After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Matthew 6:9 (KJV)
Dear God, when I was praying through this very first part of the prayer Jesus taught us the other day, I missed an important part: Father. Our Father. My Father. What is the implication here in saying that you are my father? As a man, what is a father supposed to still provide me? As your child, what is it that I should look to you to provide me?
The trick is that most of us get our image of our earthly father mixed up with the image of you as our father. Some of us have good fathers. Some bad. Most of us have a father who is somewhere in the middle–tries their best but flawed. I think I fit in that category for my adult children. So what is it that they need from me now and what is it that you want them to have from me? More importantly, what kind of damage can I do if I get in your way and short-circuit lessons you might be trying to teach them through the path you’ve laid out for them?
As for me and what I think I need from you as my father, here are some things off of the top of my head:
- Wisdom and discernment
- Forgiveness and mercy (that probably should have been first)
- The fruit of your Spirit to grow in me and out of me (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, self control, etc.)
- My daily bread (I’ll dive more into that in a few days)
- Love and acceptance
Now that I look at it, other than giving my adult children their daily bread, I would be pleased if they could get all of those things from me, including seeing the fruit of your Spirit growing in me and then they too would be drawn to you through that.
Father (I always start this last paragraph addressing you as “Father,” but today I’d like to underscore it), thank you for your forgiveness and mercy. Thank you for the fruit of your Spirit. Thank you for loving and accepting me. Please give me wisdom and discernment as I move through this day. Love through me. Show mercy through me. And please provide my daily bread, and help me to know how to use the resources you’ve given me both in my personal life and through my work so that your kingdom will come and your will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In Jesus’s name I pray,