05 Jan The Father Heart
Psalm 8 – O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
One night, when my oldest daughter Ashley was very little, I was undertaking our regular bedtime routine: worshipping together (despite my awful singing voice), cuddling, reading the Bible, catching up on the day, praying, and pressing the covers in around her, which we fondly called, “tucking her in like a burrito.”
As I prayed over her, the Holy Spirit showed up, and for the first time in my life, I finally understood prayer. With a big smile, she looked at me and said, “I am glad I have a daddy on earth and a Daddy in heaven who both love me. It’s nice that I can talk to either of you anytime I want, and you will hear me and help me. Good night.”
She smiled, closed her eyes, and went to sleep. For me, the Lord had just spoken through my little girl as He said He would, “You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength” (Psalm 8:2).
As I walked out of her room and turned off her light, I felt as if God had used her words to turn on a light inside me through that sacred moment with my sweetie pie. Three things have stuck with my soul ever since:
- God shared His title of Father, or Dad, with me. This revelation brought an entirely new, meaningful weight to my role. I wanted to make sure that as she, and later her siblings, heard about God the Father that my love for them as their earthly father did not cause them to be confused or scared of Him since we shared the same title.
- My daughter knew how to pray very naturally. For her, it was talking with a Dad who loved her. This type of prayer seemed far more personal, intimate, warm, and natural than the more religious and rote way I had wrongly viewed prayer. It is also exactly how Jesus taught us to pray—something we will explore in great detail throughout this book.
- Not only was I Ashley’s dad, but I was also the Father’s child. God was not only her Dad but also mine. If I wanted to grow in prayer, I needed to stop focusing on religious people and their ways of praying. I needed to start learning from my children as they brought their needs, fears, and joys to me as a dad who loved them and always had time for and interest in them. If my heart and mind could become more childlike, as Jesus taught, and focus more on getting to know my Dad than how to pray, odds are my prayer life would be more like my daughter’s, which would be a good thing.
Ashley taught me a lot that day, and we’re still learning together as we do ministry and get Bible teaching out about the Father’s heart for all His sons and daughters.
- What can we learn about prayer from kids?
- If you are a parent, what can you teach your kids about prayer?
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