Saying Abba, Father
But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret;…Pray then in this way: Our Father… Matt 6: 6, 9.
Arguably the two most important words in the Lord’s Prayer are the first two. Nothing reveals the secret of Jesus' prayer life more than his relationship with his Father. To his first hearers it seemed blasphemy. An Aramaic child’s first word: Abba – Dada. To contemporary hearers it probably seems absurd. Who could dare to call the Creator of the universe by personal intimate name? To imagine that in the best of parenting we might catch glimpses of God qualities – both father and mother (“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13, Matthew 23:37).
One of the biggest problems in ministry is a lack of personal security. Preachers are sometimes driven by the need for affirmation and shattered by its absence. Too often there is little sense of knowing whom we have believed. Yet Jesus opens up the amazing possibility - “to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1.12,13).
This belonging is a spiritual fact of life. However emotionally disengaged we might feel, however much under stress we are, however disobedient we’ve been- it remains true, every day. I am a child of God, born of God. I belong to God who is my heavenly Father. No wonder Jesus commands us to find a quiet space and trust with childlikeness, saying “Our Father”. To affirm this relationship changes the way I respond to everything else this day.
Prayer. Our Father, help me to say those two words slowly and deliciously, with a fresh openness to your love and a willingness to trust you with my life and my ministry. Forgive me my lack of trust that finds security in other people’s opinions and help me rest in your opinion of me, Father. Fill me with childlike belonging and trust. Amen.