“It was anything but characteristic of Old Testament spiritual life to refer to God as Father in personal prayer and communion. That depth of intimacy with the Almighty was rare indeed. Yet… this is precisely what our Lord Jesus Christ did every time He prayed!”
– Sam Storms, The Singing God
It is easy for us as Christians to take for granted the unique relationship we have with God. As his followers we have been called to intimacy with him. This part of the Christian faith is so radically different from that of other faiths but I find it easy to forget this. When I do this, I fail to grasp the true privilege of my relationship with God.
Jesus understood this intimacy. He was able to call God Father. Americans speak of the founding fathers in reference to those who were formative in creating their nation. When they do this they aren’t claiming to be descendants but rather sharing in their ideals.
This isn’t what Jesus is doing. He uses the Aramaic word Abba, akin to the phrase Daddy. This word is a claim to intimate relationship. It is an expression of the unblemished trust that an infant has with their father.
What is so amazing is that Jesus invites us to share in this intimacy. When asked how people should pray he responds first with ‘Our Father’.
Surely this must have blown the minds of those who heard. They were able to enter into a divine familial relationship with God? Jesus must have misspoken?
And yet this is exactly what Jesus meant. He was inviting us into God’s family. He was there because of his divine right, but we are included because of grace. It is because of this grace that we may know the tenderness of God’s presence, the surety of peace and the certainty of a loving Father who will never let us go.