Morning Prayer Summary for Thursday, May 23, 2024

Morning Chapel Prayer Playlist
Morning Chapel Prayer Today

Pastor Heather…

Good morning, everybody. It’s always a good day to be in the house of the Lord. Whether you’re here in person or online, we welcome you.

Some of you know my story…

My biological dad was not a part of my life for reasons we won’t talk about today. But throughout my life, my mom was married three times. By the time she settled with my dad, who was technically my stepdad. But I call him my dad because for the most part he raised me. By that time I was already in grade school, and so the things that I thought about myself, the things that I thought about fathers, about men, most of that had already really been formed in my heart. And up until that point, men were people that couldn’t be trusted. Fathers were people that couldn’t be trusted. And that was the opinion that I had formed just because of my experience.

My stepdad loved me the best he could…

And my dad had two daughters from a previous marriage. My stepsisters. I don’t like the word “step” because we really all loved each other the best we knew how… our little blended family. And I would watch them go sit on his lap and let him hug them and love them. And I wanted that. But I was also very scared. I was hurt. A lot had happened to me to cause me to mistrust people. And I know that he was trying to honor my boundaries and he knew that that was uncomfortable for me. But he loved me the best that he could. And slowly we learned to trust each other and build a relationship. And I love him so much. And like I said, he’s a good dad. He did the best he could.

A thing called “duck walks…”

But since I was this awkward grade-school kid going into preteens, the way he would show his affection is we had a thing called Duck Walks. And I felt the Lord wanted me to share this. But I would stand on his feet and he would hug me. And then we would walk through the kitchen. [Making quacking sounds] I would be stepping on his feet and we’d laugh. And it wasn’t till a little while ago that the Lord showed me, that was his way of loving me, hugging me, holding me in a way that I was comfortable and trusted. And we made light of it, but I looked forward to those times.

Duck walks with the Father…

And I think some of you are needing to do a Duck Walk with the Father God. You just need to let Him walk you around and step on His feet and let Him show you how to be loved again. Take those walks with Him. Take those steps with Him as He holds you close. He’s so faithful and He can be trusted more than any earthly father.

And so maybe you’re out there and you’re watching… and you don’t know how to be loved by a father. You don’t know what that is supposed to look like because of things that happened in your past like me. And we learned to love each other. We learned to hug. We learned to say, “I love you,” and kiss goodnight, and all those things. But it took me so long to get there because of many reasons. But I slowly had to open my heart and trust. I had to do that with my dad. And I had to learn to do that with my Heavenly Father too. Because I wanted to continually put the faces of these men that weren’t in the place they were supposed to be in my life. They weren’t my protectors. They weren’t covering me. They weren’t showing me my love, showing me my identity. And that’s a really important role of a father.

Preconceived ideas about what a father is…

And so I had all these preconceived notions and ideas of what a father is or what a man is. And it took God a long time to rewire those thoughts. But He has. And I’m thankful. And He still is showing me facets of His love that I don’t fully understand. But I know that I can trust Him. He’s faithful. He’s good. He’s not a man that He would leave us. He’s not a man that He would hurt us. He’s God. And he’s a Father, and He’s a loving, loving Father. And He really had to retrain me and show me I can trust Him, and I still have tendencies to protect and to think I know better. And I can do this. And “I’ll show you I got this” and “Look what I can do all by myself.” He’s going, “I don’t want you to do it by yourself.” So then He brings me close and step on my feet. Quack, quack… Let’s walk this out together.

This all sounds silly, but I felt led to share that and it was such an impactful part of my life, learning that people can be trusted. But more importantly, God as our Father can be trusted, and He loves us so much.

The enemy is trying to break the family unit…

And so if you maybe have a past like I did and you didn’t have a relationship with your Father or maybe your relationship was very difficult, and I think it is very obvious that the enemy today is trying to break down that family unit. You see more and more absent fathers, more single moms. And it’s a strategy because the father has such an important role in shaping identity, trust. He’s our covering. He’s our protector. All those things.

See yourself leaning back on the Father…

And so I’d like us to sing, “lean back again.” And I think as you’re singing that, see yourself leaning back on your father because He’s worthy, He’s trustworthy, He’s faithful. He’s never going to leave you. He’s never going to forsake you. And He wants us to be able to surrender and trust Him. We don’t have to do life on our own. We shouldn’t be doing life on our own. We really should be stepping on His feet and walking with Him every step of the way and letting Him hold us and embrace us and give Him everything that we need. Because anytime we try to run off, there’s some reasons there. Whether it be fear, whether it be pride, whether it be whatever… you fill in the blank. Everybody has their reasons. Anytime we try to run ahead of God and make things happen… It’s in our flesh. And He’ll still love us and He’ll still bless it if He can. But then other times, we have to kind of learn and come back and go, “Okay, let’s do it your way now. Because your way’s better.” Because His way is always better. And He’ll go through and do things in your heart and in your life when you learn that trust, when you learn to stay in step with Him, when you learn to walk at His pace on His feet instead of your own and knowing that He equips you. And there’s nothing you have to prove. You’re already a daughter, you’re already a son. You don’t have to prove it. You don’t have to prove your worth.

You don’t have to prove your worth…

And that was a big thing for me: proving my worth. “Look what I can do. Look what I did by myself. I don’t need help. I don’t need people. I can do this all on my own.” I can’t! You can’t! We’re not made to. We’re made to be sons and daughters of God. And He equips us. And we’re made to be in community with people too because people bring those blessings.

Remove the guard from over your heart…

And I’ve learned through life that I can guard my heart from hurt but I’m also guarding my heart from blessings, from love. You can’t just pick and choose when you have a guard over your heart. You won’t feel the pain, but you also will have a hard time feeling His love. And so learning to trust that He’s faithful, learning to say “You are worthy of my trust. You are worthy of my heart. You are worthy of my worship, my adoration, because you’re a good, good God. And whatever my experience is, whatever my mind is wired to think, you can rewire that. You can change that. You can come in and do a work in me and show me how to be loved and how to receive a Father’s love. And how to be a daughter… how to be a son.”

Some of you don’t know. He’ll show you. And that’s my prayer always: “Show me how to be a daughter. Show me how to be fathered. I don’t know how to be fathered. Show me.” And He does. And He’s faithful and He’s gentle and He’s so good. But He wants all of our heart, not just parts of it. He wants all of it.

And the sooner we can trust Him with all of that, the sooner He can come in and make our hearts whole, make our lives whole. He’s literally gone in and rewritten memories for me. He is my Father. He is the one that’s protecting me. He is the one that gave me my name. He is the one that gave me my identity. And though I can’t go into my youngest past and see that figure there, I can see Him there. He’s a father to the fatherless and He was there instilling identity. He was there wooing my heart when I didn’t know who He was. And He was doing the same for you.

So let’s sing that again and just worship from your heart and really see Him holding you, see yourself leaning back. God gave us an imagination for a reason. It’s powerful. So you see yourself leaning back on that Father, how much He loves you. And let Him show you some things and you start speaking out some things in your life.

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