About a dozen years ago, I and some other community pastors had the opportunity to be on Cornerstone TV talking about some of what God was doing in our churches and our community. We were being interviewed by Ben Kinchlow. For those of you who don’t know Ben Kinchlow he used to be a regular on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson. Ben’s a very striking person. He is a large African-American man with silver hair. The show was on at 8:00pm and Lynn had gathered the kids around the TV waiting for Dad to show up. She’d spent a little bit of time explaining to Josh (he was about 2 or 3) that Daddy was going to be on TV. “Just watch the TV, here it comes Josh, it’s starting, watch for Daddy… ”
And then as the show starts Ben Kinchlow fills the screen. Josh looked at the screen…looked at Lynn…looked back at the screen and said, “Thaaaat’s my daaaad?” Lynn couldn’t resist…She said, “Ya Joshy that’s your dad.” He looked back at the TV and said, “Oh…okay.”
Now I’ve heard that TV adds about 20 pounds but there is just something wrong about a son being that confused about who his dad is. Do you know your dad?
Father’s Day this weekend. For many people Father’s Day is a tough day. Maybe you never knew your father. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, 24 million children in the US are growing up without a father in the home. Maybe you wish you never knew your father. All sorts of questions go through minds. Where can I find a father to fill the void left by the dad I never knew? How can I erase the pain? Am I doomed to be like him? Is it in my DNA?
Others have different struggles. A son or daughter that doesn’t want to know you… making bad choices, or a dad who used to be so vital and aware, fix anything, great advice, your #1 fan for life. Now you just hope he recognizes you and remembers your name when you visit him this afternoon. Do you know your dad?
Jesus did. You can’t read long in the gospels without getting the feeling that if there was one thing that Jesus knew…it was the Father. Listen to some of his words..
– John 5:19 The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does the same.
– John 14:11 I am in the Father and the Father is in me.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray he said, “Ok, when you pray…say Father. ”
So how do we get to know our Father God? Prayer is one of the keys. Ever since my first year as a pastor I’ve been on this prayer journey — sometimes more, sometimes less — but always knowning in my heart that somehow it was key to living an uncommon life. We will never really… be truly connected to, truly filled with God, without prayer. Without prayer something will always be missing.
What does knowing my dad have to do with prayer? Bing Hunter writes in his book on prayer…
We tend to view prayer as a process of gathering information about God and practicing certain techniques. But prayer is interpersonal communication between two individuals. In scripture it matters far less how, when, and what you say, as it does how well you know Him to whom you pray. The foundation, the heart of prayer is knowing God.
I love how J.I. Packer puts it,
The invariable fruit of… knowledge of God is energy to pray…. and the more knowledge, the more energy! — (no energy) is a sure sign that as yet we scarcely know our God.
Do you know your dad? Do you have energy to pray?