As I was sat in church last Sunday morning, enjoying the opportunity to relax and be in the congregation for a change, we reached the part of the service that is included every week, a part that is so well known that we don’t really need the words to be provided—the Lord’s Prayer.
There is always a risk that these wonderful words are so well known to us that we might say them almost without thinking about them. To trot them out parrot-fashion in a way that lessens them somehow. As I sat there last Sunday, speaking these oh-so-familiar words, I found myself thinking of them in a different way—thinking of them in the context of parenting a child with additional or special needs. I’ve thought about it a bit more since, and so here’s where I got to. I hope you find it helpful!
Our Father in heaven, “Father,” it’s great that I can call you that. My son James can say “Daddy.” It’s one of the few words he can say, but when he says it, it just melts my heart. Is that what happens when I say “Father” to you? I think it is, because I know you love me even more than I love my son, and that’s A LOT!
hallowed be your name, Hallowed means holy, sacred, and yet you care about me and you clear up after me when I make a mess, which is a lot of times. Parenting a child with additional needs, I know what clearing up mess can be like and how it sometimes feels, but you clean me up and sort me out time and time again. Never minding, always loving.
your kingdom come, Sometimes, through the beautiful look on my son’s face as we pray, or the light in his eyes as I gently sing “Jesus loves me, this I know…” to him, with him joining in with “Yes!” Jesus loves “Me!” I see a tiny glimpse of heaven as your Holy Spirit ministers to him, your kingdom alive in him. Thank you!
your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Whatever your will is for us, let it be done. However you want to work in us, through us, to share your will with others, we want that too. Use the journey we are on, the good stuff and the challenging stuff, to help, support and inspire others. Let us always serve you.
Give us today our daily bread. You always give us what we need, more than we need. Our daily bread is all those things that sustain us, and that includes much more than food. Our daily bread includes the joys, the delights, the thrills of additional needs parenting, filling us up and nourishing our minds, bodies and souls for when a harder day comes, giving us reserves to draw upon when we need them. You sustain us in every way.
Forgive us our sins And there are so many… So many times when we say, think and do things that we know we shouldn’t… Days when we walk into a poo smeared room and swear before we can stop ourselves. Days when we are so tired that we just sink into self-pity and think once again “why me?”
as we forgive those who sin against us. And this can be so hard! But we must forgive the person who is sneering at our child while s/he is having a meltdown; or the person who is offering us their uninvited opinions on our parenting ability. Forgive the Social Worker who has just told us our respite care has had to be cancelled; forgive those who would take away much needed financial support… If we can’t forgive, bitterness and resentment fills the void. As we forgive, so we receive release from these negative, life-draining emotions, being filled instead with God’s grace and love.
Lead us not into temptation Oh, and it’s so easy to be tempted as well. Temptation to be economical with the truth when filling in applications for much needed financial support. Temptation to find comfort and temporary satisfaction in unhealthy or inappropriate ways, just to feel better about life for a few brief moments. Temptation to say to someone what we actually think about them and their opinions when they just don’t get it (see "forgive" above!).
but deliver us from evil. Yes Lord, save us, because all of the lack of forgiveness we might be harbouring, the falling to temptation that we might be doing, comes from the enemy. Help us not to give the enemy any power over us; especially don’t let the enemy use our family, our child with additional needs, as a way to get to us. Let us remember the truth in the words of this song, “Christ alone, Cornerstone, weak made strong in the Saviour’s love. Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.”
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours It’s all yours, all for you. We pray that you will give us what you know we need, equipping us so that we can serve you and others, and through serving give honour and glory to you and your kingdom. Use our life journey, our family experiences, our passion, our knowledge, which all comes from you, for the benefit of others.
now and for ever. Amen. Eternity has started already. New life has begun. Help us not to waste a second but to make it all count. As James is able to say… “A-men!” :-)
To find out more about how Mark and his work can help you, contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org @Mark_J_Arnold