“Abba, Father!”

In prayer, Jesus showed us his total dependence on his heavenly Father. It was his goal to please him. In fact, Jesus did nothing without seeking God’s approval.

He addressed God as “Abba, Father (Mark 14:36).” (Abba is an Aramaic term which young children used to address their fathers. It can be translated as “Daddy.”) The only exception was when he felt forsaken on the cross. Even though he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he ended by saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Now that prayer (Psalm 31:5) was what every Jewish mother taught their children to say before they slept at night. Jesus, after having experienced the darkness of our sin’s burden on him, fell asleep into his Father’s arms.

We have just seen that Jesus ended his life with prayer. As we look back at the beginning of his public ministry we find that he began with prayer too. Luke records that the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus in bodily form like a dove “as he was praying.”

We do not know exactly what he prayed for; but it is reasonable to guess that he prayed to be anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit for his ministry ahead. If he needed the strength of the Holy Spirit, can we imagine that we can do without the Spirit’s help?

Interestingly the Holy Spirit, whom God has poured into our hearts, is also called the Spirit of sonship and also the Spirit of God’s Son by which we are enabled to call God, “Abba, Father (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6).” In no other religion do people call God, “Father.” But the Holy Spirit enables us to do so with freedom and confidence.

And we can boldly come to the throne of grace calling God, “Abba, Father,” because of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. It is the shed blood of Jesus on the cross that has parted the curtain and gave us entrance to the presence of God (Hebrews 10:19—22). Therefore no matter how despairing and dark your situation is; with confidence call out to your heavenly Father, saying, “Abba, I need you.” There is no time when that prayer is not heard!

Again, by calling God “Abba, Father,” Jesus was teaching us that prayer is primarily not asking for something nor shouting aloud; but it is a relationship of love and friendship with God. Therefore, in childlike trust, let us approach our heavenly Father.

Let us go to him with a view of spending time with him just enjoying his loving presence. In such moments, love does not ask anything but simply takes time to adore our great and awesome God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love!

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