“Abba” [breathed in],
“I belong to You” [breathed out].
The “Abba Prayer,” as the late Brennan Manning would call it, was his morning mantra. He spoke about this regularly, and wrote about what he called “the Abba Experience” most passionately in his book, “Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging” (which I highly recommend).
“Define yourself radically as one beloved of God.”
This one sentence would summarize the noticeable healing in my last five years. Oh, the process has been a lot longer, and there have been many contributors; but it is this radical self identification that marks the profound filling of the deep wounds in my life.
When Jesus calls God, “Abba,” Joachim Jeremias writes, “we are confronted with something new and astounding. Herein lies the great novelty of the gospel.” Manning tells us that Jesus “invites and calls us to share the same intimate and liberating relationship” with His Abba (“daddy” in Aramaic).
Some scholars even go so far to say that the New Testament words of Jesus are Greek translations of His Aramaic mother tongue. This would mean that the Lord’s Prayer may more rightly begin, “Our Abba…” (We get a foretaste of this in passages like Jesus’ prayer in Mark 14:36, and Paul’s affirmation of our adoption in Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:6).
Therefore, join me in what we know as The Lord’s Prayer, with one intentional translation change:
Our Abba who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven;
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever, Amen.
I readily recommend Darrell W. Johnson’s ill-titled book, “Fifty-Seven Words that Change the World: A Journey Through the Lord’s Prayer.” Johnson beautifully leads us through the familiar prayer with keen and prayerful insights.