What Is the Apostles' Creed Prayer?

Lisa Loraine Baker

Contributing Writer
Published: Jan 23, 2023
What Is the Apostles' Creed Prayer?

Whether you say the Apostles' Creed as a prayer or as a public declaration of faith, it is a valuable guide to understanding what Christianity is all about.

Prayer energizes Christians. Through this amazing God-given “vehicle,” we communicate with our heavenly Father and bring praise to His glorious name. Prayer may include adoration of Him, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (petitions for ourselves and others). This is known as the ACTS Prayer Method and is probably familiar to you.

Yet prayer is more than what some call a “shopping list” of needs. Prayer is intimate. It involves bearing our souls to our Almighty God. He already knows everything about us, but pouring ourselves out to Him in prayer pleases Him because it reveals our dependence on Him.

Model prayers also exist. For instance, the one Jesus shared with His disciples is a template for approaching God in prayer (the Disciples’ Prayer seen in Matthew 6:9-13). The Apostles’ Creed Prayer is another.

Crosswalk.com summarizes the Apostles’ Creed prayer this way, “Going back to at least 140 AD, the Apostles’ Creed Prayer is one many of the first church leaders summed up their beliefs as they had an opportunity to stand for their faith—view, for instance, 1 Timothy 6:12. These declarations were refined into a more standard form to proclaim one’s confession of faith at the time of baptism. It is not Scripture, but it is a formal list of the profound doctrines of the faith.”

What Is a Creed?

Creed comes from the Latin credo, which means “I believe.” It denotes the initial term of the Apostles’ Creed. Creeds summarize someone’s beliefs (an individual or a group). In current use, a church’s creed is often called a statement of faith or a doctrine of faith.

What Is the Full Apostles’ Creed?

The full Apostles’ Creed is as follows:

 “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, 

born of the Virgin Mary,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried.

He descended into hell;

The third day he rose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;

I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints;

The forgiveness of sin;

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.”

To clarify a few points:

1. Holy Ghost is more commonly stated Holy Spirit. Don Stewart explains, that Elizabethan Engilsh used “ghost” to mean “spirit.”

2. The line about Jesus’ descent into hell has been much debated. Dr. R.C. Sproul and others have taken issue with this, arguing the Bible is unclear about where He descended. However, Sproul and others have maintained that if Jesus indeed went into the nether regions of hell, it was in victory and not in further suffering (see Luke 23:43 and John 19:30).

3. The holy catholic church is not the Roman Catholic faith. Here, the term catholic means the church, the body of Christ, as a universal fellowship.

Is the Apostles Creed the First Christian Creed?

The Apostles’ Creed (also known as the twelve articles of faithis most likely the earliest and most often used creed in Christianity. It was not written by any of the Apostles, although its roots are tied to the Apostles’ teaching. Logos.com adds, “in its present form, it dates to the eighth century.”

The Old Roman Creed existed before and led to the Apostles’ Creed. It’s worth noting the parallels and differences, which give an idea of where the Apostles’ Creed came from.

“I believe in God the Father almighty;

and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord, (omits Maker of heaven and earth)

Who was born from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,

Who under Pontius Pilate was crucified and buried,

on the third day rose again from the dead,

ascended into heaven, (omits descended)

sits at the right hand of the Father,

whence he will come to judge the living and the dead;

and in the Holy Spirit,

the holy Church,

the remission of sins,

the resurrection of the flesh,

(life everlasting).”

Two other well-known Christian Creeds are the Nicene Creed (AD 325) and the Chalcedonian Creed (AD 451).

What Defines an Apostle?

Christianity.com contributor Laura Adams explains that apostle comes from the Greek apostelló, and describes a messenger or someone who going on a mission.

The Bible states the credentials for being one of Jesus’ apostles specified in Acts 1:21-22. One had to have been in the presence of Jesus and witnessed His resurrection. Paul’s conversion was different, but he saw the risen Christ (en route to Damascus), was called by Him, and was approved by the other Apostles.

In the sense of being messengers or missionaries, Christians may be called apostles. But an apostle, as one called directly by Jesus, had to have met the abovementioned qualifications. False teachers claim the apostleship has been reinstated, but we must ask, by whom?

Costi Hinn, a nephew and former associate of Benny Hinn, explains that there are, in some sense, apostles today. He explains, “This Greek word means ‘a delegate’ and is synonymous with those who are commissioned to pioneer new gospel-work through planting, missionary work, or other frontier-like ministries. This is being a gospel-ambassador!” However, Hinn explains that apostles in the New Testament sense no longer exist, because it “was restricted to a very specific group who met a specific criterion.”

Therefore, the claim that new apostles exist is impossible—a false and dangerous teaching (Hebrews 10:31). However, this does not sully the Apostles’ Creed, which is a sterling affirmation of our faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

How Can We Use the Apostles’ Creed as the Prayer?

Some people have memorized the Apostles’ Creed, including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler. Mohler believes the Apostles’ Creed is not only educational, it “impacts and shapes their lives so that they might live daily in the freedom that the Lord Jesus Christ can provide.” In that sense, one can definitely use the Apostles’ Creed as a prayer. You can follow this outline:

“Father God,

I believe You are who You say You are.

You are God Almighty, and You created the heavens and the earth

I believe in Jesus Christ, Your  only begotten Son, My Lord,

I believe Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, 

I believe that He was born of the Virgin Mary,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried.

I believe that he descended into hell;

I believe The third day he rose again from the dead;

I believe that He ascended into heaven,

I believe He sits at Your right hand, the hand of God the Father Almighty;

I believe that from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;

I believe in the holy catholic church,

I believe in the communion of saints;

I believe in the forgiveness of sin;

I believe the resurrection of the body:

And I believe in the life everlasting. Amen.”

Prayer is intimate and is between our Maker and us. It may seem impersonal to pray through a creed, but if you believe what it says with your whole heart, it will become personal as you speak to our heavenly Father.

Some folks like to sing as they worship the Lord in prayer. Rich Mullins wrote “The Creed,” which interweaves the Apostles’ Creed with Mullins’ personal, heartfelt additions. The song was not only recorded by Mullins but also by Brandon Heath in collaboration with the band Third Day.

Those who wrote the Apostles’ Creed left a great legacy: this abiding truth about our steadfast belief in God.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Kamonwan Wankaew 

Lisa Baker 1200x1200Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody (End Game Press – Feb. 2022). She writes fiction and nonfiction and her current works-in-progress include a children’s picture book to accompany Someplace to be Somebody and a Christmas story anthology. Also, she and her husband are writing a Christian living book. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of AWSA and BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis.

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