Praying as God’s children

Images of God and the Lord’s Prayer


  • Ben Woodward-Breckbill Shalom Mennonite Church (Newton, Kansas)


Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6, Luke 11, image of God


In spoken prayer, humans are challenged to articulate an image of God. The variety of verbal images of God in Scripture is appropriate to the limits of human language and the variety of human experience of God. Every life situation may yield a new encounter with God and a new way of putting to words who God is. Each metaphor tells a story about how the one praying relates to God.

When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, he instructs them to address God as father. This metaphor tells a surprising story: that followers of Jesus relate to God as children to a parent. In this essay, I journey through the Lord’s Prayer, collecting biblical, theological, and ethical insights to explore Jesus’s rich verbal image of God.

Author Biography

Ben Woodward-Breckbill, Shalom Mennonite Church (Newton, Kansas)

Ben Woodward-Breckbill is a spouse, a father of two young children, and a child of God. He is associate pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas. He is a graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Goshen College. He was once the page-turner for pianist Rohan de Silva at an Itzhak Perlman recital in Omaha, Nebraska.