In the New Testament the triune nature of God becomes explicit, but few places are as compressed and direct as Matthew 28:19, where Jesus sends his disciples into the world to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It does not say “in the names” but rather states that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all have a single name. For us the term name may be just a label or a brand that can be discarded or changed at will, but in biblical times, it denoted the very nature and being of a person. This means the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all share one divine nature, that they are one being. There is only one God—not three. Though Paul continually speaks of Christ’s divinity, saying that all the fullness of the deity dwells in him (Col 2:9), yet he also says there is “no God but one” (1 Cor 8:4)—God has one nature, name, and being.
The implications of the Triunity of God for prayer are many. It means, to begin with, that God has always had within himself a perfect friendship. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are adoring one another, giving glorifying love to one another, and delighting in one another. We know of no joy higher than being loved and loving in return, but a triune God would know that love and joy in unimaginable, infinite dimensions. God is, therefore, infinitely, profoundly happy, filled with perfect joy—not some abstract tranquility but the fierce happiness of dynamic loving relationships. Knowing this God is not to get beyond emotions or thoughts but to be filled with glorious love and joy.
Excerpt from PRAYER by Timothy Keller Reprinted by arrangement with DUTTON, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Keller