The Bible just blew my mind. Again.
When Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name", (Matthew 6:9) I have been taught well that the word Jesus used for "Father" is the word "Abba." It means "Daddy" or "Poppa." It's a term of close endearment. Of intimacy with a GREAT dad. It's the word a trusting child uses when he crawls up in the lap of a gentle and good father.
I have relied upon this concept many times in prayer. The concept that I have a good dad I can call upon in times of need radically changed my attitude in approaching him. It dramatically changed my perspective in times of difficulty. Instead of seeing a harsh ogre or an uncaring deity that is upsetting my happy little world, I now see Him as a good Dad who is allowing difficulty into my life for immensely wise reasons: for discipline as a good Dad would, (Hebrews 12:5-11) for training as a good Dad would, (James 1:2-4) etc. And yet as a good Dad I know He would never, ever abandon His child. He always walks through hardship WITH us: "When you pass through the waters, I [the God of the Universe, your Daddy] will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." (Isaiah 43:2 ESV)
So I have come to deeply depend on the fact that He is my good Dad. So what blew my mind just now?
The next words: "Hallowed be thy name." In other words, may you be regarded as holy. Set apart. Transcendent. Pure. May there be reverence for you.
In Jesus's simple and compact prayer, which is to serve as a model for our own prayers, nothing got left out. He wanted to ensure that we both have a nearness AND a respect. A closeness AND a deference. Endearment AND esteem.
He is leading us to be ready at all times to both hop up in His lap AND a bow at His feet.
As far as I know, this combination of concepts is unique in all the religious world. And I would say it's even very rare in Christendom. Many who claim to be Christians act chummy-chummy with the Father but have little apparent respect for His authority, Law and wrath. "We are not under law but under grace" they quote from Romans 6:14, dancing irreverently in their sin as though they have a kind but blind father who only doles out candy and kisses.
And then there are many who claim to be Christians who have no concept of the Fatherhood of God, who only think of His authority, Law and wrath. "Sin will have no dominion over me" they quote from Romans 6:14, cowering at the thunderclap of His displeasure against unrighteousness, or casting the lightning bolts themselves against their fellow man.
Both of these groups of people would do well to read the entire verse, and the next: "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!" (ESV) How well they would be served by meditating on both the kind Fatherhood of God AND the immense wall of glory belonging to the King of kings and Master of the universe.
And now for application: Both of these groups of people are extremes in the church, but they represent extreme ends of a spectrum of belief about God. So where do you lie on the spectrum? Would it do you well to spend time in the gentle Father's arms? Would you be served by asking yourself, "If God appeared in my living room -- and I didn't die -- what would change in my life?"
Go pray. Go hug a tornado.