While the family was sitting around the dinner table, Jennifer, who is 5, turned to her brother Andy, who is 3, and pointed to her dad. "That's not your real father," she said, startling the whole family.

"Yes, he is!" Andy replied.

"No, he's not," Jennifer insisted. "God is your heavenly father."

Then pointing at her dad, she said, "That's your homely father!"

Well, I guess she had a point, didn't she. However being a "homely father," I might have phrased it just a little differently.

How many times throughout the years have you heard someone refer to God as "our heavenly father"? It's part of our lives and culture, especially when we pray.

Jesus started the idea when he was teaching his disciples what a prayer should be like. (Luke 11:2-4 NKJV) His response to their request was to offer this prayer model:

So He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

Let me tell you the problem I see with that prayer. It is that for years we have learned to say the words by rote and not by heart! Yes, we can repeat the prayer word for word, but the words don't resonate in our hearts or our lives.

The little girl in the story took seriously the things she had been taught concerning God being the head of everything and every person; yet, most of us probably don't give it a second thought. I would challenge you today to spend just a few moments out of your day seriously thinking about who is "your real father." If it's not God, then perhaps it's time to refocus your life and your priorities, especially as you begin the journey of another year.