In 2008 I read a book that included this quote and it has stuck with me ever since. A man had given a Spanish Bible to a tribal lady in Latin America, and though Spanish was widely spoken in the area, she questioned why her local language was unknown by God. This question motivated the man to translate the Bible into the Cakchiquel tongue. Indeed God knows even these local dialects!
In Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, the author has this to say in relation to this Cakchiquel woman's question. I loved this! And hope you will as well!
Note: The Tefillah are a form of Jewish prayers beginning with "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD" and then a series of 18 standing prayers all of which are done in Hebrew.
Now this from author Kenneth Bailey:
The Tefillah are in Hebrew. The modern consensus among scholars is that the Lord's Prayer begins with the Aramaic word abba and therefore we can assume that Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the Aramaic of the daily communication rather than the classical Hebrew of written texts. The Aramaic-speaking Jew in the first century was accustomed to recite his prayers in Hebrew, not Aramaic. Similarly, Muslim worshipers always recite their traditional prayers in the classical Arabic of seventh-century Arabia. Both Judaism and Islam have a sacred language. Christianity does not. This fact is of enormous significance.
The use of Aramaic in worship was a major upheaval in the assumptions of Jesus' day. It meant that for Jesus no sacred language was "the language of God." . . .
Jesus lived in a world where the public reading of the Bible was only in Hebrew, and prayers had to be offered in that language. When Jesus took the giant step of endorsing Aramaic as an acceptable language for prayer and worship, he opened the door for the New Testament to be written in Greek (not Hebrew) and then translated into other languages.
It follows that if there is no sacred language, there is no sacred culture. All of this is a natural outgrowth of the incarnation. If the Word is translated from the divine to the human and becomes flesh, then the door is opened for that Word to again be translated into other cultures and languages. ... The long term result is a global church of more than two billion people, almost all of whom have the Bible available in their own language. Believers are thereby able to break into God's presence using the language of the heart. We are so accustomed to this heritage that we scarcely notice its beginning, which was Jesus' choice of Aramaic as the language of the Lord's Prayer. Jesus affirmed the translatability of the message when he began this prayer with the great word abba. (pg. 95)Is this great news or what?!I don't have to learn classical Hebrew or Arabic or any other "sacred language" in order to communicate with God. My Creator knows me -- and He understands my language!