Dear God, or Oh Father?

I was reflecting today on the fact that small disciplines of careful word choice have dramatically–and often wonderfully–affected my life. Here’s an example:

I used to start my prayers with a formal “Dear God.” Which, for me, subtly implies:

  • Formality and distance
  • Praying is a tool
  • I’m going to ask for something, so I need God to come in line with my plans
  • My view of the world is fixed, and I’m at its center

I now often pray “Oh Father.” Which, for me, subtly implies:

  • Intimacy and proximity
  • Praying is a relief
  • I want to come in line with his plans, so I’m going to submit to his good purposes
  • My view of the world is changeable, and God is at its center

This is not a rule, but for me it’s a much better place to start. I must have read something that inspired this change somewhere along the line. If you can help me attribute it, thanks.

What about you? Have you ever intentionally chosen to use words differently to help your heart come into alignment with the kingdom?

March 21, 2012