Would You Treat Your Dad the Way You Treat God?

Written by Ryan Denison
Published on January 19, 2016

In a recent First 15, Craig Denison finished his thoughts on spending time with God by quoting Brennan Manning’s book The Furious Longing of God. In it Manning asks, “Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?”

As I contemplated those questions, God led me to ask one more: How would I feel if my daughter spent time with me for the same reasons I so often spend time with him? Essentially, how would I feel if my daughter only chose to be with me because she felt like she had to or in order to get something from me? What would it be like if the only time I spoke with her was when she needed something and resigned herself to the fact that there was no other way to get it?

The more I thought about how that would make me feel, the more it broke my heart. And if that’s true for us as parents, then it is all the more true of our heavenly Father.

That thought gave me a new perspective on spending time with God. It makes me never again want to approach him from a sense of obligation or necessity but rather from a place of love and a genuine longing to be with him. That’s what God wants and, more importantly, that’s what God deserves.

So take some time today to reflect on what leads you into God’s presence and then ask yourself how it would make you feel if your child came to you for the same reasons. How you answer that question says volumes about your relationship with God.

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Ryan Denison

Ryan Denison has written for Denison Forum on Truth and Culture since August, 2010. He is currently working on a PhD in Church History at B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and regularly contributes content to the Forum in addition to assisting Dr. Denison with his research. He and his wife have a young daughter and three pets (which might as well be kids).

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