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.” – Romans 8:14-15
Dear Heavenly Father…
I grew up being taught to start each prayer by saying, “Dear Heavenly Father.” It is completely engrained into my brain. Whether praying with my kids each night or praying grace for a meal, it is how I start. I don’t really think about what it means or why I do it; it’s just what I say.
Sunday, coming home from church, my wife and I were talking to our girls about what they talked about during their classes. One of their classes was going through how to pray, and they discussed about the importance of addressing God as our Father. They said it refers to God’s closeness to us because by addressing Him as Father we mentally make the association of God being close like a father.
Should I Call God, Father?
As we discussed it on the way home, we realized that none of us call our father, Father. We either call them Dad or Daddy. Father is just the term that we use to reference God. For us, it doesn’t represent closeness or relationship; it only represents a name for God.
I heard it said once that God is Abba, but He is still our Father. This preacher was discouraging the use of Dad or Daddy because in his opinion it took away our reverence for God. I didn’t have kids at the time, so I just took it as truth.
What Should We Call God?
Now, as a dad, I wouldn’t want my daughters to call me, Father. It’s not the name I have developed with my girls. There is no intimacy in that phrase in our family. Dad represents that they know their place in our family. They know they can come to me, ask questions of me, get my attention, and be sure to find my love.
I don’t know the best word that would represent that to you, but maybe it is not the one you are currently using. When Jesus went to the cross, He removed every barrier that hindered our access to God. He is truly our Father and our Dad. He loves us with every fiber in Him and will never reject us.
For me I will start to experiment with calling Him, Dad. What is something you want to start calling Him?
Thank you for this post. You’re probably wondering why I am commenting on a slightly older post, but I’m seeking out encouragement, since I’ve been feeling worthless and depressed over life for too long and want to know and be aware if God loves me, and not just loves me (as love can be there without any feeling), but delights in me, too. I have a question about this post, though. What do I call God, if I don’t have the best relationship with my dad? I feel much closer and more secure in my relationship with my mom, but I don’t view God as a woman. So calling Him “Mom” seems strange. And I don’t have any close relationships or friendships (I have a couple casual friendships) with any male at all. It’s hard not to view God differently than I view my dad, which is more discouraging and makes me further from God. What would you suggest to someone like me who can’t imagine God being one of those fathers who wants to envelope his children in his love at all times, but wants to be close to God and experience His intimacy that other Christians talk about?
First of all, many people have this exact same trouble with relating to God. I’m sorry you had that experience with your father. Jesus said that no one comes to the father except through Him (John 14:6), and if you have seen me, you have seen the father (John 14:9). Jesus wants to make the Father known to us, so that the love Jesus and Him share, may be in us (John 17:26).
If you are discouraged in how to relate to God, as Father, then focus more intently at Jesus. He comes as a friend. He believes in you, wants what is best for you, and loves to spend time with you. Spend time with Jesus, enjoy being with Him, and when you are ready (which there is no pressure), ask Him to reveal more of the Father to you.
Being able to see God as a loving Father is very important to our Christian faith, but Jesus came to show us how our view of the Father is working against us. Jesus sits down with us and wants to speak to us. Read those stories in the Gospels of how He interacted with people. He wants to do the same for you.
Imagine yourself as one of the disciples, sitting around doing life, and having Jesus come by and asking you to follow Him. Jesus singling you out and saying I want to spend time with you. See yourself as one of the people desperate for a miracle, and Jesus looking right at them and saying your faith has made you well. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Read those stories and tell Jesus, I want to see you in this way. Help my unbelief.
Rachel, thank you for coming by. I love your questions and your sincere desire to experience God. I pray that you will find even more enjoyable encounters with God than you ever imagined.
I love calling Him either Father, Abba, or YHWH.