Summary: In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is not only teaching us the model on how to pray but also how to be a good parent
(Notice to reader: For the second time, I was again touch and bless by the Daily Devotional, Purpose driven connection by Rick Warren. This time about parenting. For this reason, I am posting this lesson on this account. All credit to the original writer and the glory always belong to God)
PARENTING LESSONS TAKEN FROM THE LORD’S PRAYER
I. OVERCOMING INSECURITY
“Our father in heaven …” Matthew 6:9 (NIV)
The number one problem kids have growing up is insecurity. Our society is trained to compete and compare instead of co-operate. So from the moment a child is born, he or she is taught to compare everything – appearance, achievement, affluence, even athletic ability (remember gym class?).
What we need to teach children from an early age, even before they get into school, is: God is my father, he loves me unconditionally, and he will never stop loving me.
If our children can understand and absorb that truth then, when they are confronted with someone who wants to diminish their self-worth, they can have the confidence to say, “If God likes me and I like me, but you don’t like me, what’s your problem?”
Unfortunately, most kids don’t grow up with that kind of confidence. They grow up under the cloud of comparison, constantly asking, “What does everybody else think of me?”
That’s why it is important to teach children that God is their ultimate, heavenly Father. And they need to understand that God is not like some earthly dads they may have encountered.
So what kind of Father is God? He’s …
1. Caring. God is a caring Father who loves you and will never stop loving you. Some dads don’t care, but your heavenly Father cares about you all the time.
2. Close. God is a close Father. Some dads are distant, but your heavenly Father has promised, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT).
3. Consistent. God is a consistent Father. Some dads are fickle and moody, but your heavenly Father is never changing.
4. Capable. God is a capable Father. Some dads are like Homer Simpson; they can’t do anything. But your heavenly Father is capable, able to do all things.
When you teach your children that God is their Father and they choose to become his children, then the issue of insecurity is settled because they will understand that they are loved by the person who controls the universe. And that puts everything else, even dodge ball, into perspective.
II. HONORING GOD
“…hallowed be your name …” Matthew 6:9 (NIV)
In biblical times, your name represented your character. And, as you study the Bible, you’ll see that God has many names, each representing a benefit of what God promises to do you in your life.
For instance, Jehovah Jireh means “God will provide everything I need.” Jehovah Shalom means “God will be my peace.” And Jehovah Tsidkenu means “God will be my righteousness.”
Over and over in scripture, every name for God represents a basic problem, threat, or emotional illness you have in your life that God can take care of. He is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful) and is “worthy to receive all glory and honor” (Revelation 4:11 NIV).
But one of the most violated commandments in our society today is number four: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7 NKJV). Our society constantly takes the name of the Lord in vain. We hear it so often it doesn’t even offend us anymore. But it should! It bothers God.
I grew up in a family where we were not allowed to use God’s name in vain, but we also weren’t allowed to use the subtle derivatives that are so common – gosh, jeez. I bet you didn’t even realize those are derivatives of God and Jesus. But my parents were firm that we not take God’s name in vain and that we wouldn’t even get close to it because they knew how serious it was to disrespect God in that way.
If we teach our children that God is able to meet all of our needs, then shouldn’t we also be teaching them to honor and respect him? His name included? He not only commands it, he deserves it.
III. CREATING STABILITY
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV)
Study any psychological test and they’ll tell you the most insecure place for a kid to be is at the center of his or her family – controlling all the strings, getting their way in everything.
Kids instinctively know they do not belong in the center of the family; it creates great insecurity in their lives. Where kids find stability and security is in having boundaries. This is true from the moment they are born. We take little babies and wrap them up tightly. It’s called swaddling and being tightly bound gives the baby a feeling of security.