my father

the devil creeps in some days.

whispering _

you're good enough. 
you are not smart enough
your mom isn't going to make it til next christmas... 
THAT decision was the wrong one
you are not a good teacher, or daughter, OR sister
you should be at THIS place in your life.. . and you're NOT.. you NEVER will be
you are weak. 

when i was growing up, my mom always used to say: whenever you feel evil around you.. or the devil tearing you down to call out:: :

In the name of JESUS, get behind me satan. 

she told my sister and I, that at Jesus' name the devil cowers.

In The Wisdom of Tenderness, Brennan Manning relates a story about an older nun he met on a retreat. She needed guidance in the late hours of one night.

[46]She began to cry. A small, frail woman, she shook with the sobbing.  

After a long discussion about her emotionally and physically abusive childhood, Manning asked if he could pray with her.

I prayed with her for several minutes for inner healing. Then I asked her, 'Sister, would you be willing to go off to a quiet place every morning for the next month, sit down in a chair, close your eyes, upturn your palms, and pray this one phrase over and over: 'Abba, I belong to you'? 

She looked skeptical, so I explained it further. "It's a prayer of exactly seven syllables, and seven syllable correspond perfectly to the rhythm of our breathing.
Inhale on Abba; exhale on the I belong to you.

At the outset, you'll say it with your lips alone, but as your mind becomes conscious of the meaning, you'll push your head down into your heart in a figurative sense, so that 'Abba, I belong to you' becomes what the French call un cri de coeur, a heartfelt cry from the depth of your being, 
establishing who you are, 
why you're here, 
and where you're going.

It's a prayer you can pray while working in the garden, 
listening to music, driving a car, crossing the street, 
watching television, reading a book, baking a cake, lying in bed. 
When you pray it dozens and dozens of times each day, and it becomes syncopated with the rhythm of your heartbeat, you can, as Jesus says in Luke 18, 
pray all day long and never lose heart.

I asked the nun, 'Will you try it?'
She replied,'Yes'

Hoping on days when thoughts haunt you, or the devil tosses doubts in your direction  _ this prayer places you in His arms.
where you've never left.

Abba, I belong to You.


  1. Beautiful. My mom told me to do the same thing growing up, and it still helps me to this day. I love these words from Brennan Manning, too.

  2. Brennan Manning is amazing. I was able to hear him speak once and he talked about Abba, I belong to you. I still hear his garbled New York accent when I think about it. He showed up at the event wearing ragged jeans with patches, the ever present ragamuffin. Thanks for the memories