of Holies, was torn in two (Mark 15:38, Exodus 26:33). This symbolized the fact that now all Christians are somewhat ‘priests’ of God and able to approach the presence of God (Hebrews 9, 1 Peter 2:5, 9). Indeed Christ lives within us, and God has made His abode with man. The role of the Son is to intercede on our behalf so that we can approach the throne of grace to get help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We can even approach God’s holy throne with confidence because of our righteousness in Christ (Hebrews 10:19). Christ, as Romans 8:27 says, searches the hearts and minds of believers to get the mind of the Spirit (we know this is referring to Christ because of v. 34 which explains that Christ’s present ministry is one of intercession). He then carries our requests, in a sense, to God. Jesus is the means by which we have direct access to God. He makes sure that our prayers reach the Father. Just as He made the way for us to have eternity with God in heaven, He too enables our prayers to reach God’s throne.
The Spirit, says Romans 8:26, helps us in our weakness because we do not know how to pray as we should. Left to ourselves, even as believers, we need the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be able to know what to pray. This is why it is so important to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit within our hearts. With sighs that are too deep for words, the Spirit expresses the thoughts and intentions of our heart to Christ who offers them to God. The Spirit’s communication transcends words and gets to the true thoughts and intentions of our hearts. We need the Spirit to give us what to pray, to help us to pray, and to adequately express what our words fail to say. The Spirit leads us in our prayers, enables us to pray, and takes the essence of what we are saying to Jesus who gives it to the Father. When we do not feel like we know what to pray, we are in a good place, for that is when we will actually trust in the Spirit to lead us to what we should say and think.
There is a three-fold work of God in our praying. We are not alone. God who indwells us is listening to us, if only we do not hinder our own prayers by going against His will and commands. He will lead us to pray according to His will so that we can be sure that we have what we have asked (1 John 5:14). It is a beautiful thing yet so mysterious, for though all three Persons do something different, they are all doing it together. However it works, let us be glad that it does work. We have a powerful God on our side who wants to hear from us. He involves us in His plans and purposes. Let us listen to Him, yield to Him, and call out to Him in prayer. Let us pray to the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit.