Adriana scraped the last crumbs of strawberry shortcake off her plate and glanced reflectively at her father. Would this be the right time to ask him for those new shoes she wanted? After that super dinner, now was probably as good a time as any.
Her words tumbled out. “Dad, may I have some new Converse sneakers? They’re the best shoes made. My old ones really look crummy, and Converse shoes last forever. I really need them. Please, Dad?”
Her dad looked up from his dessert, but before he could answer, Adriana’s mom spoke from the kitchen, “Adriana, would you please come here for a minute?”
Adriana picked up her plate and joined her mother. “Did you want some help with the dishes, Mom?”
“No, I just wanted to talk to you. Let’s sit down here at the table.
“When I heard you ask your dad for new shoes just now, it reminded me of the Lord’s Prayer.” Noticing Adriana’s puzzled frown, she continued, “That may seem strange, but bear with me and I think you’ll understand.
“When I was young I learned the Lord’s Prayer by heart. That is, I learned the words. It took me a bit longer to learn just what Jesus really was trying to teach us.”
“I learned it too, when I first started going to Sunday school,” Adriana said. “It means we can ask God for anything we need.”
“You’re right about that, Adriana. The Lord does want us to go to Him when we have needs. He said He would provide them. He will answer all our prayers, though sometimes His answer might be no. But how many words in the Lord’s Prayer ask for material needs?” Adriana’s mother inquired.
“Let’s see . . .” Adriana thought for a few minutes then said, “‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ There are seven.”
“That’s right. Seven out of how many?”
“Just a minute, Mom. I’ll have to get my Bible and count.” She dashed from the kitchen and returned a minute later. There was silence as she turned to Matthew 6 and counted the words. Then she said, “Seven out of sixty-five, Mom.”
“Now let’s look at what the other words say, Adriana. The first word, ‘Our,’ is very important. That means He has to be yours by personal experience. Second, it shows unity with others who can also call Him Father. What do you think ‘Hallowed be thy name’ means?”
Adriana thought for a moment. “Well, I guess that we should honor Him and keep His name holy.”
“That’s it exactly! Now, ‘Thy kingdom come.’ What kind of heart must we have to really mean that?”
“One that’s right with God. Otherwise we wouldn’t want Him to come, would we? That goes for the next part too, ‘Thy will be done,’” Adriana replied. “We already did ‘Give us this day.’ Next comes, ‘Forgive us our debts.’ That means we should confess when we’ve done wrong.”
“I’ll take the next one,” her mom said. “‘Lead us not into temptation.’ That means we can look to our heavenly Father to be our Guide.”
“‘For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen,’” they said in unison.
“You see, Adriana,” her mother said, closing the Bible, “only a small part of the Lord’s Prayer was asking for material needs. The other words show worship, thankfulness, and praise.
“Now let’s get back to your question for your dad. After all, that’s what got us started on this conversation. In fact, let’s look back over the past few months. How often do you sit down and talk to your dad? What do you talk about?”
“Oh, lots of things, Mom! Yesterday I told him about the neat new swimming suit I saw on sale. The night before, I was telling Dad about how much I wanted to go to the beach for our vacation this year. And we talked about my getting a longboard for my birthday, and . . .” Adriana’s voice trailed off into silence and a thoughtful look crossed her face. “Mom, it sounds like whenever I talk to Dad, I’m asking for something. Was that what you were trying to say?”
“That’s it, Adriana.”
Adriana was silent for a moment. Then she gave her mother a slow grin. “Well, I still want my Converse shoes. But I see why you made me count how many words in the Lord’s Prayer were asking for something. I know my conversation with my heavenly Father should be a lot more than just asking. I guess my talks with Dad should be too!”
Her mom smiled as she stood up from the table. “Yes, Adriana, the Lord gave us an important lesson in how to pray when He gave us the Lord’s Prayer as an example. But if we study it carefully, we can learn many things about our daily life too!”