How Do We Address God?
Our asking, seeking, and knocking, our longings, desires, and yearnings are prayer’s energy. The Lord’s Prayer is prayer’s structure.
That there are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer suggests strongly that Jesus taught this prayer repeatedly, in different contexts, and with slightly different words. So, though the words in each version are important, we probably find deeper guidance in the themes.
Jesus’ name for God was “Father.” His manner of addressing God as “Father” was bold beyond any who preceded him. He dared to teach us to pray to our God as immediately present, fully understanding, compassionate without limits, and demanding everything.
This integration of unlimited compassion and total demand is the sweetness of Jesus’ teaching.
We all need to feel fully
seen and known,
forgiven and accepted as we are,
and when known still wanted.
That is compassion.
And it includes rest for the weary.
And we all need to feel re-inspired again again.
Re-inspired to give everything
and become all that is in us to become.
That is demand.
Please take a moment to ponder this. Isn’t this what springs from the deepest longings and yearnings of the heart? To feel fully seen, still wanted, and invited? To make the cut? And for that invitation to demand everything?
This was Jesus’ word to Peter when he felt disqualified: “Lord, depart from me for I am a sinner.” Jesus’ response is everything: “Do not be afraid. Follow me. From now on you will fish for humanity.” Immediately he left everything and followed him. (See Mt. 4:18-21; Mk. 1:16-19; Lk. 5:8-11). With stunning brevity this tells us who God is.
So, whatever name for God gives you this feeling state, voice it.
And know this. This compassion and this demand are the one true freedom. That’s the gift of “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.” For this Name, whatever you give it, welcomes you and celebrates you as you are. That you are. This Name calls forth the very best of you, and, like the morning light, remakes you whole. In you the kingdom comes. Amen.
Please engage Luke 11:1-13. See our translation in the first post on “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” You may also want to engage Luke 5:1-11. (“Engage” = tell God your response and listen for God’s response to you). [If you are new to our blog, a description of our method of “engaging,” which is a method for reading and praying with the Bible, other literature, and life itself, can be found here.].
Grace and Peace,
More to come …