The Father’s Counsel


I’ve been re-reading J. I. Packer’s chapter on the doctrine of adoption in his masterpiece Knowing God. There Packer reminds us that one way of understanding the sermon on the mount is to see that is paternal in orientation. It is God the Father teaching his children how to live. To read the sermon in that way is to open up a richness that we miss if we read it as simply a legal charter.

Packer notes what this means for Christian prayer.

“The Father is always accessible to His children, and is never too preoccupied to listen to what they have to say. This is the basis of Christian prayer. Two things follow, according the the sermon. First, prayer must not be thought of in impersonal or mechanical terms, as a technique for putting pressure on someone who otherwise might disregard you…. Second, prayer may be free and bold. We need not hesitate to imitate the sublime ‘cheek’ of the child who is not afraid to ask his parents for anything, because he knows he can count completely on their love….” (page 192 in my 1973 edition)

If you have not read the book, do so. If you’ve not read the chapter in a long time, return to it.

2 thoughts on “The Father’s Counsel

  1. MagistraCarminum

    I still have a falling-apart copy with a note from you on the front cover, and remember reading this for the first time at your suggestion. We are rereading it now in our Sunday evening Fellowship time, and it’s still fresh and relevant!

  2. TulipGirl

    I haven’t read this yet (though it is on the shelf!) And you aren’t the only person this week recommending it. . . I guess I know what I should delve into next. (Especially since two of the books on my to-read-list had an unexpected swim in the pool and are still drying. . .)

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