This is part of a series of devotions reflecting on the lines of the Lord’s Prayer with an eye toward themes of justice and reconciliation. Explore more entries in this devotional series.
Additional Scripture: Romans 8:14-16
T he loud and crowded bakery quickly quieted at the sound of my four-year-old daughter’s sweet voice. We had bought a doughnut and milk and sat down to eat together. We held hands, bowed our heads, and she prayed the words of the “Our Father,” also known as the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t think the words were actually discernible, but the meter and intonations were clear. She had heard the prayer every Sunday in church, and she knew it well. This prayer that crosses cultures, generations, and denominations, prayed in full gratitude now for the big chocolate donut before her, was clearly identified by all present that morning. The busy bakery was transformed into a holy sanctuary, be it ever so briefly, by the naming of our Father.
Jesus taught his disciples (Luke 11 account) and his followers (Matthew 6) what is now known as the Lord’s Prayer, instructing them to cry out to God—Pater (“Father” in Latin), Abba (“Daddy” in Aramaic). In this, Jesus declares our share in his status as Son. Paul sees in this address, Abba (or “dear Father”), clear evidence we are adopted through Jesus Christ into one family with one Father. Every tribe, every nation, and every generation in one family. Our Father. In this relationship, we are daughters and sons. We are adopted into one great big family. The church is the embodiment of this; we are not an only child. We are not alone. Jesus did not teach us to say, my Father. It is not just “me and God” or “you and God”; it is “us—children—and God.”
In Texas, we would say, “All y’all’s God, hear our prayer.” Or, “Come to the altar; come y’all on bended knee and call out, ‘Father!’” This is a fulfillment of the prophecy in 2 Samuel 7:14: “I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.” One Father, countless children, one big family of God.
Prayer: Padre nuestro, our Father, thank you for calling each of us to you together to be the family of God. Now on earth and in heaven, Lord, may we be one. Through your glory, may we be one with God and one with each other, even as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. Bring us to complete unity so that the world may see, know, and believe. Lord, as we work to live this prayer, this vision, lead us; transform our hearts, our minds, our very eyes to see, love, and live as you have taught us. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Rev. Dr. Andrea Godwin-Stremler
The Reverend Doctor Andrea Godwin-Stremler is a pastor in the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and a licensed therapist. Currently, she serves as CEO of New Revelations College Ministries, a ministry of Central Plains Classis, which she and her husband, Ted, are planting in Northern Texas, forming leaders actively engaged as Christ’s presence in the world.
She pastored churches in Michigan and Nevada before she and her family moved to Germany for her husband to serve as Army chaplain. During the Army “chapter” of their ministry life, she served in senior executive positions with families and soldiers in the Army Chaplaincy in Europe and the USA, provided counseling services to soldiers and their families, supervised chaplains training as counselors, and pastored a Filipino National church in Hawaii.
She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Western Theological Seminary, the RCA/CRC Disability Concerns Advisory Team, and the RCA Restructuring Team. She is married to retired Army Chaplain COL Ted Godwin-Stremler. They have two daughters and four granddaughters.