Our Father in Heaven

Good morning. It is Tuesday, August 25, 2015. Post-Monday.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is grog. Grog is “an alcoholic drink containing liquor (such as rum) mixed with water,” or, “any alcoholic drink (such as beer).” And all this time I thought Grog was a character in B.C.
Grog

Today is Kiss and Make Up Day. I think you know what to do.

As usual, last night’s band practice, for the Southlake Community Band, was fun. I am really enjoying listening to what the director has to say during rehearsals. I’m a little sad that I’ll be missing the next concert, which is September 12, but still enjoying rehearsing the music for that concert. The director is really focusing on getting us to all listen to the rest of the parts during the music.

Tonight, I will have my Huddle group, but I’ll at least have time to come home first. Mondays, I just drive to Southlake, find place to have dinner, and then sit and read for a while, until the practice begins at 7:00. Then, I don’t get home until almost 9:30. Makes me a little tired on Tuesday mornings, but it’s worth it.

Christi came home early from work, yesterday, feeling quite nauseated and exhausted. She’s better this morning, though.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 97:10-12.

O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, we begin chapter eight, “The Prayer of Prayers.” In this chapter, Timothy Keller will guide us through more teachings of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, but specifically in regard to what is commonly referred to as The Lord’s Prayer (I prefer to call it the Model Prayer, but will use the terminology of the book in this case).

All three of the theologians mentioned gained great understanding on prayer by studying the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13, which is the most commonly used version of this prayer.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

“The Lord’s Prayer may be the single set of words spoken more often than any other in the history of the world.” It was given to us by Jesus “as a key to unlock all the riches of prayer.” Unfortunately, it is also a largely “untapped resource.” Why? Because of its familiarity. There probably aren’t a lot of people who don’t know at least a few lines of the Lord’s Prayer.

Keller uses an analogy of visiting a friend who has a home near train tracks. Imagine you are sitting with your friend, having a conversation, when a train roars by. I can easily do this, as, when I was in Seminary, I lived in a house that was literally less than 100 yards from a train track. As the train roars by, you might jump in in alarm, shouting, “What’s that??” Your friend might respond, “What’s what?” He is so familiar with the sound, having lived there for a while, that he barely registers it.

It can easily be the same with the Lord’s Prayer. I can recite the words easily from memory. But when I stop and give thought to each line, I find that, contained within, there are treasures for a world that is “starving for spiritual experience.” But it is so familiar that we often do not hear it. Hopefully, as we pay attention to what our three teachers have to say, it can help us overcome this “deadly familiarity.”

The first phrase in the prayer is “Our Father in heaven.” This is not a petition, but, rather, an address. Sort of like the salutation in a letter, if you will. John Calvin says that, when we call God “Father,” we are truly praying in Jesus’s name. “Luther also believed the address was a call to not plunge right into talking to God but to first recollect our situation and realize our standing in Christ before we proceed into prayer.” When we truly call God “Father,” it can free us from all lack of trust in him.

Our Father in heaven . . . when I say that word, “Father,” help me to know what it truly means. When I pray, this morning, help me not gloss over that word. May your Spirit teach me what it really means to call you “Father,” to know that, in that word dwells the riches of glory, as I am truly a son, a brother of THE Son. May I know real trust in what my Father has in store for me. May my faith never falter, knowing that my Father cares for me.

I pray for this day, that our trip to work and back will be safe. I thank you that Christi is feeling better this morning, and that her day will be good, today. May we both approach every circumstance at our jobs with the grace that you provide for each day. I pray for Stephanie today, that she would know your great love and encouragement. I also pray that we might hear something soon from the MHMR people. I pray for Rachel as she starts a class this week. May you give her a clear path toward her future. I also lift up my mother’s Bible study class, that you might give them a wonderful glimpse of your presence, this morning.

I continue to pray for all the teachers and students who are staring school, that you might shower them with your grace, even those who claim to not believe in you. As you say, the rain falls on the just and the unjust, alike. Show your glory to all the earth, Lord.

Your grace is sufficient.

Today, when you pray, try beginning with these words. “Our Father in heaven.” Then pause on that word “Father.” Try to drink in everything that word means to us.

our father

Grace and peace, friends.

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