We call it “the Lord’s Prayer.” Actually, it is our prayer, taught to us by Jesus: a beautiful template to guide our conversation with our Creator.
Jesus begins with the two most radical words in human history: “Our Father.” He’s revolutionary for two reasons: First, Jesus says “our” including each of us in his invitation to address God as our kin. Secondly, he invites us to call God “Father” or, as he likely would have said in Aramaic, his original language, “Abba.” On several occasions (Mark 14:36) Jesus prayed using the word “Abba,” the word little Hebrew children used for “Daddy” or “Papa.” Bible translators seem too skittish to translate it literally, so they resort to a formal “Father.”
But Jesus is anything but formal. He says we must come to God as the tiny helpless children we are, or we cannot come at all.
For some of us such intimacy with God seems irreverent and presumptive. It’s not easy to pray with the words, “Our Papa…” But Jesus insists this attitude is a precondition for genuine prayer.
For others – those of us who have had a difficult relationship with our earthly fathers – the idea of God as “Father” becomes an emotional barrier rather than an invitation.
But Jesus never wavers. He insists that God is the Father, the foundation upon which all fatherhood is based. Even if we’ve struggled with our own fathers, his invitation stands: Come to God and allow him to be everything a father is supposed to be:
– The source of our life (John 3:3)
– Supplier of all we need (Matthew 6:31-33)
– The one who rightly disciplines us (Hebrews 12:5-11)
– The one who grants us an inheritance (Romans 8:15-17)
– The one who gives us abounding affection (I John 3:1, Luke 15:20-24)
Awkward as this may seem, we are summoned by Jesus to pray, “Our Daddy in heaven…” and to see him as the fulfillment of our true need for a true father. In fact, only in a relationship with Father can heal us from the hurts and disappointments we’ve had from our own fathers.
Challenge: in your prayer today address God as “Father.” Then go further and address him as “Papa,” then “Daddy.” Speak it out load, whisper it as you drive to work, sing it as you wash the dishes, mutter it as lie down to sleep.
“Daddy…” How does that sound?
Here is where “haggah” comes in into play. When you say these words of the Lord’s Prayer add more like:
“Father, you are my true Papa, the source of my life, the one who provides for me, the one who gives me a name and a true identity, the one who provides healthy, loving discipline, and the one who showers me with abounding affection…”
Dare: Before you end the day, address God as “Papa.” It’s only at that point that true prayer really begins.