Baba Yetu

Baba Yetu

I love music and I love to sing. So did my mom. Growing up I would climb onto the kitchen counter and sit next to the radio and together we would listen to the local radio station and sing along with all the songs…

The Lord has continued to bless my life with music and for the past 35 years I’ve had the wonderful privilege of singing with a local choral group. Quite often a piece of music will have a special tug on my heart. Such was this particular one which we performed for the fall concert – The Lord’s Prayer – but… in Swahili?? I couldn’t even pronounce the words, much less understand their meaning (the tower of Babel?). Hmmm… “Unser Vater” in German was easy, but this would take a little hard work (and heart work). However, the melody alone was more than enough to overcome any obstacles and to capture my soul.

My mind and heart held fast to “Our Father,” trying to absorb the depth of those two words and the reality that together with some of my African brothers and sisters we were singing to the same Father. What a thrill to meet them, if only in spirit – so different, yet, really the same. 

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26,27)

How amazing that we are allowed to call God, “Our Father.” But even more, that He calls us His children. Now it becomes very personal, not just a formal beginning to any prayer that rolls off our lips. In an earthly sense, the father image is usually one of authority, leader, teacher, protector, discipliner and whose character displays comfort, wisdom, love, sacrifice and so much more, all of which even the best human father cannot come close to fulfilling. Wow – how much we need a perfect and complete father to be perfect and complete for us: Our Father in Heaven, or as our Swahili brothers and sisters would say, “Baba Yetu.”

I invite you now to join me on a brief journey with our Lord’s Prayer in Swahili and reflections of “life’s music,” giving praise and thanks to our faithful Father.

Baba Yetu

Our Father in Heaven

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

With joy and pain intermingled… longing for the comfort of our Father’s goodness and faithfulness… coming to Him with complete trust and confidence… does He truly hear every cry of the heart… meet our EVERY need?… Move over pride and self-will…

Jina Lako Litukuzwe

Hallowed be Thy Name 

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1)

This white, German Protestant pales next to the beautiful skin, dress, voices and beating of the drums. I love these people and their exuberant praise. By the sea of crystal, we will stand together in white robes bearing the Lamb’s blood, from every land, singing His praises forever. I can’t wait!

Ufalme Wako Uje

Thy Kingdom Come 

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10)

The seed is planted by some, watered by others and continues to grow, reaching to every corner of the world and into the small, parched spaces in our souls – working, working… living, living… waiting, waiting… to hear the shout and the sound of the trumpet. 

Well, it’s starting to make some sense. The words and phrases are SLOWLY coming together.

Mapenzi Yako Yatimiswe Hapa Duniani Kama Huko Mbinguni

Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven 

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Our eyesight is poor… a dim shadow… hints of glory… joy… pain… sorrow… fears… doubts… drinking the cup at the foot of the cross. 

Our voices cross over into one another…blending, but not yet quite together

Utupe Leo Riziki Yetu

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread 

“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

O Father, your goodness is overflowing… you have blessed us beyond measure! Yet, so many beg for crumbs and hearts are empty. And the pictures…starving men, women and oh, the children…my heart breaks. Where, Lord, is Your hand that reaches out and satisfies the desire of every living thing?

Utusamehe Makosa Yetu Kama Sisi Tuavyowas amehe Waliotukosea 

Forgive Us Our Debts as
We Forgive Our Debtors 

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)

Love and mercy flow mingled down…the price You paid to free us… can we free others?

Na Usititie Majar Ibuni Lakini
Utuo Na Yule Mwovu

And Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil 

“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

So little time left to battle the roaring lion. We don’t know the hour or the day… check the armor… watch… and pray without ceasing.
Will we make it? Only one more rehearsal left.

Kwa Kuwa Ufalme Ni Wako, Na Nguvu, Na Utukufu, Hata Milele

For Thine is the Kingdon, the Power and the Glory Forever 

“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.” (Psalm 115:1)

Hallelujah! In His power, glory, strength, mercy and truth: we can stand blameless before our God and Father. All glory and praise belong to Him!

We are finally there, together now, in ONE harmonious sound… different, yet the same… our voices blend in ANY language. 

  “Ha-le-lu-jah! Ha-le-lu-jah! 

For the Lord God
omnipotent reigneth…
And He shall reign forever and ever! 
King of kings and Lord of lords!”  


“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Amen means, “So shall it truly and surely be, for my prayer is much more certainly heard of God than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of Him.” (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 129)

“When we’ve been there 10,000 years,
Bright shining as the sun, 
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.”  

Thank You, BABA YETU! 

Mrs. Eileen Gallimore
Grace Reformed Church
Rapid City, SD

Where the Heart Is

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