Understand the Lord’s prayer – tip 1

The title “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (often used in Jewish prayers) was set aside by Jesus with the simple phrase Our Father (Abba). The new phrase placed all believers on the same level regardless of their racial ancestry or community history. 

Jesus could have chosen many words to address God; He selected the Aramaic word abba, which means “Father” and “Our Father.” This title affirmed both a personal relationship and the respect that would be offered to a superior. Words offered to God are precious, must be sincere and can be few. Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God, who is near and yet far away. He is “our Father” and, at the same time, is “in the heavens.” 

The title abba is a precious word that affirms a special relationship between the worshiper and God. We have heard many people say they have struggled to call God father because their human father was not loving and kind and may have been perceived as absent and cruel. However, we must remember human fathers and mothers are never adequate to give the term abba its appropriate meaning. Jesus used the parable of the prodigal son to identify abba God. (Consider reading this story founds in Luke 15:11-31 looking for attributes of God). No other definition is legitimate. Using our human father as a metaphor for God carries the risk of idolatry. That idolatry can be avoided when we allow Jesus to define abba.

God is “Our Father.” The intimate term finds its most profound meaning when used in the communal setting. God is “my Father” because he is “Our Father.”