A few months ago I had an amazing experience with what is sometimes called “Imaginative Prayer”. Like many mornings, I started my devotional time by listening to a couple of worship songs. This always helps me get focused and softens my heart.
After inviting the Holy Spirit to come, rest on me and fill my heart with God’s love, I sat quietly, soaking in God’s presence for about five minutes. Then I read Galatians 4:4-7 through slowly three times, dwelling on each word and phrase:
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” (New Living Translation)
As I was dwelling on the passage, I began thinking about the idea of crying out to God, “Abba, Father”. That was something I had never experienced, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like. Then it occurred to me that I should imagine myself as a young boy, coming to the Father. That seemed more fitting with the idea of crying out “Abba, Father”.
As I began thinking of coming to God as a little boy, I suddenly imagined my grandson, Lincoln running to meet me, calling out “Appa, Appa”. That was a scene I could easily identify with, a picture that quickly got me in touch with the intimate feelings of a Father and his son.
It had never occurred to me before how similar the Aramic word “Abba” was to the South Indian “Appa”. This image enabled me to experience God’s love in a powerful way. I wept on and off for 10 or 15 minutes. And the sense of God’s love and the emotion of experiencing his love lingered for several days.
David Benner explains that there are lots of things that we can know at a distance. However, we cannot truly know love from a distance. “Knowing God’s love demands that we receive God’s love— experientially, not simply as a theory. Personal knowledge is never simply a matter of the head.” The Gift of Being Yourself (p. 26).
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU TO EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE?
HOW HAVE YOUR EXPERIENCES OF GOD’S LOVE IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?