Mark is the only Gospel writer who recorded that Jesus Christ addressed His Father in prayer using the Aramaic term Abba, meaning “Father” or “my Father.” There is no scriptural record of anyone before Jesus Christ addressing God in this manner. Typical Old Testament ways of addressing God in prayer included “O Lord God,” “O Lord God of hosts,” “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel,” and “O God of our salvation.” In later years, some people developed a tendency to address God with a litany of titles that paid homage to His sovereignty, glory, graciousness, and other divine attributes. The Savior’s use of “Abba, Father” was a striking contrast to this practice. It was both simple and profound; it indicated a close, personal relationship with a personal Being. The Savior taught His followers to address God in prayer as their Father: “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of the significance of the Savior’s plea to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane: “In that most burdensome moment of all human history, with blood appearing at every pore and an anguished cry upon His lips, Christ sought Him whom He had always sought—His Father … [Mark 14:36]. This is such a personal moment it almost seems a sacrilege to cite it. A Son in unrelieved pain, a Father His only true source of strength, both of them staying the course, making it through the night—together” (“The Hands of the Fathers,” Ensign, May 1999, 16). On another occasion Elder Holland commented further:
“Mark says [Jesus] fell and cried, ‘Abba, Father.’ This is not abstract theology now. This is a Son pleading with His Father, ‘All things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me’ (Mark 14:36).
“Who could resist that from any child, especially the perfect Child? ‘You can do anything. I know You can do anything. Please take this cup from me.’
“That whole prayer, Mark noted, was asking that if it were possible, this hour would be stricken from the plan. The Lord said, in effect, ‘If there is another path, I would rather walk it. If there is any other way—any other way—I will gladly embrace it.’ … But in the end, the cup did not pass.
Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God and is His Only Begotten. I love this principle because it is an extremely important moment for us to remember. Christ gave us the perfect example of how we must follow Heavenly Father’s plan for us. We must remember that we have to follow God’s will, not our own.