The third week of Advent is traditionally a time to consider John the Baptist, who is described in 1 John 1:8 as ‘a witness to the light’. Today we will think about how we view God.

Isaiah 9:2,6

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

When you pray, what do you call God? Jesus taught his disciples to pray ‘Our Father…’ and to begin by reminding themselves of who God is. And the Bible is full of different names for God, such as the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8), ‘my rock’ (Psalm 18:2) and Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). Each of these names helps us to see a different aspect of God’s character, and gives us an opportunity to relate to him afresh.

Photo: Mark Ewell. A Deaf woman signs 'Jesus' as she prays during a church service in Bangkok, Thailand.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him and said ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29), he was pointing out that Jesus had come to fulfil the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and to save the world. By witnessing to this truth, he enabled others to put their trust in Jesus.

Language surveyor Timothy* describes what he learnt from a visit to Thailand: ‘People told us: “The most important part of prayer is… what you call yourself and what you call God.” [This shows] your view of the Lord, understanding who you are and who God is.’

For example, most Thai believers usually call themselves ‘servants devoted only to the Most High God’. This phrase shows their dependence on God, their affection for him and their loyalty to him.

Translators carry this principle over into Bible translation in Thai. For example, in John 4, the way the woman at the well describes Jesus changes as time goes on. As she learns more about who Jesus really is, her way of addressing him gains more reverence, depth and affection.

Is there a truth about Jesus you would like to embrace today? Why not try praying in a new way, by addressing him with a name that declares that truth?

Praise God that he is our Everlasting Father, who has adopted us into his global family and made us brothers and sisters in Christ.

Praise the Prince of Peace for coming into this troubled world to reconcile it to himself.

Pray that the Wonderful Counsellor will show you the right path to take today.

Ask our Mighty God to defend those who are working for him.

 

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*Name changed for security reasons.