Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Our Father, Who Art—Centering.
For today, I chose a Name of God from the Bible that is not only traditional, but some might say even old-fashioned. This is my word of the day for Centering Prayer. My word—Name of God for today is Father.
I chose this Name as it’s from one of the most familiar passages in the Gospels. Even perhaps the whole Bible. It comes from the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 6, where our Lord Jesus gives His disciples and the others listening to Him a template for prayer. Jesus opens with, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
I grew up with this term for God. I attended a Lutheran church in elementary school through high school. Every Sunday we would say the Lord’s Prayer as part of the service. The pastor would refer to God as “Our Heavenly Father,” and this way of referencing God was so familiar to me.
Fast forward more than twenty years. I was married, with small children. I tried to be faithful in how God called me, and so I tried to pray on a regular basis. I remember questioning how I referred to God in prayer, but only mild questions.
Go forward a bit more, and I found myself in seminary. Second year, I was having considerable difficulty with some outside issues. (Not with school. I loved seminary!) However, I remember having particular difficulty with calling God “Father.” In fact, I could not bring myself to say the Lord’s Prayer out loud, since I had so much of a problem with using the Name “Father.” I did not want to lose sight of the feminine half of God, and I struggled with that expression and Name of God almost all year long.
Now, present day. Things continue to evolve. I try not to use gender often as I use Names of God. But, I need to consider this Name again for this particular prayer time. I taught an adult bible study at the beginning of the summer on the Lord’s Prayer, and I talked about “Father.” How unusual it was for Jesus to use this Name for God Almighty. It showed intimacy, love, and caring. Not only from Jesus to His Heavenly Father. No, the intimacy, love and caring were (are?) a two-way street.
Praise God that God has revealed Godself to me so freely, and with so much love and intimacy. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:9. our Heavenly Father. Thank You, Lord. You love me as Your child. You carry me like a beloved toddler! You really do. Thank You. Amen.
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