Another place where I encounter God is in my daily prayer life. Although we encounter God in all of our prayers, we have a special encounter in the prayer that Jesus taught us.
I confess that sometimes when I say the Lord’s Prayer, I may not be focused on what I am saying, so I find it to be a good thing to go back and focus on the prayer a bit more in depth. One way I do this is by looking at Luther’s Small Catechism and his explanation of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven.
What does this mean?
With these words God wants to attract us, so that we come to believe he is truly our Father and we are truly his children, in order that we may ask him boldly and with complete confidence, just as loving children ask their loving father.
Growing up I had the impression of God as a great disciplinarian; the patriarch of all patriarchs. I was often told, “You better be good, because God is watching!” For me God became a Santa Claus figure, without the material payout for good behavior. When I was young, God was used to control my bad behavior. I didn’t have an image of the reality of God, which is the ground and being of ultimate and total love.
The word for “father” in the New Testament Greek is pathr (patra), but there is another word abba (abba), a Hebrew word that Jesus often uses when he talks to or about God the Father. This is a term of endearment. We would translate abba as “daddy”. In Galatians 4:6 Paul writes, “Because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Daddy! Father!)
So, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are being told and proclaiming that we are children of God. God is our Father and our Father is love personified. Jesus calls on us to call out to God in all the times of our life. Our Father! Our Daddy! I believe that this is the relationship Jesus is calling us to and the Father wants to have with us. To be Jesus’ sisters and brothers under the love of our Father and guided by the Holy Spirit we can cry out, “Our Father! Our Daddy!”. Amen.
In our Daddy’s Love,