I wrote this little story in an effort to explain the some of principles of The Lord’s Prayer to my kids and thought I’d share. Hopefully, this will be an ongoing series. God bless!
Justus rubbed his hands together in an effort to warm them. They were cold and clammy with nerves. He had waited over a year for an audience with the King, and finally his day had come.
He quickly shuffled through his parchments making sure they were in the proper order when he heard someone enter the room with a polite cough.
It was his personal attendant for the day, a servant named Gaius, who’s job was to make sure that those who had audience with the King were properly prepared.
Gaius began to adjust Justus’s robes, brushing off specks of lint from his shoulders until he was satisfied.
“How much longer?” Justus asked.
“Not long. Are you prepared? Do you remember the procedure for addressing the King?”
“Are you sure? One misstep and it could result in you being expelled from the throne room and never invited back.”
Justus let out a nervous breath, “Perhaps, I should go over it one more time?”
“I agree, Senator,” Gaius nodded.
Justus began to pace as he tried to recall the proper procedure for having audience with the King. “First, I must wait in the privy chamber until called by the King’s guard. I then must stand at the entrance until either called by name by the King, or waved in by his hand. I take six steps, then kneel. When the King calls me forward I take six more steps and wait until the King stands up from his throne.”
Justus hesitated, struggling to try and remember the last part.
“And then?” Gaius asked.
“I kiss his hand?”
The servant gasped, “God forbid, No! You may only kiss the hem of his robe. When he touches your shoulder you may stand, but don’t look him in the eye! Only look at his feet. Unless of course he bids you look in his eyes, then you may do so.”
Senator Justus sighed, wondering if he would ever get it right. “Of course. Thank you for the reminder.”
A bell was rung from the hall and the servant Gaius clapped his hands together, “It is time. Don’t worry, you’re ready. Be sharp, don’t mumble your words, follow procedure, don’t look him in the eye, or displease the King in any way and stir up his wrath and I’m sure you’ll be just fine.”
“Thanks,” Justus said dryly as he gathered his parchments and hurried after Gaius who was already out the door and making his way down the hall towards the privy chamber.
“Now seeking audience with the King, Senator Justus Saturius Libo!” called the legionnaire guarding the entrance of the throne room with a six and a half foot spear.
Justus tried to see the eyes behind the helmet, hoping for some assuring glance from the guard, but the guard only stared straight ahead, uninterested in easing the nerves of yet one more Senator seeking a private audience with the King.
“Enter,” came the voice of the King, not loud but commanding just the same. The quality of his voice was of velvet wrapped steel. Justus felt a shiver run down his spine at the thought of the velvet sheath being removed from that voice.
Justus almost faltered in his steps, forgetting to count each one. He panicked, he didn’t know when he should stop. Then, to his relief he noticed a metal plate on the floor where it was written in stark letters the word, ‘KNEEL.’
He knelt, glad for the plate.
“Come forward,” the King said, sounding somewhat bored of all the ritual.
Justus rose, took six more steps to the next plate on the floor, which was written, ‘KNEEL AND WAIT.’
Justus knelt, and waited, keeping his head down. He heard the rustle of robes as the King stood and the soft padding of sandaled feet coming down the steps of the throne. The King stopped and stood before him and Justus tentatively reached out for the hem of the King’s robe and kissed it.
He then felt a hand on his shoulder, which gave him him a strong squeeze. “Welcome, Justus. You many rise and state your business.”
“Thank you, your majesty,” Justus said as he rose to his feet, still careful to keep his eyes on the floor. Though, he did steal a glance of the back of the King as he made his way up to the throne.
Justus was about to turn behind him to receive his parchments from the guard who had followed him when he suddenly heard the pattering of little feet come running down the carpeted aisle of the throne room. He marveled that the little feet didn’t stop and kneel at the proper places like he did.
“Daddy! Daddy!” a little voice cried with excitement.
The King stood from his throne, startled.
Good, Justus thought, perhaps the King himself would silence the child, since obviously the guards hadn’t.
The child, a little girl of about four with long wavy raven curls ran past Justus and right up the steps of the throne, unhindered.
The King laughed and scooped up the little girl and tossed her into the air playfully as she squealed in delight. “Daughter, Im so glad to see you!” The King laughed again as she began to plant little kisses all over his face.
No rules for only kissing the hem for this child, Justus mused bitterly.
“Daddy?” the girl asked in her bright piping voice.
“Can we go to the garden, today? I want to show you the butterfly.
The King gasped, “The butterfly?”
“Yes! It’s going to break free of it’s cocoon! I’m sure this will be the day it will fly. Please, Daddy?”
The King set his daughter on the throne, and she stood to on her tippy-toes to be as eye-level as she could with him. He stared at her, rubbing his chin with furrowed brow.
“Hmm. Well, I do love it when butterflies just leave their cocoons and spread their wings for the first time…,” the King said.
“Come, please Daddy?” she asked, grabbing one of the King’s hands with both of her little ones. The King’s eyes sparkled with mirth as she hopped off his throne and began to try and drag him down the throne steps.
He laughed, “Okay, little one. Let’s go see this butterfly of yours.” He then scooped up his daughter and set her on his shoulders. As he passed Justus, the King stopped and said, “I apologize Justus, but I have very important business to attend to. Please reschedule with my servant Gauis for another appointment.”
Justus just barely kept himself from blurting out, ‘But that may take a whole other year of waiting!’ Thank God, he managed to snap his mouth shut in time. Instead, he swallowed and bowed as graciously as he could. “Yes, your highness, I completely understand. Give my regards to the Butterfly.”
The King chuckled, “We will.”
As Justus walked down the hall from the throne room, Gaius joined him.
“Just my luck, Gaius!” Justus fumed as they walked along.
“Oh, don’t be dismayed, Senator. It happens quite often. The King always has time for his children and they are always welcome into his throne room – and he has a houseful since he has made it a habit to adopt many of them.”
“Adopted! And with no appointment, no formal ceremony and no hesitation whatsoever?”
“The many privileges of being a child of the King.”
Justus sighed, “Indeed, it is. One wonders how to get adopted.”
“Well, I suppose that you must be a child who is poor and needy.”
“A bit too late for me it seems. Do see that I get on his calendar at the earliest date, would you Gaius.” Justus reached into his coin purse, grabbed a Denarius and slipped it into the servants hand.
“Ah, yes. I think a spot just opened up for you next month. I’ll send you word as soon as I know.”
“See that you do,” Justus replied as he walked away and left for home.
Our Father in Heaven…
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6
“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
As a child of God, we don’t need formality or appointments to meet with our Father, because of the work of Christ we can run right up into the lap of the King. Enter into prayer with the confidence and expectation of a child deeply loved by their Father, because, simply, that is who you are!
Next blog: Hallowed be Your Name…