Sunday, January 22, 2006

The PAPA Prayer

Someone has called the morning coffee “Christian crack’. I must admit that a well-mixed extra large double double from Tim Horton’s scratches my itch in the morning. That being said we all need more than an injection of caffeine to give us purpose and direction in the morning, don’t we?

Tony Campolo used to say that he would begin his day by sliding out of bed and onto his knees and slowing repeating the name, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” He said that this practice helped him to center his day on what was most important.

I picked up a practice from Dallas Willard where I’ll read slowly through Colossians 3 in the morning and ask God to help me live my day according to the powerful realities that Paul mentions in these verses. I also ask God to help me see the events of the day with the eyes of Jesus; pregnant with opportunities for spiritual growth and renewal for those I interact with and myself.

I’ve learned that the detours and interruptions of the day ARE the ministry and work of God laid before me, not obstacles that I need to overcome.

Larry Crabb has a practice that helps him move towards God in the morning. He calls it the Papa Prayer.
Present yourself as you are;
Attend to whatever is deepest within you, whether you are experiencing God’s absence or his presence;
Purge yourself, in brokenness and repentance, of the idolatry that becomes clear; then listen for the strains of divine music as you
Approach God, valuing him as your supreme treasure.

In this prayer it’s important to let God drive me down the path of my dissatisfactions, resentments, fears, guilts, and everything else I like to keep at arm’s length. It's also the opportunity to rediscover the sound of the Father's voice.

Do you have any special practices that help you draw closer to God in the morning, or stay connected throughout the day? If we don't have any we'll be left to live out G. K. Chesterton's prophecy...

“The Christian life has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” G.K. Chesterton

Psalm 139:1-7
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as
light to you.


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