Too flip or just right?

By Kenneth D. MacHarg

The first time I heard our friend pray, I was surprised, and perhaps a little shocked.

I had always begun my prayers by addressing God as “Our Father”, or “Almighty God” or some such phrase that described Him as all-powerful, almighty, all-sovereign.

But our friend began her prayers simply with “Father Dear.”

Father Dear? That’s different, isn’t it? For me, at first hearing, it was a little, well, too personal, too flip, too casual, too informal.

Father Dear. It certainly makes you think.

Eventually I came to realize that perhaps what we are missing in our prayers is that level of personal contact, of familiarity with our sovereign, all-powerful, all-knowing God who came to live among us in human form, knowing our desires and our frustrations, our faith and our doubt, our accomplishments and our sin.

And, I eventually realized that what we need is not only an affirmation of God’s power and sovereignty, but also an affirmation of his love, his care, his concern, his compassion, his forgiveness and his grace.

Perhaps, along with recognizing God’s might, we need to also recognize his tender care.

When we pray, we encounter an almighty God. An almighty God who is compassionate and forgiving and loving…and dear.

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He’s always near

In all the world around me I see His loving care
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair
I know that He is leading, through all the stormy blast
The day of His appearing will come at last

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian. Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find
None other is so loving, so good and kind

He lives He lives,  Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives He lives , Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart

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4 thoughts on “Too flip or just right?

  1. Ginny Cocanower says:

    Good article. I agree, sometimes I’m too stuffy in my prayers but it’s when I honestly tell him how I feel, then He is very close and personal.



  2. Jeff Siems says:

    Well said, Ken. One of our female elders often prays “Daddy” (Abba)–even publicly. Often my first reaction is the same as yours, but for the reasons you mentioned, I embrace it.


  3. This is only remotely related, but I remember a time, while working with Laotian refugees near Fort Worth, and English was, of course, their second language. We had called on one of them to pray, and he was hesitant, but one of our group told him that prayer was “talking to God,” no more.

    He prayed a sincere and simple prayer. At the end, he said, “Well, I guess that’s all I got right now. Have a good day!”


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