Posted by Brennan Manning on 21 September 2016

I will never forget a retreat experience years ago in the Midwest. It was a rather large gathering, about 7000 people. Each night’s service was followed by the invitation for healing prayer; I would go into a side room and meet with those who felt compelled to come. On one particular night, the line extended well beyond midnight and after finishing, I went straight to bed, not even taking my clothes off I was so exhausted. About three o’clock in the morning, I heard a rap on the door and a squeaky little voice: Brennan, can I talk to you?

I opened the door to a 78 year-old nun. And she began to cry.

Sister? What can I do for you?

We found two chairs in the hallway and her story began.

I’ve never told anyone this in my entire life. It started when I was five years old. My father would crawl into my bed with no clothes on. He would touch me there and tell me to touch him there; he said it’s what our family doctor said we should do. When I was nine, my father took my virginity. By the time I was twelve, I knew of every kind of sexual perversion you read about in dirty books. Brennan, do you have any idea how dirty I feel? I’ve lived with so much hatred of my father and hatred of myself that I would only go to communion when my absence would be conspicuous.

In the next few minutes, I prayed with her for healing. Then I asked her if she would find a quiet place every morning for the next thirty days, sit down in a chair, close her eyes, upturn her palms, and pray this one phrase over and over:

Abba, I belong to you.

It’s a prayer of exactly seven syllables, the number that corresponds perfectly to the rhythm of our breathing.

As you inhale – Abba. As you exhale – I belong to you.

Through her tears she agreed: Yes, Brennan, I will.

One of the most moving and poetic follow-up letters I’ve ever received came from this sister. In it she described the inner healing of her heart, a complete forgiveness of her father, and an inner peace she’d never known in her 78 years. She concluded her letter with these words:

A year ago, I would’ve signed this letter with my real name in religious life – Sister Mary Genevieve. But from now on, I’m Daddy’s little girl.

Beware, this is not sloppy sentimentality or indulgent wishful thinking. But rather a woman who dared to pray in the child-like trust and deep reverence that Jesus said would mark a disciple and in doing so discovered the furious love of her Abba.
The greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life in Jesus is the Abba experience. I can only stutter and stammer about the life changing power of the Abba encounter.

My name is Brennan Manning and I’m Daddy’s little boy.

[Taken from ‘The Furious Longing of God’ by Brennan Manning, published by David C Cook, reused with permission.]

 

More like this

Never Alone - Why two new worship songwriters want to help people recover courage

We want to use the gifts and tools God has given us—in the context of singing and making music—to serve and encourage the Church as well as to take part in the renewal He is bringing. That renewal will enable us to stand firm and impact our spheres of influence with the Gospel in a day when culture is set against us.

Song Devotional - Majesty In A Manger

The single most significant point that there has ever been in human history didn’t start out all that impressive. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus began with a birth that confounded expectations and rewrote the rules. And yet, there was majesty in the manger. But why did it have to be that way? Join this little wander through the Bible's back streets, as worship gets truly festive.

EZmix 2 - does it do what it says on the tin?

Songwriting and recording are not the same thing! We like stating the obvious! However, for many songwriters, the ability to record a good demo whether to play to their church or to a publisher or label is an important part of the process. A lot of time can be given to recording a good demo but it is often in the mixing and the mastering where our knowledge runs out. New from Toontrack is their EZmix 2 software plugin. We sent it down to Cornwall to Kristian Ponsford and asked him to plug it in and give it a go….