GPS Guide – July 25, 2019



Read: Mark 14:35-36, Romans 8:14-17

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (NIV Mark 14:35-36)

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. ” (NIV Romans 8:14-17)

Study: Very few of us know the Aramaic language. In prayer, both Jesus and Paul used one Aramaic word so unique that most English translations retain its Aramaic form: abba. Abba was “a respectful but intimate way to address one’s father. Although a few parables in much later sources compare God with an “abba,” it does not appear in Jewish prayers (unlike “Father”). To our knowledge, this way of directly addressing God seems to have been unique to Jesus Some Christians, chiefly those raised in liturgical churches or on the stately 1611 English of the King James Version of the Bible, see highly formal speech as vital to prayer. (Of course, the King James Version’s English was not stiffly formal in its day— Shakespeare used it in his popular plays.) How does Jesus’ use of an intimate (though respectful) family term to address God challenge the idea that we must be rigidly formal when we pray? On the other hand, learning about abba leads others to move toward a type of “Hey, dude” informality in their prayers. At times that approach loses any sense of awe or respect and begins to treat God as just “one of the gang.” How can you develop an “abba” type of prayer closeness and trust with God that respects him as Creator and Lord, not just a “pal”?

Pray: Dear God, you are my Creator and Lord, always worthy of awe and respect. You are also my abba, loving, caring—and worthy of trust because you are Creator and Lord. Teach me how to live always confident that you are “for” me. Amen.

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