“…When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name’…”
— Luke 11:2, NASB
Something about the Lord Jesus’ pattern of prayer led the disciples to ask the Master for teaching. The disciples would have been stunned by Jesus’ words, “When you pray, say: ‘Father…’”
It was not the idea of God as Father that would have been startling to the disciples (Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 63:16; Malachi 2:10). However, Jesus used an Aramaic word common within family relationships, “Abba,” which is best rendered “Dearest Father.” Jesus avoided the formal address for a father, “Abinu,” which was found in the synagogue prayers.
Jesus emphasized that prayer is more than praise and worship, confession, and petition. The first thing Jesus was teaching about prayer was that it is an expression of intimacy, a personal relationship with God.
Paul emphasizes that our adoption as children is one of the best blessings of God’s redemptive plan. God has a fatherly authority in His family. (See Ephesians 1:2-5, 17; Galatians 1:1, 3-4). This relationship brings moral responsibility for God’s children to live in ways that bring glory to our adoptive father and to His family name.
3. Abba expresses affection
As children, we all desperately need love. We can expect God’s steadfast and unfailing love to be available and accessible to us.
4. Abba expresses dependence
Jesus was perhaps reinforcing the need for us to “become like children” (Matthew 18:3). We are invited to express our childlike dependence on the Father, who is the ultimate source and provider for life.
1. What does addressing God as Father mean to you personally?
2. How does the fatherhood of God influence the life of your church family?