Matthew 6: 7-9
7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven,
20 So he got up and went to his Father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his Father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
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When Jesus taught his disciple to pray starting with the words, “Our Father in heaven…” he was introducing a radical idea. Jewish people did not call God Father. God was the great I am, the holy and mighty God, the God of power, law, and righteousness. The Apostle Paul, later helped to further expound on Jesus’ approach to God as Father when he stated that it is by God’s Spirit that we understand God as our “Abba” or Daddy because we have been adopted as sons and daughters into His family. By teaching that God is our Father and specifically a Father who wants us to know He is our Daddy, Jesus and Paul are communicating a new and profound idea about the kind of relationship, God wants with us. Because of what Christ has done for us, we can enter into a personal, intimate, and loving relationship with the God who is both mighty and tender. The Bible says that even God’s discipline is an act of Fatherly love toward us as His children that He delights in. It is truly amazing to think of and relate to God in this way and is unique to the Christian faith.
However, too many Christians don’t understand the Father heart of God and His true compassion and love for His children. This can be true in part, because so many people, Christians included, have not grown up with their Father in the home, or perhaps had a difficult or hurtful relationship with him. In addition to the important spiritual influence of good fathers, research shows the tragic impact of father absence, either emotionally or physically, on children, especially boys and young men. Indeed, the absence of fathers and their support and relationship with their children underlies many significant problems in society that you will encounter as a social worker. As you work with others, you will see and hear the echoes of these hurts and losses in a variety of symptoms and conditions in individuals and communities.
As you reflect on the Father heart of God this week, consider how He ordained men to reflect his character of both strength and tender love as fathers in the lives of children. How might you as a social worker help to address the father brokenness in families and the lives of children?
Father, God, thank you for the privilege of calling you, my Father. Even more, for the blessing of calling you Daddy. Thank you for caring for me with tenderness, for delighting in me, and for your love that faithfully disciplines me so that I might receive greater blessing and know you more. Where I am confused, misguided or lack understanding of your true character as my Father, reveal yourself to me. In Jesus name, Amen.