for fathers NOT in heaven (“harassed” is our name)

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.” – Luke 11 (NLT)

The Lord’s Prayer:

WFPC
WFPC

Wednesday evening at church (after an amazing fellowship dinner prepared by our director of food ministries), my men’s small-group Bible-study met to talk about another chapter from Luke’s telling of the Jesus Story.

The focus was prayer. What is prayer? How do we pray? And what can we learn from Jesus? Naturally, we concentrated on The Lord’s Prayer, and the guys shared several powerful stories from their own experience, and how God continues to challenge them to be more deliberate – and personal – in their relationship with Him.

GUIDE: Christ’s words to the disciples make for a powerful guide, and they comprise a practical outline that often helps to keep me on track. I have copied out, paraphrased, and rewritten this prayer many times in my personal devotional life.

Then yesterday – likely because several of the guys are parents of young children – one of my more humorous renditions came to mind. I couldn’t find my original, but I did remember enough to re-write it for the group.

Several of the men asked for a copy. So, here it is; I hope you enjoy:

The Lord’s Prayer for Dads

– We’re the fathers who aren’t in heaven, “Harassed” is our name.

– Our kids won’t come; our will’s not done – not here on earth, not at home, nor at school, nor at the market when we’re trying to pick up groceries, not on the playground… just maybe in our imaginations.

– We need to cut back some on our daily bread, and we’re up to our eyeballs not only in debt, but in trespasses and sin (all three versions apply).

– Lead us not in to temptation, but deliver us from pizza (and Crispy-Cream donuts, and beer, and chips, and the Sports-Illustrated Swimsuit Edition).

– For we have no Kingdom, and no Power, and the closest we come to Glory is the vicarious kind we strive after via our kids’ performances in Elite Soccer and Little League baseball.

– Forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever… at least until they go off to college…

– And, Lord, please save us from arrested development, 25-year-olds still living at home, and perpetual parenthood – Amen (by Derek Maul – with apologies to the original author, J.C.)

TOGETHER: Laughter aside – and most of this is only funny because it’s so spot-on true – our entire conversation was in actuality a long, corporate prayer that lasted over an hour.

Gathering together with a few friends and talking about faith, especially when we have the conversation in the context of scripture, is a form of conversational prayer, and it is one where Jesus has a chair at the table.

IMG_0398Again, all I can do is to tell God, “Thanks,” and realize how blessed I am – DEREK

PS – Check out the new Wake Forest Presbyterian Church website, rolled out this week – www.wakeforestpres.org

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