Daily Devotions
Daily Devotion
Pastor Heidi Johns

Daily Devotion

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name….

I remember I was nervous. I had moved away to college and early in that first semester I made an appointment with my Faculty Advisor to get some information regarding my major.  I was nervous because I did not know my Advisor and from a distance he seemed rather gruff.  All that changed, however, when I walked into his office.  I called him “Professor” and he invited me to call him by his first name.  Before getting to my questions we sat and talked, and he seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me.  Turns out he was very approachable and our relationship became a meaningful resource for me as I navigated college life.

It is amazing that when Jesus taught us to pray, he invited us to think of God as a parent.  This sets the tone for how God wants to relate to us.  We don’t need to be nervous about praying, worried that we don’t measure up, or that God is a “gruff” authority figure.  When Jesus invites us to pray “Our Father,” he is revealing the approachability of God, and God’s desire to hear from us (what parent doesn’t love to hear from his/her children?).  Surely this invitation to address God as a loving parent shows God as one who is encouraging us to pray “with complete confidence” as Martin Luther says in the Small Catechism.

When Martin Luther became a father himself his understanding of God as parent expanded, because Luther was amazed by the depth and intensity of his own love for his children.  If you are a parent, have you ever thought about how the depth of your love for your children could inform your understanding of God’s love for you?

For some among us, the image of Parent stirs up painful images because our earthly parents may have harmed or neglected us.  In this prayer we are invited to consider how the attributes of God as provider, protector, encourager are the attributes of parental love that every child deserves.  What a gift that Jesus reveals in this prayer that God longs to relate to us as beloved children.

When Jesus says God’s name is “hallowed” he is simply saying that God’s name is holy.  In the small Catechism Martin Luther reminds us that God’s name is holy in and of itself.  We do not make God’s name holy, but when we pray this part of the prayer we ask that we would keep it holy.  Luther reminds us that we keep God’s name holy when we live our lives according to God’s Word.  In other words, we honor God’s name and keep it holy when we model our lives after Jesus.

By teaching us to begin our prayer in this way, Jesus sets the tone.  Prayer is an invitation into intimacy and relationship with God.   Because of this, prayer is a tremendous resource for us as we navigate life.

What does it mean to you that God invites you to pray in this way?  What images come to mind when you think of God as a loving parent?

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