Sunday Spiritual: “God As Father, God As King”.

Affiliate Disclosure

ben greenfield sunday spiritual
Articles, Education, Life Hacks, Mental Health, Mind-Spirit, People, Purpose, Relationships, Self-Development, Spiritual Growth & Disciplines, Time

After giving a half-hearted attempt here and here at a few quick spiritual Sunday snips over the past few weeks, I've decided to return to writing more “meaningful” articles on all things spiritual. I'm going to kick off today with some thoughts I've recently been having about prayer: namely because my prayers have become much more deep and passionate of late after beginning to truly think of God as a loving heavenly father.

See, I don't know about you, but for some reason, I have a pre-programmed tendency to think of God as some kind of wrathful ruler in the sky who has laid down a strict set of commandments that I sure-as-heck-better-follow, because if I don't, I'm going to be chock-full of regret and overflowing with self-blame and shame. In other words, it's almost as though my desire to live with the love of Jesus somehow also involves me making futile attempts not to make the big guy in the sky mad, because – you know – I don't want to be struck by lightning, get a flat tire in a blizzard, have my house burn down, lose my job, or receive some kind of other supernatural punishment from God because I've pissed Him off yet again.

Oddly enough, when I pray, I often begin my prayer by reciting the classic words, “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” but then seldom do I actually proceed to speak to God the way I would actually speak to an actual father. You know: like a young boy coming up to his pops, wrapping his little arms around that big, thick neck, pulling himself into his father's chest and snuggling there against the warm, strong pounding of his dad's heart as he settles into the strength, protection, confidence and wisdom provided by the proximity and presence of a being so much stronger than him, yet so tender and so caring.

Instead, sometimes my prayers seem like I'm projecting words towards some distant and strict commander from afar, almost as though I'm mumbling out to the eye of Sauron from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or something like that.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself thinking of God more like a cruel commander or strict schoolmaster rather than as a loving, heavenly Father who created you in His image, knows every hair of your head, and wrote a great story for your life before you were ever even conceived?

If so, I am now encouraging you, the next time you come before God, to come before Him as a loving, heavenly Father welcoming you into his embrace, very much how the prodigal son's father in the Biblical parable welcomed his long lost son into his arms with unconditional love and everlasting forgiveness.

For your inspiration, here are twenty-three encouraging verses about God being our Father:

Matthew 6:9-10, NIV Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

2 Corinthians 6:18, NLT And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Matthew 23:9, ESV And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

John 1:12, ESV But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

Romans 8:14, NLT For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Romans 8:15, NLT So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:16, NLT For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

1 John 3:1, ESV See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:2, ESV Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Ephesians 4:6, ESV One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Galatians 3:26, NIV So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, (We are united in Christ! We are joint heirs with Christ!)

Luke 6:35-36, ESV But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 5:16, NASB Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Isaiah 63:16, ESV For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.

1 Corinthians 8:6, ESV Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.

Isaiah 64:8, NLT And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.

Ephesians 4:4-6, ESV There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Luke 12:32, ESV Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Psalm 89:26, NKJV He shall cry to Me, “You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.”

2 Corinthians 6:16, NIV I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. (God is our father, and God is with us always! The Lord your God is with you!)

2 Corinthians 6:18, NIV I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Ephesians 5:1, TLB Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father.

Luke 6:36, NIV Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

So what does it look like exactly to speak to God as a Father?

Here is what has helped me…

first, speak from your heart, not from your head, and be passionate about what you say to God.

Rather than, “God help me at work today.”, say, “God, *sigh*, I'm so tired. I'm so beat down. I'm so weary. I need your help and your hands to get me through this day. Please give me strength. Please lift me up. Please carry me today.”

Rather than, “God, please forgive me.”, say, “God, I need your help. I can't do this without you. I've fallen down once again. Please forgive me for *XYZ*. Please hold me in Your loving embrace and protect me from this temptation I can't seem to get away from on my own. Please smile on me and let me feel the warmth of Your presence again. You know I love You so much more than this sin. Please help me to show it.”

Rather than: “God bless this food.”, say, “God, thank you so much for giving me this plate of green beans and steak bites and mashed potatoes and for keeping me so fed and nourished.”

In other words, pour out your heart to God the same way you might have poured out your heart to your earthly father when you were six years old and just wanted to be in the presence of your father to talk, or to find comfort, or to say you were sorry.

Second, imagine yourself placing your head on God's shoulder, or in his lap, or on his knee. Change your body posture if it helps (I prefer a kneeling position). Sense, feel and picture God's presence – there as your Father – and picture Him ready to take You into His powerful arms to embrace you, forgive you, protect you and love you. Feel His warmth, His peace, His largeness and His love.

