Unfolding Enough: Faith’s Building Blocks


Prayer is simply the acquisition of sacred language. A conversation between man and God.

A baby spends the beginning of life soaking up language before words are spoken. They listen, hear, and understand what we’re saying long before their first word is uttered. Infants communicate first with unhappy cries and sweet smiles. They practice making sounds with soft coos and gurgles. Eventually, words form and for many their first word is “Da-da.”

Read Mark 14:36

  • What did Jesus call God as he prayed in the garden?

Read Galatians 4:6

What do the sons and daughters of God cry out?

The word “Abba” may sound odd to us. Some translate this word to our English equivalent “Daddy.” In the Jewish culture it was a word children used to address their father. Adults often used it when speaking to their elders as well. It was a term of endearment and close relationship (New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, biblegateway.com).

When you begin praying, what name do you most often use for God? Why?

Nowhere in the entire wealth of devotional literature produced by ancient Judaism do we find ‘abbā’ used as a way of addressing God. The pious Jew knew too much of the great gap between God and humanity (Eccl. 5:1) to be free to address God with the familiar word used in everyday family life.

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, biblegateway.com

Sometimes the consistent way we address God signifies the gap we still have between ourselves and the Holy. What thoughts or emotions arise when you consider beginning prayer with the word “Abba” or “Dad”? Why?

Conversation is the building block for all relationships. We aren’t born with a perfect prayer language. We acquire it little by little.

Consider your prayer life as a whole throughout the next few days. When do you pray? How do you pray? What does prayer look like in your life? Has it changed or transformed in some way?

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