Scripture: Our Father, who is Heaven ~Matthew 6:9

Theological Thought: Referring to the God of Israel as “Father” marks a shift in the way in which Jews were being asked to, not only communicate with their God, but to think of Him as well.  Previous titles such as The Lord my Healer and The Lord my Deliverer, brought with them a combination of reverence and power.  Calling upon God as “The Lord my Father,” makes power an assumed quality (what child does not believe their father is powerful?) and puts the intimate, family relationship between Creator and creation at the fore.

Reflection: I realized, not too long ago, that when I pray I usually pray “My Lord” or “My God.”  Now that may not seem like a big deal, after all they are perfectly good titles to use when addressing our Heavenly Father, but what it did was create an unspoken assumption in my faith life that I only recently realized.  Think of the show Downton Abbey: the children of the Grantham household address Lord Grantham as “Father,” or “papa” while the servants all refer to him as “My Lord.”  I was doing the same thing in my prayer life: I was relegating myself to the role of servant.  And while I believed that the Father loved me it was, in my mind, the same as Lord Grantham’s affection for Mr. Carson: a distant affection that will show up when things are especially wonderful or terrible, but otherwise nothing worth noting.  This is not true of the Father’s love for me, but for a long time that was how I perceived it without ever realizing it.  I think this is one reason why Jesus begins his prayer with “Our Father,” because it helps shape our perceptions without our ever realizing it.

Prayer: Father, open my eyes and open my heart to the truth of your love for me that I can accept it and live in it.

Practice: Simple Prayer is described by Richard Foster as the basic prayer in which we, the children of God, ask for something.  Not something we think God wants, not something we think we should want, but something we actually honestly want.  So be honest about your selfishness and ask God, simply, for something you want.