Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If I had a bad father, how can I pray to God as Father?

Question from Anonymous:

I had a bad experience with my father when I was growing up. I know Jesus taught us to pray to God as "Our Father," but it's really hard for me when I have such negative images of a father. How do I love my heavenly Father when I never felt loved by my earthly father?

Answer from Pastor Bob:

My heart goes out to you. We have talked privately about this, and I thank you for giving me permission to post this answer so that others with a similar struggle could benefit.
Here is a key verse you may want to memorize: "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." (Psalm 27:10, NIV)
Perhaps it will help to read scripture about God as Father, and learn what a good father should be. Then focus on developing your relationship with your Heavenly Father, thanking Him for being there for you, even when your earthly father was not. Notice these qualities of God that make us love Him as our Father:
1) Because He takes care of us. Psalm 68:5, Luke 12:30, Matthew 7:9-11.
2) Because He disciplines us for our good. Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:7-8, 1 Peter 1:17.
"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son He delights in." (Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV)
3) Because He loves us. 1 John 4:7-10.
4) Because He forgives us. Read the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24.
5) Because He adopts us as His children. Romans 8:14-17. God adopts us and lets us call Him "Abba," which is Aramaic for "Daddy."
God is not an indulgent uncle, a doting grandfather, or an approving friend. He is a loving Father. He is there for us, to discipline us for our good, to guide us, provide for us, and never will He leave us. Get to know Him as your Heavenly Father, and let His love replace the rejection you felt from your earthly father.


  1. Quick correction:

    "Abba" does not mean "daddy".

    If this were so, we might expect to see other words in the New Testament, such as "pappas" (Greek for "daddy") where instead we find "ho pater" ("father").

    Attested forms for "daddy" in Aramaic include, "papi," "baba" and "abbi" depending on dialect.

    More about this can be found here:

    About the Aramaic Language


  2. Steve, thanks for sharing the information.

  3. I understand the concept of what Pastor Bob says, however, I fail to understand how excatcly is God with me. I mean, "how does he receive us"? What does that do for me or anyone, Pastor? I dont mean to be negative, but I had bad mother and father. I been abused and abandoned as a child. When I was about 6 years old I was raped, I lived on the streets and eaten from trash! Now, if Joseph was sold by his brothers to travelers by purpose of God, What was the purpose of my misfortune???

  4. Alberto, I do not know what the purpose of your misfortune may be, but I do believe God has a purpose. You gave a good illustration, in that God had a good purpose through Joseph's misfortune, and He can do the same for you. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord told the Israelites that he had plans for their welfare, for a future and a hope, despite the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. And sure enough, they returned to their homeland years later.
    Regarding how God "receives" us, He receives us when we receive His gift of eternal life by simple faith. John 3:16 says that God offered that gift through Jesus Christ to all who believe. John 1:12 says that all who received Him, He gave them the right to be children of God. Come to Him in simple faith and trust, and He will gladly receive you into his kingdom. See Matthew 11:28-30.