And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)
A friend and I were speaking earlier this week about the "Model Prayer" passage found in Matthew, specifically about the "our father" and the post concerning aba-na, which is Arabic for "our Father". As if it were not mind-boggling enough that Almighty God loves me and is my heavenly Father, I find that He loves all His children just as much as He loves me.
My friend summed the problem up nicely. "I want to horde Him, keep Him all to myself," she said. I'm afraid my problem is worse than that. My problem is pride. My heavenly Father is so unspeakably kind to me that it is unimaginable that He treats everyone in such a kind and generous manner. As it turns out, I'm not as special and unique as I might hope after all!
Can it be that he treats the people who were kidnapped from Syria as intimately, as tenderly as He treats me? Is He as gentle to them in their suffering as He is in mine? Yes! He is aba-na, our Father, not simply my Father, and all His children are my brothers and sisters. They are my family.
It is more than I can comprehend, but if I could just grasp the edge of this truth, perhaps I would be more concerned about my family in chains because of their love for our Father. If I embraced the truth of the family of God (of which I am just one little member), perhaps I would spend every waking moment in prayer for my family in captivity, suffering and persecuted simply because they are part of the same family as I.
Using the words of my brothers and sisters has helped me remember them as I pray. Today, I'm using another language to speak "our Father". Baba wethu is Zulu for "our Father" and is the language of more than 10 million people, mostly in South Africa, but understood by approximately 50% of the people in Africa.
Today, friends, let us embrace our brothers and sisters around the world as we pray, and remember those who are in chains. Though faceless to us, they are, nevertheless, family and our Father, Baba wethu, loves them every bit as much as He loves me and you.