Finally, resist the urge to feel like you can't pray or talk to or come before God because you've done something bad, yet again. God doesn't turn a cold shoulder to you and banish you from His Kingdom forever because you messed up. Would you kick your own child out of the house, or disown them, or hate them, or quit talking to them if they, say, stole a cookie and lied about it? No? What about if they took the family car for a joyride at midnight? No? What about if they called you up late on a Saturday night because they were in jail after getting drunk and getting into a fight at a bar? No?

And don't you think God's love is a hundred, a thousand, and beyond a million times greater than any earthly parent's love for their own child, so much that God actually gave up His own son, Jesus, to be tortured and die for you? Sure, God can get mad at you, just like any father could get mad at their child. But it doesn't mean He has suddenly disowned you. As Jesus himself said, we are to forgive, “…I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22). Don't you think God will forgive you seventy-seven times, and a whole lot more?

Think also once again of the parable of the prodigal son:

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

Now don't get me wrong here, I am not, as the apostle Paul alludes to in Romans, endorsing that you just continue sinning because you know God will always be there to forgive you, no matter what. That's a flagrant abuse of His grace. Paul replies to that notion with a resounding “God forbid” (Romans 6:2). To tell God you're sorry for what you did and then to go on to continue in the same sin over and over and over again shows that you really don't value the sacrifice of Jesus and that you probably didn't really mean it when you asked for forgiveness.

It might also mean that after asking God for forgiveness, you need to drastically change your habits, or your routine, or your environment. Maybe you need to take a route home that bypasses the nightclub, stripclub or bar, or you need to throw out the porn mags and install blocking software on your browser, or you need to tie a yellow band around your wrist to remind you not to lie, or you need to get a necklace with a cross on it to constantly remind yourself that you value the sacrifice of Jesus a thousand times more than any temptation or sin or attachment or addiction. Also, remember, if you really, truly are sorry and repentant, God has promised to help you overcome the sin you asked Him to help you with, or you asked Him to forgive you for (1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” and 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”) You just have to mean it when you ask for forgiveness.

Finally, just because you have decided to think of God as an ever-forgiving, loving heavenly Father, do not forget that He is also King of the Universe. This means that when you come before God to pray, you are entering into a very holy and reverent place, namely, the throneroom of God.

“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carlian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.
(Revelations 4:2-3 NIV)

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.
(Revelations 7:9-11 NIV)”

In the Old Testament of the Bible, only the priests had such a high privilege. But now, because of the sacrifice of Jesus, anyone can come before God, even if they haven't sacrificed some giant bull or cleansed themselves with some Mediterranean hyssop-esque herb (“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Hebrews 10:19-20 NIV).)

Just imagine if you were to waltz into the Oval Office in the White House in a pair of ripped-up denim jean overalls having not showered in three days.

Or imagine you were a knight entering the throneroom of a great King, just after you'd quaffed about four too many giant mugs of mead at a dinner feast and were stumbling about slurring your words and tripping over your own sword.

This would be disrespectful, wouldn't it? 

In the same way, unless you're asking for repentance for the sorry state you happen to be in, don't come casually before the throneroom of God while high on weed, or three glasses of wine in and collapsed in bed half aware of your mumblings. I only say this because I've noticed a tendency for some people to treat prayer as a kind of pagan plant-medicine ceremony, and I don't think it's right or necessary to need some form of inebriation, drunkenness or the induction of any other psychedelic or entheogenic state to be able to “get spiritual bro”.

In addition, when you pray, begin by acknowledging that you are aware of the extreme privilege of entering God's throneroom, meaning something like this:

“Dear God, I enter into your throneroom now so humbled and grateful to be in your powerful presence…”


“My Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to come before you once again and to enter into your holy place to bring my prayers to you…”

You get the idea. God is your Father, but not your casual “bud”. You still need to treat and speak to Him like a King, and approach Him with reverence and worship, from the beginning of your prayer!

So in summary…

…pray to God as your heavenly Father, not as a distant dictator in the sky.

Pour your heart out passionately to Him.

While praying, visualize and feel His presence and warm embrace.

Don't ever feel like you're officially banished from talking to Him or that He doesn't ever want to see you again.

How about you? Do you pray to God as a father, or do you struggle like I did with sometimes feeling like you're talking to a brick wall, or a far-off, really stern ruler who seems to be mad at you a lot? Leave your questions, comments and feedback below. I read them all.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

Related Posts

23 thoughts on “Sunday Spiritual: “God As Father, God As King”.

