As an 18-year-old young man, raised in poverty and broken circumstances, I encountered Jesus Christ and experienced the first overwhelming ALL moment of my life. My whole existence took on new meaning and purpose.
Years later as a new father, I experienced the ALL moment differently—from the giving end. This was a new definition, immediate, visceral, from the inside out. Although the word had been in my vocabulary, and the concept had been part of my theological training, now it was living in me every day. ALL was loose in my life.
That second experience planted an idea, a seed of understanding, deep into my soul about God and about prayer.
What I discovered after the birth of my daughter was the moment when you can joyfully give yourself and everything you have to one person’s welfare and never even blink at the “cost.” In a singular ALL moment, my heart quickly and easily yielded total allegiance when confronted by something of absolute value. In my experience of ALL, courtesy of my daughter, I caught a glimpse how the deepest transactions of life are completed.
Without asking permission, the ALL moment of fatherhood activated a deep question of longing in my heart. Watching my heart respond to my daughter made me rethink God’s Father love for me. I began to wonder in the deep places:
“Wow, God! Do you really feel this way about me?”
I was beginning to see that, if I followed this ALL beacon (lit by my daughter), it would redefine my faith, even changing my understanding of what it means to be human. I barely realized what had happened, yet found myself on a mission to experience the full and complete ALL exchange with God, my Father—to be loved in an undivided way, to reciprocate with undivided love. Deep rumblings were awakening in the hidden places of my heart.
While reading Genesis 1-2 through this lens, I came to the simple realization that on a particular day at the very start of human history, God became a Father. Have you ever considered that? God too had an ALL moment. He looked at His two children and named them and loved them without reserve. He told them, “Everything I have is yours.” As a first-time Father, He experienced feelings of total devotion to His children on an epic scale.
Everywhere I looked this father-daughter journey pointed me into uncharted territory. I was being drawn into God’s ALL, His uncalculating, undivided affection and commitment. I began to see why Jesus always emphasized the Father-child connection in how He prayed, and how He taught us to pray. Prayer reconnects us with the Father’s undivided, undiminished response to us. His response is always ALL.
What if God can’t wait to hear what I have to say, and can’t wait to give to me from His ALL?
While trying to grasp the implications of God’s undivided heart toward me, I recognized this simple connection: When a child needs a father’s love or provision or special intervention, he or she simply asks.
As God’s child, I too can ask my Father. I can count on my Father’s undiminished, undivided resource to always be available for my life. He has put in place a simple strategy for me to access His love and provision and special intervention, and that strategy is prayer.