The mission of the church is contained in that word [Father]; the failure of the church is highlighted by that word. — N.T. Wright
On this Father’s Day, I’d like to share some words on connecting with the Father.
To start, please take a moment to center your thoughts by asking (and answering as you can) some questions . . . Where did your image of God come from? How was it formed in your mind? Can you recall any pictures, experiences, stories, or relationships that led you to this image?
Now let’s go a bit deeper—how does your god respond to your pain, confusion, and brokenness? Or to your needs, desires, and longings to be loved and accepted? What causes this god to engage with your plight, to care for your requests, to heed your prayers?
The stats and studies tell us that most people have a strained, complicated, or nonexistent relationship with their biological father. And God knows what’s behind these stats and studies better than anyone.
When Jesus told us to pray to the Father, he realized how difficult that would be for many of his brothers and sisters. What is difficult, though, is often what’s most meaningful, and Jesus was never one to back down from what is best.
Praying to God as “Father” is an invitation to confront the pain of our past by placing it in the hands of the One who promises to hold our future. In this tension of being, our pain and wounds become sacred scars, reminders of how God will ultimately save us from all evil, drying every tear and healing every heart: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Let’s take some time this week to wrestle through these questions: How do I see God? Why do I see the Father the way I do? How does my view of God affect my ability to experience prayer as a way of life?
Every time “Father” is whispered, shouted, or cried in prayer, we can surrender our broken or incomplete idea of Father to the One who knows . . . the One who did everything he could, even sacrificing his own life, to reveal who the Father has always been.
For it is only in the revelation of Father that we learn to pray (and live) like sons and daughters of God.
“To all who did receive [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Praying with you,
P.S. For today’s entry, I pulled bits from Words with God, specifically from Chapter 4, “What We Call God.” Even beyond that chapter, though, the pain and promise of praying to God as Father is a theme that is woven throughout the book. If you don’t have Words with God yet, you can get it on Amazon, through the Messenger Store, or wherever you get your books.