Quite often I feel at a loss to know how to talk to God. How do I approach Him? What do I say to Him? What needs to be said?
I wasn’t born knowing how to pray. I wasn’t even born again knowing how to pray. I have to learn, and keep on learning, how to pray. And prayer–what to say to God–is best learned by learning about God, and about what He cares about.
That’s why Jesus is the master teacher on prayer: He understands what God cares about, and what we need from God. As the perfect union of deity and humanity, He is uniquely positioned to receive prayer as God, and offer prayer as a man.
Jesus knows how to talk to God.
Will God forgive me? Again?
I asked this a lot when I was a young Christian.
I was very uncertain about the answer.
[Illustration courtesy of Martin Bolchover Art & Illustration]
Sadly, I gave myself plenty of opportunities to ask the question; I am a frequent offender against God’s law, aka, a sinner.
Like the Apostle Paul, I know what it is to feel enslaved to the wrong I hate, and powerless to do the good I love (Romans 7:15). But neither Paul, nor I can trespass God’s law (slave to sin or not) without experiencing conscience-consequences: Shame. Guilt. Despair. Self-loathing.
For months, Dawn and I have talked about writing a series of advice posts about parenting. We’ve been through one strong-willed toddler, one semi-rebellious teen, and one very depressed middle-schooler, three kids in all. Our parenting journey includes some short-term government assistance, an unexpected and difficult career transition, several years of parenting while medicated, and miraculously, lots of joy-filled memories for all five of us.
[The Hetricks at the Mountain Farm, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, 2002.]
But, as I’ve struggled to summarize what we learned from experience in a simple, how-to-parent intro post, I finally decided that our 23 years of parenting experience can be boiled down to just these two words: