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Close to the Father

He was traveling on a bus in Israel and, as would be expected, his comprehension of the conversations going on all around him was limited, to say the least. And then a man boarded with his son.

He was a little child, and he crawled up into his daddy’s lap for the ride. They started laughing and playing together. And then the little boy reached up, took hold of his daddy’s beard, and started shaking it kind of like a wet dog shakes, and he was saying, “Abba Abba Abba” — a word our friend understood.

Do you know what Abba means? It’s the Greek word for “Father.” It “approximates to a personal name,” kind of like “Papa.” It is “the word framed by the lips of infants” and by older children “expressing [their] love and intelligent confidence” in their father.*

Jesus came, talking to God and about God. But He didn’t call Him Jehovah. Or Elohim. Or Adonai. Or El Shaddai. Or any other of the names that the people called God. No, Jesus came and called Him Abba, Papa, Daddy, Father.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus addresses God 43 times as Father. He took an awesome God, a fearful God, an unapproachable God, a God who was known to strike out when He was not obeyed, the God of the Old Testament . . . and He introduced us to a loving Father.

How we have structured and formalized (and, in so doing, ostracized) the Father that Jesus wanted us to know! For our conversation with Him to be “pleasing,” we have been told we must “look just right,” assume just the right posture, be in the right place at the right time, say just the right things, use the prerequisite Thee’s and Thou’s — and that only then will He really consider honoring our prayers.

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Oh, God! Dear heavenly Father. That we would build such ominous barriers separating us from You, making You into the untouchable God of Eli and Jeremiah. You are our Father. You love us. You care for us. You don’t want to see us hurt. You have given us everything that we need to live here in this world of godlessness. A world that has no use for You. A world where evil and cruel people hurt and maim and kill. A world where Your creation is crying out for release from the bondage of sin.

Jesus didn’t approach You as “Almighty God,” though that is who You are. He didn’t approach You as El Elyon, the Most High, though that is who You are. He didn’t approach You as Jehovah Jireh, though that is who You are. He approached You as Your Son, Your beloved Child. And He called You . . . Abba.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again,but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Galatians 4:6

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.