Empowered to ...

Empowered to Pray

Prayer is the gift of the Spirit. 
Often we wonder how to pray, when to pray, and what to pray. 
We can become very concerned about methods and techniques of prayer. 
But finally it is not we who pray but the Spirit who prays in us.

Paul says:
"The Spirit ... comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how
to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that
cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means
because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God's holy people are always in accordance
with the mind of God"  (Romans 8:26-27).
These words explain why the Spirit is called "the Consoler."

Henri Nouwen

Empowered to Be

Who are we? 
Are we what we do? 
Are we what others say about us? 
Are we the power we have? 

It often seems that way in our society. 
But the Spirit of Jesus given to us reveals our true spiritual identities. 
The Spirit reveals that we belong not to a world of success, fame, or power but to God. 
The world enslaves us with fear; the Spirit frees us from that slavery and restores us
to the true relationship.

That is what Paul means when he says:
"All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons [daughters] of God,
for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear;
you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, 'Abba, Father!'" 
(Romans 8:15).

Who are we? 
We are God's beloved sons and daughters!

Henri Nouwen

Empowered to Receive Love

The Spirit reveals to us not only that God is "Abba, Father"
but also that we belong to God as his beloved children. 
The Spirit thus restores in us the relationship from which all
other relationships derive their meaning.

Abba is a very intimate word.  The best translation for it is:  "Daddy." 
The word Abba expresses trust, safety, confidence, belonging, and most of all intimacy. 
It does not have the connotation of authority, power, and control,
that the word Father often evokes. 
On the contrary, Abba implies an embracing and nurturing love. 
This love includes and infinitely transcends all the love that comes to us from
our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses, and lovers. 
It is the gift of the Spirit.

Henri Nouwen

Empowered to Call God "Abba"

Calling God "Abba, Father" is different from giving God a familiar name. 
Calling God "Abba" is entering into the same intimate, fearless, trusting,
and empowering relationship with God that Jesus had. 
That relationship is called Spirit,
and that Spirit is given to us by Jesus and enables us to cry out with him,
"Abba, Father."

Calling God "Abba, Father" (see Roman 8:15; Galatians 4:6) is a cry of the heart,
a prayer welling up from our innermost beings. 
It has nothing do with naming God but everything to do with claiming God
as the source of who we are. 
This claim does not come from any sudden insight or acquired conviction;
it is the claim that the Spirit of Jesus makes in communion with our spirits. 
It is the claim of love.

Henri Nouwen


Remember you are held safe.
You are loved.
You are protected.
You are in communion with God
and with those whom God has sent you.
What is of God will last.
It belongs to the eternal life.
Choose it, and it will be yours.

Henri Nouwen