He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:35-36 (NLT)
According to Strong’s Concordance, the term Abba means, “Father, customary title used of God in prayer. Abba, approximating a personal name, framed by the lips of infants betokens unreasoning trust. Father expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship by the child. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.” The New Strong’s Concordance.
The above verse shows Jesus’ relationship with His Father. He addresses Him with a child-like expression and an adult expression. We see His trust in His Father as He is about to go to the cross for us. In my opinion, this is a prayer for strength and compassion and trust in what is about to happen.
How often are we in a position where we want to pray like this? We know God is in control, that He loves us and yet do we approach Him in a child-like way? Do we have a child-like trust in Him? Knowing, from experience in times of looming appointments or situations I tend to allow dread to fill me instead of trust. In those times I have to put myself into a quiet place alone to truly remember that I trust in God to do what is appointed for me.
There is a man in our church who is an example to me when he prays. His prayers begin with ‘Papa’. A simple address for a mighty God. The first time I heard him pray I was stunned at such a familiar greeting. As he continued I realized that this man knows God. He spends time with Him and is accustomed talking with Him. There is no straight laced formality. He comes to our God and is honest with Him.
It is an incentive for me to get to the place in prayer where I can imagine myself crawling up into our Father’s lap, leaning in and listen to His heartbeat. When I was a child I remember being at an aunt’s house with my parents. The adults were sitting around the table talking and I climbed into my mother’s lap and sat curled up, listening to her heartbeat while she talked with the others at the table. It was a comforting moment in my memory. I have had those times in prayer also. Those are the times where I can truly say, Abba, Father, Papa, I trust you.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 (NLT)