In a few months, I’m going to be a “Papa!” Our daughter Jennie is pregnant with a baby girl! This is helping Kristi and me have a fresh and joyful celebration of the birth of Christ.
The precious gift of a baby girl reminds me of Jesus’ free gift for you:
God is your Abba Father who loves you! He likes you!! He delights in you!!!
Do you believe this? Are you enjoying being part of Jesus’ intimate love relationship with Abba?
Abba is the Aramaic (ancient Hebrew) word for “Papa”. It’s why I chose my grandfather name to be “Papa.” I hope my new name helps me, my family, and you to bask in the warm love of Jesus’ Abba.
Often “Ah-bah” is the first word that comes from the mouth of a little Jewish boy or girl. It’s like “Da-da” or “Pah-pah”. Imagine God saying, “You can call me ‘Da-da’!”
Probably we wouldn’t even know God as Father — and surely not as Abba — if it wasn’t for our Lord Jesus. There are only a few references to God as Father in the Old Testament and it was basically like calling God our Creator.
But in Jesus’ time of greatest need, he prayed to God as Abba (Mark 14:36). Some Bible scholars believe he prayed to God as Abba throughout his life. For instance, “Our Abba who art in heaven…”
The early Church learned from Christ to pray The Lord’s Prayer twice daily. Praying to God as Abba blessed the Apostle Paul and he urged us to do the same (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6).
To experience almighty God as your caring and kind Papa you need to approach him from the posture of the child inside of you. This is where growing up in Christ begins (Ephesians 4:22, 1 Peter 2:2).
Most of us need help learning to truly trust God as Papa. Here are the key “heart moves” that I teach in Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke:
- Renounce false narratives like “Don’t be needy” or “Don’t be emotional”
- Seek empathy and advocacy from a Christ ambassador
- Imagine the Lord Jesus with a glowing face of compassion beaming on you!
- Say “Thank you!” Don’t deflect the Lord’s free gift of grace — appreciate it!
God’s Papa love comes to us through Christ, his Word, and loving people who are his messengers.
Brennan Manning, a favorite author of Soul Shepherding and beloved by all of us who are seeking a God of love, writes to draw us closer to Jesus’ Abba:
“It can be unequivocally stated that the central, most important theme in the personal life of Jesus, the theme that lies at the very heart of his revelation, is his growing trust, intimacy, and love of his Abba, his heavenly Father.” (Abba’s Child published in 1994)
Let’s try a short Abba prayer experience now! (This is one of the many guided Scripture meditations in our Easy Yoke book.) It has blessed Kristi and me countless times and many other people — you’ll love it! Consider it a free Christmas gift, from Soul Shepherding to you:
Imagine yourself as one of the children with Jesus in a Gospel story (e.g., Matthew 18:2-5, 10-14; Mark 10:13-16)…
See yourself as a child coming to Jesus…
Thank God for someone who has shown you Abba’s love…
Ask the Shepherd of Souls to help you trust God as your Abba…
Take a deep breath through your nose as you “take in” your Papa’s love…
Exhale slowly through your mouth as you let go of stress…
Breathe in: “Jesus…”
Breathe out: “Embraces me in Abba’s love…”
Smile and relax in the arms of Jesus, your Lord and Savior…
(This devotional is adapted from Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke: Rhythms of Grace to De-Stress and Live Empowered.)
More Breath Prayers
To pray a short verse or paraphrase of Scripture as a Breath Prayer is refreshing and empowering. It helps you learn to practice God’s presence all day and stay in tune with the peace of Christ. I’ve selected key verses of Scripture and developed step-by-step instructions for meditation, breathing rhythms, and prayer in “Breath Prayer Guides.”
Jesus’ Abba Delights in You! (Your Best Christmas Gift!)
Take a moment to stop and receive the love of Abba with an open heart and experience his love, grace and healing!
Join Bill and Kristi in this week’s podcast.