In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Matthew 6:9 (NKJV)
So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Luke 11:2 (NKJV)
Many Christians know that the key to feeling close to God and hearing from Him is through the opportunity and gift of having a personal relationship with Him.
Though we may see God in different roles in our lives at different times, many of us enjoy a “primary” relationship designation with Him. Some see Him primarily as their best friend, some as a guide and comforter, and the list goes on. In my personal relationship with God, I see Him “primarily” as a Father; my father. And the longer I am a mother, a parent, the more I see His parental role in my life, and the more I see how much of a spiritual child I really am. Let me tell you a story…
In 1994, my family relocated from our home in the Windy City to Kansas City. You must understand that in 1994, the Chicago Bulls were ruling the NBA, and Michael Jordan, who had just come out of retirement, was king. To say we were huge Bulls fans is like saying Romeo liked Juliet. That year, as the holidays approached, all my middle son Cameron wanted for Christmas, was an authentic Bulls sweat suit. From the falling leaves of Thanksgiving, through the first blanket of snow in December, every few days he made sure to give us not so subtle reminders. Little did he know however, that I had already alerted the grandparent squad back home, and the sweat suit arrived in Kansas City well before Halloween.
Two days before Christmas break, the kids and I were at Wal-Mart shopping for Christmas gifts for their teachers. And yes, it was a madhouse! As we were walking down the aisles, Cameron’s radar went off and his eagle-eyes spotted a red and black sweat suit in the boy’s section…
“Mom, mom, C’mere for a minute, I HAVE to show you something!”
Never a sentence you want to hear from your kid in Wal-Mart! I went to see what it was, and alas, it was “a” red and black sweat suit that “looked like” the authentic one he wanted; that “looked like” the authentic one I had ALREADY got for him, but it wasn’t time for him yet to receive it!
“I know it’s not the REAL one, but it’s looks just like it, can I have it? Can we get it today?? Please, please, pleeeeeease?”
Yeah, every parent knows that song. But ironically, what really struck me, both truthfully and shamefully, was not his begging or behavior, but seeing, for the first time, though quieter and less animated, the identical behavior I had exhibited time and time again in my relationship with my Holy Father. And just as Cameron’s gift was already tucked away in a spare closet without his knowledge, there had been many occasions where it turned out that He, my Father, already had my blessing, my relief, my gift, or my answered prayer, quietly tucked away as well, but during my whining, begging, and pouting, it was not yet time for ME to receive it. But in the right time, in His time, as always, both the blessing and the timing always turned out to be perfect.
So many, many times, I had been willing to settle for what “looked like” the authentic thing; just so I could have “something”.
I’m sure that until Cameron is a father himself, he will never understand the smile that came across my face in the midst of his articulate, yet thwarted negotiations. But my heart was so full of love for him, and for Him, and so full of gratefulness and gratitude to God for showing me the kind of child I had the tendency to be, that all I could do was smile.
Of course, like my Father tells me from time to time, I too told my son, “No”, while knowing all along, that I already had a plan he didn’t know about. That I already had what his heart desired set aside for him, and not what his impatience turned his heart away from, and what he was now willing to settle for. That I knew that the thrill of the “fake” sweat suit would eventually fade; that it would bring him temporary happiness, but never joy. I knew what Cameron didn’t know; I knew the best was yet to come.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:11 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
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