From Praying the Names of God Week Twenty-Six, Day Three
Though the Old Testament provides many rich names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals him most fully. Jesus, in fact, shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father/Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce. Furthermore, by inviting his followers to call God "Father," he made this the primary name by which God is to be known to his followers. That's why we can boldly pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, "Our Father who art in heaven..."
While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
PRAYING THE NAME
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish . . . no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Praise God: For his promise to watch over you.
Offer Thanks: For the gift of eternal life.
Confess: Any failure to take the risks that faith requires.
Ask God: For the grace to see yourself as his child.
Not long ago, I took my children to a circus billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth." We loved the pageantry and pomp of this threering circus, whose talented performers never failed to entertain. I particularly enjoyed the trapeze artists, especially when they performed with a net stretched out beneath them. Without it I found myself preoccupied by the possibility that even a slight mistake might produce fatal results. The tension I felt made it hard to relax as I watched them flying through the air with the greatest of ease.
Afterward, it occurred to me that those who belong to God have an even better safety net, one that never wears out and that prevents them from making fatal spiritual mistakes. Scripture reminds us of this truth by assuring us that "underneath are the everlasting arms." God is cradling us, keeping us safe for an eternity lived in his presence. Sigmund Freud once wrote that one of the strongest needs of childhood is the need for a father's protection. Fortunately, even those of us whose earthly fathers failed to provide this sense of security can experience God's faithful fatherly protection.
Knowing that the Father will keep our souls safe means we can put our energy not into building up our sense of self but into building up his kingdom. Secure in his arms, we can learn to take the risks that faith requires. If you have been playing it safe, resisting some new direction in your life that you know to be right, take some time today to meditate on God's faithfulness. Tell him you want his will more than you want your own. Then go ahead and do whatever the Father asks!
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.