Born in Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, Jane Austen entered the world a full month later than her mother “expected.” Her entire family eagerly anticipated her arrival, and from the beginning, Jane enjoyed a close relationship with her father. After his death when Jane was nearly twenty, she wrote these words to her brother Frank: “His tenderness as a father, who can do justice to?” She called him “an excellent Father” and referred to “the sweet, benevolent smile which always distinguished him.” Jane’s personal experience of a father surely shaped her understanding of God as a father. She grew up with a loving, attentive father—one who was interested, kind, and present. Jane begins this first prayer by asking for God’s “grace” (or help) to pray. She desires to speak to him from her heart, not just with her lips, and refers to him as her “Almighty Father.”
Give us grace, Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our Hearts, as with our Lips.
Are you in need of a loving, strong father in your life?