Abba, Father

Mike Focht 1/5/2024

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Romans 8:15-16


The Holy Spirit has revealed something incredible, extraordinary, and eternal for all the people of God. A truth that no man could ever declare or infer on his own without clear Biblical warrant. That truth is that you and I can call God, Abba, or Father. Abba is a word of childlike intimacy. It is Dad, Daddy, or Dada. It is a word that is, in fact, very simple to say. A toothless child can say it. Abba was no doubt many a child’s very first word.

   Even so, the inferences of such an intimate name bring our adultish faith to a place of conflict.      We must read this Word of God repeatedly until it is seared on our hearts and has banished foolish grown-up thoughts from our minds. This is the truth of God, and He told us because He wants us to know. 

   First, there is a temptation to think that speaking to God as our Abba is prideful. Is He not also the Almighty God and the Creator of all? He most certainly is. He is also our Father. Praying to God as your Abba doesn’t mean we are acting closer to God than we are. To even blabber His name in genuine need is to come to Him in humble and obedient submission. Relating to God as our Father is not an expression of pride but a humble approach on a path of His design! 

   To wrestle with the intimacy of calling God, Abba is not wrestling with pride but with the Holy Spirit, who revealed this incredible relational bond. The Holy Spirit is teaching us how close He is to us, how He ‘fathers’ us and comes to us, not just we to Him! Instead, allow the Holy Spirit to guide your fallible heart and mind into the truth of God the Father as your Abba. 

   Second, calling God Abba can also seem mechanical. As if we were calling God Abba to get Him to act like we think any Abba should. Praying to God as your Abba does not mean we are trying to mechanically or manipulatively get God to do something. He is our Perfect Heavenly Father, so He will never be forced to do anything. 

   The term Abba touches the open access we have with Him. It reminds us that He will always bend His ear, turn His face, and acknowledge those crying out for their Abba. This is the unique privilege of God Almighty’s sons and daughters, and He wants us to know that. 

   We may come to Him at any time, place, and circumstance as accepted in the Beloved. If we have His Spirit, we are always His son or daughter, and nothing will ever change that. There are those—may God save them!—on this earth who cannot truly call Him Abba. They do not have His Spirit in them, bearing witness of sonship. He is our Perfect, Eternal, and Heavenly Father, and He is happy to have His children call to Him with the intimacy and love we would show our faulty, temporary, and earthly fathers. 

   Finally, there is also a temptation to think that calling God our Abba is for more immature and emotional believers. Mature believers grow past that type of emotionalism to more “mature” names of God. This attitude is spiritual smugness at its best. 

   Jesus Christ made it incredibly clear that those of the kingdom of God come to it like children. He took up the little child and put that child before the disciples, not so that the child could learn to be like them but so that they could learn to emulate that child’s simplicity and faith. God the Father paid an incredible price to adopt us justly. Let us give Him the fruit due to His name by calling Him Abba or Father in childlike faith!