Day 19 – Sunday
The PAPA Prayer
Today I’d like to recommend a book to you. The PAPA Prayer, by Larry Crabb, Integrity Publishers, © 2006, is a must-read for people who are trying to get closer to God. I’ve said before that we need to get to a point in our lives where we want God more than anything else. The PAPA prayer is about just that—relating to God in prayer, rather than constantly asking for things in prayer.
The PAPA prayer is a prayer-format. For those who may not be familiar with prayer formats, they are simple devices that help you stay on track when you pray. If you’re not sure what to pray for, or if your mind wanders, then a prayer format may be helpful to you. You may have heard of the A.C.T.S. method of prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). Or perhaps you’ve used the J.O.Y. method (Jesus first, Others next, Yourself last). The PAPA prayer is like that. The difference is that I’ve found it deeply personal. Below, I’ve included the format, from Crabb’s book. I suggest you read the entire book, though. It could very well change the way you pray.
P: Present yourself to God without pretense. Be a real person in the relationship Tell Him whatever is going on inside you that you can identify.A: Attend to how you’re thinking of God. Again, no pretending. Ask yourself, “How am I experiencing God right not?” Is He a vending machine, a frowning father, a distant, cold force? Or is He your gloriously strong but intimate Papa?”P: Purge yourself of anything blocking your relationship with God. Put into words whatever makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed when you’re real in your relationship with Him. How are you thinking more about yourself and your satisfaction than about anyone else, including God and His pleasure?A: Approach God as the “first thing” in your life, as your most valuable treasure, the Person you most want to know. Admit that other people and things really do matter more to you right now, but you long to want God so much that every other good thing in your life becomes a “second-thing” desire.
Crabb says, “Once you hear from God, you’re hooked. You love your own voice less, and that feels like freedom. You realize you’ll never hear a sweeter voice than His, at once infinitely strong and infinitely gentle, the blended voice of the Lion and the Lamb. Listening for that voice becomes what you most want to do. The PAPA prayer is one to way to become a listener and to hear what God is saying, and in the process to experience Christ’s life coming out of you.”
If what you want most when you pray is to get the things that are on your list, then the PAPA prayer is the wrong way to pray for you. But if you want the most is intimacy with God, then I highly recommend reading the book and praying the PAPA prayer. It may just transform your prayer life.