“Abba, Father, he said, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
Through the years of my spiritual journey, I have bumped into Scriptures that have both stunned and amazed me. The first was in the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus prayed to God as, “Abba” or “Daddy” in English (Mark 14:36). It became clear to me that I can call God, “Daddy” when I read in Romans 8:14–17, 23; Galatians 3:26; 4:6; and Ephesians 1:4–5. Jesus invites me to settle in and cuddle up to the God who invites me to call Him “Daddy”.
Although “Daddy” is the best English translation of “Abba”, so many people have told me that this word is foreign to them even in their human family relationships. It is so far from what Jesus is trying to teach us that really knowing God is more than knowing Him as Father; it is actually knowing Him as “Daddy” (or Dad, Papa, Pop). Every culture is invited to insert the name for father that signifies the closest intimacy you can imagine from a paternal figure.
God is worthy of honor and glory. Abba examines only one facet of the infinite nature of God. God is the Creator. He is holy. He is omnipotent. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is all that and more, and still He invites you to cry out, “Abba” when you address Him. Understanding the mystery of what it means to call God, “Daddy” is a beginning to examining His full nature. It is the perfect place to start if you really desire to know God.
When I first read the Scriptures that told me to call God “Daddy,” I couldn’t even come close to comprehending what they meant. What began as abstract knowledge slowly took form and created an intimate connection to God. It happened in much the same way erosion shapes stone. Like water dripping slowly and consistently, a calm and transforming presence broke through the hard places in my soul that had never imagined God could love me like a daddy. I have a strong feeling that many other Christians have never fully comprehended that praying is actually talking to our Dad.
The most remarkable result of coming to know God as “Abba-Daddy” in my life is that I have begun to grasp who I really am. Knowing God as Dad has given me the strength I need to face my problems, even when God doesn’t solve them for me or take them away. When you learn to pray to God as Father, you will see yourself as God’s child, too. He will stand you before the mirror of your soul and reveal your true identity. Something will radically change in the deepest recesses of your spiritual self when you learn to call Him “Daddy”..
Henri Nouwen describes it this way: “Calling God Abba is entering into the same intimate, fearless, trusting, and empowering relationship with God that Jesus had. That relationship is called Spirit, and that Spirit is given to us by Jesus and enables us to cry out with him, Abba, Father. . . It has nothing to do with naming God but everything to do with claiming God as the source of who we are.”
Calling God “Daddy” can be the most empowering experience of your spiritual life.