Tag Archives: Abba Father

WHAT CAN I PRAY FOR?

What Can I Pray For?

by T. L. Wiens

QUESTION

What Can I Pray For?

I recently ran into the idea that we must only pray for what we need. Although I don’t agree, it did get me thinking about what should be the nature of our prayer requests.

David prayed for many things in the Psalms― safety, forgiveness and, at times, his prayers were praise to God. David’s prayers seem to go far beyond what I would label as needs.

In Romans 8:15-16 we read:

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

“Abba” translates as “Daddy.” What would I ask my daddy for?

Since our excitement losing our roof, wind bothers me. Is it a need for the wind not to blow? Some might argue that I need more faith that God won’t let the roof blow away again. Whatever the case, I have prayed on several occasions for the wind to stop blowing and God has heard my prayers. On one particular occasion, I looked at the forecast—three solid days of wind. I cried to God and the wind stopped. We had three days of calm. Was it a need? Not really but God heard me and answered.

Should we limit our prayers to only what we see as needs? Romans 8:26 says:

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

If I don’t even know what to pray for, how do I know when my prayers encompass my needs? I talk to God about everything. I leave my requests in His hands and trust He knows my needs and will differentiate between the frivolous and the necessary. He is, after all, my “daddy.”

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Tammy Wiens

Tammy lives in Saskatchewan with her husband. They have four children. She enjoys gardening, walks along the beach and being on the farm. She has a passion for her faith, studying the Bible and prayer.

She has published two books; Where a Little Rain Comes Down and Making the Bitter Sweet. A short story, “May’s First Christmas” appeared in Christmas Chaos, a collection of stories about Christmas experiences that don’t make the fronts of Christmas cards. “Careful What You Whisper” is another short story about Tammy’s experiences after breaking her back. It can be found in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Visit T. L. Wiens for more information about Tammy’s books and workshops.

 

HOW CAN I PRAY…?

How Can I Pray to God as Father When My Own Father Was So Terrible?

by Mark D. Roberts (reprinted with permission from High Calling Blogs April 15, 2011)

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.”

In yesterday’s post I marveled at the invitation of Jesus to address the God of the universe as “Father.” We are blessed beyond measure to have such a direct, intimate, and loving relationship with God.

Yet, for many Christians I have known, the invitation to speak to God as Father is not a happy one. Yes, they can hear what Jesus means when we calls God Abba and encourages us to do the same. And they can understand that God is a loving, forgiving, faithful Father. But for many believers, their personal experience of their own earthly father has tainted the word “father.” For them, a father is not loving, forgiving, and faithful, but harsh, judgmental, and untrustworthy. As a pastor, I have had many people say to me something like, “How can I pray to God as Father when my own father was so terrible?”

I’m always glad when people feel free to ask this question, though I feel sorry for their experience of an unloving father. My gladness comes because I know they are beginning a process of discovery, one in which they will learn the true nature of God as Father. This learning often includes healing of deep emotional wounds and transformative experiences of God’s love.

How does this happen? There is no magic formula, though such learning almost always includes the raw materials of the Christian life. It is based upon Scripture, where God as Father is revealed as a passionate, lavish lover of his children. In the Gospels, in particular, Jesus paints a stirring picture of his heavenly Father. The transformation of our image of God comes through the work of the Holy Spirit, who takes the truth and works it into our hearts, bringing healing and hope. We come to know God more fully in the context of Christian community, where our brothers and sisters teach, encourage, and pray for us. Often, God brings into our lives mature people, both men and women, who help us to sense through their example and witness the true nature of God the father.

The starting point of this process is the Spirit-inspired recognition that my view of God as Father is limited or tainted by my own personal experience of fathering. Aware of my weakness, yearning to know God more fully and truly, I ask him to reveal himself to me in new ways. The more I come to experience God as Abba, the more his character defines my sense of true fatherhood. Thus, I come to pray to God as Father, not just because Jesus tells me to, but also because in this simple word I am drawn anew into the loving heart of God for me.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of God as Father, to what extent is your image of God shaped by your experience with your own father? Is this helpful to you? Harmful? Or some combination? Given that all human fathers fall short of the divine idea, and many are poor representatives of God the Father, how can we know what it means for God to be our Father?

PRAYER: Father, your Son invited us to speak to you with this term of intimacy and affection. Yet, as you know, for many people, the word “father” is laced with pain. Their human fathers were not like you, dear Lord. They did not love as you love. Often, instead of love, they communicated disapproval, even rejection.

Today, I pray for all who find it hard to speak to you as Father. Make your true nature known to them in a deep and fresh way. Heal the wounds in their hearts. Run to them with your embrace, even as the father once did with his prodigal son.

May I come to know you, dear Father, more truly, more deeply, more fully. And as I do, may I be transformed to live more completely as your forgiven, accepted, and beloved child.

I pray in the name of Jesus, who teaches me to call you Father. Amen.