Saturday, March 28, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 4: Our Father, Aba-na

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)

In Matthew's record of the Model Prayer, Jesus begins with the words "Our Father". He is not just my personal Father, nor simply the Father of the people who attend the same local church I attend or even the same denomination. "Our Father" indicates that He is the Father of all those who put their trust in Him, and we are all His children, brothers and sisters together as children of God. 

The rampages of hate conducted by ISIS toward believers in recent months have made me even more aware of the brotherhood of believers. When I saw that ISIS had kidnapped 90 Christians in Syria, I wept. They are my family. They are your family, and they are suffering unspeakable torment and pain because of their faith in Our Father. 

As I considered their kidnapping, I wondered about what language they speak in Syria (Arabic), how "Our Father" translates in Arabic, and how Syrian Christians refer to Our Father, the One who is Father of us all. The transliteration to English is aba-na. Isn't that a beautiful name? Since that time, I've used the Arabic name for God when I pray as a reminder that I share the same Father as my brothers and sisters from Syria who have been kidnapped by ISIS.  


Praying with their language, even if only in this one word, has made me much more cognizant of my relationship with my family in chains, much more concerned, more brokenhearted. When I read of the travesty of Boko Haram in Nigeria, it breaks my heart because they are my people. They are family, and much loved. These Syrian Christians are my people, my family, and I long to do something. 

Sometimes I forget that I can do something. In fact, you and I can do something that just might rock the world of those vicious ISIS soldiers. We can pray, and a perfect place to begin is with Aba-na. Our Father. Use the words our Syrian family uses as a reminder of our connection to them.

As we pray today, let's spend more time praying for our family in chains around the world than we do for ourselves. Pray for those being tortured by ISIS, those being brutalized by Boko Haram, and by all the other persecutors of the world. Pray for protection from their persecutors, quick deliverance, and that their faith would stay strong. Pray that their suffering would be limited and that their example of faithfulness would bring conviction and salvation to their captors. Pray for those who persecute as well as those who are persecuted. 

Those Syrian Christians are our family, and Aba-na is the Father of us all, so let's be faithful  to do the one thing that is likely to make the most difference, and pray without ceasing. 

... The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16 NASB

ps - That's a picture of my human daddy. As much as my earthly father loved me, Our Heavenly Father loves us even more. He listens we pray, so be sure to take our concerns our family in chains to Him.