How do you pray during difficult times?

By Simon Hawking

When my eldest son was a baby, my wife and I visited an NCT sale. This is where parents can bring all their unused ‘nearly new’ baby things for a ‘bring and buy’ style sale.

With my son strapped to my chest, I picked up some interesting baby grows. Scanning the busy room full of bargain-hunting mums, I spotted my wife and clumsily called out to her; “Mummy!”

The room became silent, as thirty women who go by the same name stopped and looked up at me, wondering if I was talking to them.

“Oops, I meant that Mummy,” I explained to the room, with some laughs and a few frowns. Of course, my wife thought it was hilarious.

Mummy and Daddy, in whatever language, must be two of the most common names to call someone. Some of us go by those names ourselves. And the vast majority of us will have someone in mind at the mention of these names.

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Which is why the first part of the Lord’s Prayer is funny to me.

Someone asked Jesus, “how do I pray?”

He starts by saying:

Our Father in Heaven

Hallowed be your Name.

The word he used for ‘Father’ was ‘Abba’. Translation: Daddy.

Hallowed mean’s Holy, translation: Set apart, or… different.

So you could read the start of the Lord’s prayer as; “Daddy, your name is different to all other names.”

Which is funny because half of humanity has the potential to carry that name! It’s not very different, is it?

But just as I had said at that NCT sale, ‘I meant that Mummy’, when we pray we start by saying; God, you’re not just any Daddy, you’re that Daddy.

The idea is that our prayers are not just formal greetings we send through the ethereal post to a remote being. They are intimate conversations with someone who knows us like a parent knows their child.

This helps us a lot when we ask; how do I pray?

Your world might feel fragile at the moment. You may have anxieties about difficult days. When you’re not sure where to turn or what to say and you think about trying prayer, you don’t have to do anything other than say, ‘Dad, can I tell you about something.’

Everyone has a different experience of connecting with their Dad. But my personal experience is that you find a good listener in that Daddy.

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