"Pray then like this: our FATHER in heaven..." (Matt 6.9, ESV)
There are places on the internet where people can write their secrets anonymously for others to read. One in particular is extremely popular, with thousands of posts by people who cannot share their thoughts with others. Perhaps not surprisingly, for the most part it is a very sad and lonely place:
"My husband rarely talks to me. So when he's sleeping I look through his phone, his car & his clothes to see how his day went."
"I would never do anything to hurt myself, but sometimes I wish something would happen to me just to see if you actually cared."
"Mom, all I have ever wanted is for you to tell me you are proud of me! How hard is that?"
"I bring laughter to many, but I am so sad and lonely that I often wish that I will simply die in my sleep."
In many ways, the site has even become a virtual confessional booth, with people yearning for some relief from the things they struggle with and carry in secret. So many people wear masks; they live their days either pretending to be someone they're not, or allowing it to consume them on the outside too. We as believers aren't immune to this either, and can bottle up our feelings and our anxieties. But there is a truth that gives us freedom: we are God's children. We have been born through the Spirit into a family, created to share each others' burdens, to support one another and to provide accountability and counsel. We have been called to lean on each other.
But, praise God, neither does it stop there! As God's children we can call Him Abba Father - a name that combines honour, reverence, affection and intimacy in one beautiful name. There is a reason why Jesus taught us to pray with "our Father" before anything else.
Some people may have no one to turn to, or only to strangers on a website. Others believe they need a priest. Yet others may view God as an aloof king to whom they try to wave from the crowd and holler in the vain hope that he may one day notice them. We, however, have every opportunity - ALL THE TIME - to run through those throne room doors and straight into the embrace of our wonderful Father King. Go talk to your Father.