It’s me, Katherine, your daughter.
I hope you remember me?
I’m your youngest child.
I have blue eyes and mouse-brown hair, except that I bleach it so it is looks blonde.
I am sorry to bother you this morning but I have a few matters to discuss with you if you have the time.”
What’s happenin’, dude?
Not sure if you’re really there or not but, hey, if you are, figured I should give my old man a shout out!
Not that I think you can really do anything about anything at all – but, you know, it seems like a nice thing to do to chat with you every once in a while and all…”
“Good morning, Dad!”
“Good morning, Daughter!”
“So Dad, I need new shoes, world peace, and some money to pay that unexpected bill. My friend is sick and she needs help, too. Not to mention my church and everything that is going on there. I am struggling to fit everything in to a day and I am worried about the future. So that’s it. Talk to you later!”
“Good morning, Daddy!”
“Good morning, Beloved.”
“Daddy, I just wanted to call this morning to tell you that I love you. You are so faithful and so very good. I am amazed at your character and your heart for me. You are an amazing Dad. Just wanted you to know.”
“I love you, too, sweetheart.”
“I wanted to say thanks, too, for the gifts you have given me! I loved the sunrise this morning and the bird that is singing right outside my window. You have given me so much, starting with the very fact that I am alive. I had a great day yesterday. Got to help some friends, make some new friends, and had the money to get some stuff I needed at Walmart. I saw Your hand all over my day and I am so grateful!”
“You are welcome, sweetheart. Is there anything I can do for you today?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, I do have some things I want to talk over with you. I need your insight and wisdom in a few areas. There are some people I love who need to get to know You, too. And then there are my siblings in this large family of Yours. I wanted to chat with you about some of what is happening with them, too.”
“I’m listening. Let’s talk.”
Four completely hypothetical phone conversations between Father and Daughter.
Four different takes on prayer.
Because prayer is simply me talking to my Heavenly Father. Of course, there is no phone involved. But imagining how I might talk to my (wonderful) earthly Dad on the phone – and how he might respond – helps me to correctly picture how I want to talk to my (perfect) heavenly Dad in prayer.
But because I cannot see Him and do not completely understand Him, I can fall into several traps.
I can forget that He knows me intimately and is passionately for me. When I do that, I treat Him with formality, not born of respect but a result of distance. Distance that I have created – not Him.
Or I can swing the other way and view Him as some sort of impotent elderly figure, worth a “shout out” but not worthy of respect, let alone praise.
A third option? Recognizing He is God but treating Him like some sort of cosmic vending machine. Prayer becomes simply a laundry list of my problems. And then I am frustrated when He doesn’t tick items off the “honey do list” I have given Him. So I work harder at being good, doing good, trying to earn some answers from Him. Or I swing the other way and give up on prayer, thinking, “It doesn’t work, so why bother?”
But then there is the fourth conversation.
Me talking to my Father who adores me.
Not because I am fabulous.
But because He is my Daddy.
And because I adore Him, the first thing I do is tell Him that.
Tell Him how grateful I am for Him.
For His character.
Who He is.
And then I am careful to thank Him for the specific things He has done for me.
Recognizing and acknowledging His fingerprints all over my life.
Lifting HIM up.
Not exalting my problems – not focusing first on all that is wrong. All that is bad. All that is frustrating, ugly and sad.
But instead, bringing those things to Him as my loving Dad.
And listening to His replies.
Those in my spirit, by His still small voice.
And those in His Word, already given to me.
Having a conversation.
Treating Him with all the respect that is due Him.
And acknowledging Who He is more than exalting my concerns.
Laying the issues and problems at His feet in perfect trust that He is God.
And that He is good.
And that everything He does is right.
Trusting Him with all my heart.
Leaning not on my dim perceptions of reality.
Believing that He will guide my path. My day. My decisions. My conversations.
If I will let Him.
He is a good, good Father.
Do I treat Him that way?
And a P.S. for some….
You may not have a great earthly Dad. So that makes these conversations even harder to imagine. But please remember this – Your heavenly Father is perfect and He loves you with His perfect love. He longs to be everything to you and for you that your earthly Dad was not. Run to His arms – He is always waiting, always ready to listen, always willing to guide you. Don’t believe me? I can’t prove it to you – but He can. Give Him a chance – I promise, He is worth the risk!