Prayer From A Father’s Perspective

Recently I was preparing to give a devotional to our elder board on the subject of prayer, and as I was preparing, a thought jogged across my mind: 

“If my Heavenly Father is anything like I am as a dad, then He must love prayer time more than I do.” 

Think about it. When you and your Jr. High son go to the baseball game, which enjoys the time together more? Who is more blessed after a Skype call, you or your college-age daughter? Who is more grateful after a long walk under the stars, you or your 16 year old girl? Who is more touched after your young adult daughter talks your ear off about her latest crush? 

Yes, I have four kids, three daughters and one son. Four distinct stages of life … a college grad, college student, high school junior, and middle school eighth grader. I know the answer to the questions above as I most certainly am the one with greater joy than my kids when we spend time together. Let’s face it, I love my dad and spending time with him is great, but nothing compares to the joy I receive in spending time with my own children. 

So why would God be any different? He is “Abba,” Daddy. He is relational. He is love itself.

Today with cell phones, face time, texting, Skype and the like, my kids are just a push of a button away. I can’t imagine the pain of some parents being estranged from their children for one reason or another. My heart would ache to indescribable proportions if my kids didn’t want to talk to me or spend time with me. And God’s heart must ache over His children who are just a prayer away from contact, yet they never call. 

As I think about prayer from a father’s perspective, I realize this about my own role as dad … I love to spend time with my kids. I love to rescue my kids. I love to teach my kids. I love to protect my kids. I love to laugh with my kids. I love to provide for my kids. That’s part and parcel to what it means to be a dad. 

So why would God be any different? He is our Heavenly Father, you know. 

I’ve had the 2:00 a.m. call from a distraught college daughter 1,000 miles away. Did I tell her to call back tomorrow when I was awake? Of course not, because I’m a dad, and dads don’t do that. I’ve had the cry for rescue from a daughter because her car broke down. Did I tell her too bad, I’m busy? Of course not, because I’m a dad, and dads don’t do that. I’ve been asked to go for a long drive late at night so my daughter could work through her anxieties. Did I tell her that I’ve had a long day so it will have to wait until tomorrow? Of course not, because I’m a dad, and dads don’t do that. I’ve had my son ask me to help him with his history homework during Monday Night Football. Did I tell him to go ask his mother because I’m watching the game? Well … maybe. Okay, so I’m not perfect!!!

Dad’s love to help their kids, protect their kids, provide for their kids, and, when appropriate, rescue their kids. That’s what a dad does. 

And that is what God does too. 

A friend of mine recently said to me, “I love to hear you talk about your kids because you always light up when you mention them.”

And that is what God does too.

If we could just get a glimpse of how much joy God gets by spending time with us, His children, and talking with us, it would change our prayer life, and change it drastically. You might ask, “Do you mean that God isn’t always mad at us? Are you saying that God doesn’t want us to stay in the timeout corner for the rest of our lives for the bad things we have done? Do you mean that God cares about us, His children?”

Yes, that’s what I mean. He enjoys His children. He laughs when we laugh and cries when we cry. He is there for us, each step of the way, and He delights in us. Think of that! Our Heavenly Father delights in us! 

(Excuse me, but I must interrupt this writing because I just got an out-of-the-blue text from my college daughter that simply read “I Lub You .” Yes, the spelling is correct as that is her unique love language. And, well, those three words just made my day as a dad. So now, where was I?)

Jesus got upset with His disciples when they tried to keep the kids away from Him. The grown-ups were fighting over grown-up issues. They wanted to rank each other and find out who would be greatest in Christ’s kingdom. A worthy fight, eh? And Jesus, to give perspective to these adults, pulls a young child to His side and says to the self-centered adults, …

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)  

Children love to hang out with their daddy. They sprint to him when he picks them up from school. They invite him to their elementary classroom to read the weekly story. They beg him to be the coach of their team. They talk his ear off about school and friends and monsters and trucks and monster trucks. And the loving dad can’t get enough of his adoring kids.

And that is how God is too.

So, next time you get ready to shoot up a prayer, think about it from a father’s perspective. God the Father wants to hear from you. He loves you. He delights in you. He laughs when you laugh and rejoices when you rejoice. He is proud of your accomplishments. He is compassionate with your tears. He is quick to forgive, and swift to rescue. He is willing to provide what you need. And He’s never too busy for you; even though last I looked He had a lot on His plate.