There are many names for God in scripture. Let’s look at the one that Jesus used: Abba. Then let’s find your own special name for God to help heal your relationship with him.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 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.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:14-16 NIV)

My dad has a favorite memory about my childhood, which he likes to retell often. It was the day I became old enough to notice the man who was preaching up front in church. I stood up on the pew, pointed and exclaimed, “That’s my daddy!”

My dad was the pastor of a Protestant congregation. He beamed with pride at his little girl’s pronouncement, even though I had interrupted his sermon.

Unknowingly, I had preached my own sermon that day with those three simple words. As Abba-Father’s children, we have good reason to exclaim every single day, “That’s my Daddy!” If you’re not already doing this, let’s begin. It will make a difference.

Imagine that you’re sitting in church and the pastor finishes reading the Gospel passage and looks up at the congregation, ready to explain what you just heard. Suddenly the image of an elderly gentleman transposes itself over the pastor. The pastor is hidden completely. What you see is God the Father. You know it’s him. No doubt about it! Your innermost spirit recognizes him.

God himself has come to explain the Gospel passage!

His voice is calm, soothing, and gentle yet full of certainty. You can see in his face that he is yearning—deeply yearning—for everyone (even the small children) to understand what he is saying. You have never before heard the Bible explained with such clarity. How beautiful he makes the truth sound! Even the part that used to be difficult for you to believe as true, now you know for sure that it is true and you feel very blessed to finally see it from God’s perspective. You can’t help but smile and nod your head as the truth sinks in.

Your smile has caught his eye. He looks directly at you and returns your grin with the biggest, happiest smile you have ever seen. You can feel his gaze penetrating deeply into your soul. You know he can see all your faults, but he is still grinning with delight! He sees everything that is good in you and (you know this with all of your heart) he is very pleased with you.

As he turns back to the rest of the congregation to continue the homily, he winks at you.

Now you feel like standing up and shouting, “That’s my ___!” Daddy. Father. Papa. Abba. What name do you use? Your choice can affect your confidence in him.


Day 1 on the journey includes:

  1. A prayer life based on intimacy with the Father
  2. Find your special prayer-name for God
  3. Meditating with Our Father

Photos for this chapter:

Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947), also known as the “Little Daughter of the Divine Will”, was an incredible mystic. Jesus told her:

I feel sad when they think that I am severe, and that I make more use of Justice than of Mercy. They act with Me as if I were to strike them at each circumstance. Oh! how dishonored I feel by these ones. … by just taking a look at my life, they can but notice that I did only one act of Justice – when, in order to defend the house of my Father, I took the ropes and snapped them to the right and to the left, to drive out the profaners. Everything else, then, was all Mercy: Mercy my conception, my birth, my words, my works, my steps, the Blood I shed, my pains –everything in Me was merciful love. Yet, they fear Me, while they should fear themselves more than Me. (June 9, 1922)

* * *

My best, longest childhood friend was Mary Cleary. It just doesn’t seem suitable to pray to God and call him Mary. It does help, however, to project onto God the qualities about Mary Cleary that I enjoyed so much.

Terry and best friend Mary in 1972

It was my friend Mary who introduced me to the fun of bowling. “You’ll like it,” she told me.

“Let’s go!” I trusted her. I believed her. No question about it, I would enjoy bowling. So I asked my dad for permission and he told me, “No.”

Oops, my dad had disappointed me again. I felt personally rejected when he rejected my request. Making matters worse, he offered no explanation.

As a teenager, I had become bold when Dad’s responses made no sense to me. So I demanded to know, “Why not?”

Of course, he didn’t like this and responded with anger. I began to cry. Finally, the truth came out: He said he was trying to protect me. He didn’t like bowling because he wasn’t good at it, and he was sure that I wouldn’t like it either.

 

© 2021 by Terry A. Modica

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