  1. Arden says:

    Hi Ben, thank you for resuming your more in-depth Sunday and Spiritual writings. I just found them in my email, and both of them on prayer and how to know you are hearing the voice of God, and God as Father/King, are helpful to me. I was raised Christian in a very strict Missouri Synod Lutheran church in Sunnyvale, CA. I did not feel good about God for decades, in fact, I hated God for its criticism, however I loved Jesus, and I still do. But your two articles I read carefully, including all the Biblical passages and took in some new ways to pray and listen, with respect for the Creator, and to reframe the old idea of God as a judge out to punish. I believe God is not masculine or feminine, but Infinite Love, omni-present, omniscient, omnipotent, in me, as me, through me, always and forever One with all expressions of life. With your thoughtful writing, I feel more of the warmth, the feeling of snuggling into a Being I can trust and feel safe with, and a Being I can share my concerns with, while opening my heart and mind to receive the Loving Guidance and Support of what I need to do next, my next Steps from this God-Love Guidance. Thank you for putting your effort into your Sunday and Spirituality writing. You did God’s work for me. Sending you and your loved ones many blessings from Berkeley, CA.

  2. Christy Jones says:

    Thank You Ben, this was great! I really appreciate you putting this out there. A great reminder for me, and know it’s an encouragement for others. You have earned the respect of a platform to speak from by doing excellent work. You shine like that city on a hill. Well done Brother

  3. kindness says:

    I am blown away to discovery that you are a Christian. I am speechless. Awesome. I thank God for discovering your site a few years ago on health and fitness. This is an even greater discovery. May God bless you, your family and the work you are doing in the public domain by spreading the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

  4. Julie says:

    My approach to prayer is to first actively remind myself that He is my Creator, and I am His creation. I came from Him and I will return to Him (if He wills). Everything is possible if He wills it, and everything that He wills benefits my soul (even if I don’t fully understand His method). I then praise Him, and I sincerely ask for His mercy/ forgiveness. Once I’ve submitted myself to Him as His creation, I then ask Him to bestow me with a blessing/ favors to help me fulfil His plan on earth.

  5. Brionne says:

    Wow. This is a 360 side to you. Love this. Thank you Ben. 💙

  6. Esmeralda Herrera says:

    Hi, I recommend you a Course of Miracle…it helps you go from fear (ego) to Love

  7. Drifter says:

    What you’re saying is very much supported by my experience so far of trying to develop my capacity to better hear God’s voice, and by a book I read recently, God Speaks, which is a collection of essays on hearing God’s voice. Hearing God’s Voice Made Simple is another book I highly recommend which has also helped me greatly. It made me realize the importance of being open to receiving God’s guidance at any time and in any situation such that an ongoing conversation with God can develop. The guidance I get from God is as you describe, supportive, loving and sometimes playful, while being specific and actionable. That said, I do as yet very little speaking to God (unless I am praying for someone’s healing) and more listening.

  8. Brenda Lamparyk says:

    Thank you Ben. I love the fact you address the whole spirit. “We” as trainers, think of only sharing how to take care of our body and forget the main piece; spirit. I say it all starts with love.

    We can evolve and see God as a friend, Father and He is the definition of love. When I talk to God, I sit, feel the warmth and center into my heart. I share all of my feelings and thoughts. I end with a Thank you each time. I am simple and allow it to flow. I appreciated your email today. Thank you Ben.

  9. Ben,I ask Christ and the Heavenly Father to protect all my family and friends .I ask him to strengthen my Spiritual Armour and thank
    Christ for the Breath of Life,because without it there is no Life.
    I pray to thank him for my son and his mom because they are my
    greatest Gift. I ask Christ to prepare me for the days up to 2030.
    The Satanic Cabal is after us 24/7 and is forcing every anti-God
    social norm upon us. My prayer to you is that Christ will use you to influence Dave Asprey ,Wade Lightheart , Zach Bush ,Mercola and others to promote Christ. Lastly are you still going to Peak Brain Ins.
    God Bless Mark -Revolution Radio-

  10. Pamela Goetting says:

    So good! Thank you

  11. Gary Schoop says:

    I needed this message today. Thanks Ben !

  12. Monica Mansfield says:

    I needed this. Thank you.

  13. Durnford King says:

    Ben, I respect your heartfelt passion about your religion. I too sometimes feel close to the source of all that exists. Over the years, though, I’ve stopped thinking of God as male, so I have stopped calling “him” father and/or mother. Male and female are material concepts that exist only in the animal/mortal world. Frankly, I don’t know what to call “God”. To give a human name to the source of all that exists, in all its vast complexity, which according to today’s quantum science, includes multiple dimensions, seems limiting to me. Any attempt to capture the reality of the Creative Impulse that perpetually transforms what could be into what is, is doomed to failure. The Creator is the Creation, and far beyond our ability to comprehend. If anything comes close to defining what “God” is, it would be Love. God is Love is a common understanding, but seems to fall by the wayside with many people. As you implied above, we have burdened our concept of “God” with primitive human flaws. Anger and vengeance. The demand to be obeyed. Disappointment in us. Etc.
    If there is one gift we are born with, other than Love. it is Free Will. We are individually responsible for everything we think, do, and say. From that comes ideas such as, “What goes around comes around”, karma, kismet. Etc.

