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Our father who art in heaven …

Our father who art in heaven …

It’s late.

A Sunday night after a full day of ministry.

A Sunday after missed naps.

A Sunday after toys, meals, baths, and playtime.

A Sunday with moments of quiet and moments of chaos.

Gathered together on the bed we read stories and then we pray.

The toddler wants to keep reading.

The baby wants to sleep and fusses.

But we still pray.


Our Father who art in heaven.


We let the words of the prayer wash over them both.

We let our prayers and hopes surround them.

We let our voices pray together over their cries.

We hope that it’s enough.

That the words of this prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, will be enough to guide and shelter them.

That this prayer will be their refuge and strength.

That this prayer will come to them when all else seems to fail.

That they will hear the words and know that they are never alone.

That they will offer the words to hurting hearts and weary souls.

That they will remember what it’s like to be prayed over.

That they will then pray for others who can’t pray for themselves.


This is our nightly prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven.
But it’s so much more than just that one prayer.

It’s as simple as one prayer and as powerful as a thousand prayers.

It’s our whole hearts and minds and bodies given to these children.

Surrounding them and holding them close.

Connecting us with this whole community bound in the Body of Christ.

It’s our prayer for each night and our prayer to guide us each morning.

It’s our prayer to remember that we live not for ourselves, but for others.

It’s our prayer to remember God’s kingdom.

It’s our prayer to give thanks for daily bread and to give that bread to others.

It’s our prayer to forgive and to be forgiven.

It’s our prayer forever and ever.


After the final Amen and placing them in their beds, we turn to say goodnight.

We offer a kiss.

We speak our love.

We trust that our words will be their blanket and comfort.

We hope that they dream of our words and the prayers we offer.

And when we lay our heads down to sleep ourselves,

Exhausted and grateful and brimming with hope,

We hear the same words and let them wash over us.

Our Father who art in heaven….



Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is


Image:  Columbus Public Library



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