    I consider myself a Christian, but I have come to the conclusion that the idea that Jesus came to earth “to die for our sins” is not the whole of the story. Fundamentally, he came to teach us how to evolve as individuals and as a planetary society. To help us get to a place where we identify with the Human Race, rather than a collection of warring factions, religious, economic, racial, etc. hell bent on subjugating the other, those who don’t look or believe or speak like us.

    1. Sara Taskinen says:

      Hi Durnford,
      I understand where you’re coming from. I would call myself Christian and I love God, but I also understand that God is not just a man or a male. Neither is God a woman or just female. But he did create male and female out of His/Her Being and in God’s likeness.
      If you believe that the Bible is God’s gift to humanity to help us know God, then it is precious to think that the way God chooses to relate to us is to put himself/herself into concepts that frankly – were created by God – in order for our developing minds and understandings to grasp.
      The kindness of God makes God knowable to little children. God says that we are to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom – which is the experience of true spirituality, connection and identity. God’s kindness was speaking to people through Jesus in parables that fit into their context and ability to understand. Many parables in the Bible include farming, weather, and things that were much more relatable to the crowd he was speaking to back then than to many people of 2023. But that is his kindness. That being infinite, God puts himself inside a space where we can begin to understand who God is, and leads us on from there. Just like you! :) You once viewed God a certain way and then you developed and grew in an expanding awareness, curiosity and ability to understand that God is so much bigger than one construct. That is so good! However, I would suggest that if you believe you have a greater level of understanding, or have grown in some way, and you see others who are on a journey – even in a place where you once identified with – that you trust that God is truly leading them, and that diminishing the significance of their understanding of God or relationship with God is not what will help them evolve. It’s always just a joyful invitation to more. And I believe that God leads each person in a unique and personal journey, and that we should inspire each other to know God more and celebrate the ways that we are truly encountering God. What the Holy Spirit is doing in one person may be different than the next, but it is still the same Spirit, and the process is always valuable.

      1. Arden says:

        Nicely said, Sara, and with a little paraphrasing, I like your notion that this thing called ‘God’ has given us these concepts of It, that we are evolving our understanding of and relationship to God as a human race, and that we can inspire others to evolve their journey to “know God more and celebrate…encountering God.” PS- are you Finnish? I’m half-Finn, your last name looks Finnish, and I always like to ‘wave’ at other Finns.

    2. Arden says:

      Hi Durnford, I also don’t prefer to call ‘God’ by a gender, and sometimes I go with “God Goddess All That Is” as a title. Lately, I like to call God by the name of a galactic Supercluster, the one that our galaxy is in: Laniakea. It has over 100,000 galaxies, and ours with about 200-400 billion stars is one of those galaxies. Laniakea is one of several known superclusters. All of this information is so vast, so extremely infinite and beautiful, that upon contemplation, I choose to believe is not accidentally but instead intelligently created, which leads me to call ‘God’ something like “Infinite Creator,” or “Infinite Intelligence” or “Infinite Love.” Because ‘God’ from my upbringing as a conservative Lutheran was a portrayed as a punishing judge, I didn’t get the warmth and sense of love that Ben speaks to, a wonderful feeling of being on the lap of and snuggled into a good father, which I had until I was 6 years old. Thanks for your post.

  14. Dan says:

    A much needed message for this time. Prayer is the greatest privilege and weapon against everything that’s wrong in this world. I started following you for fitness and now you have encouraged my faith. MY God bless you Ben.

  15. John Mann says:

    Ben, Very happy/grateful that you have decided to return to writing your Sunday Precepts. Look forward to reading them regularly.

  16. Philip says:

    This is the first webpage I’ve bookmarked in months!

    Trying to be more relational and unhurried in my time with God. This was the perfect read that I needed today.

    Thanks brother!

  17. Ruth A Hill says:

    This resonated on such a deep level. I used to struggle with seeing God as a loving father too. Your insights are spot.on!

  18. Mike Muller says:

    I love your passion Ben! From being an Iron Man to this brother. Don’t know if you remember me; I gave you a ride back to your rig after finishing the Iron Man Tri at Grand Coulee at least 10 years ago. Would love to talk to you sometime about the Lord and fitness sometime. The earlier the better, I’m 82 now! lol

  19. Jen says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear, mostly to remember what a privilege it is to be in His presence. Thanks, Ben.

  20. Nick says:

    Good insights! Thanks Ben

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *