We all want a 'papa' - a relationship, that safe feeling we have with someone we trust implicitly. You know that big strong man who wraps you in his arms and makes you fee so safe that nothing can harm you (even if you haven't experienced it, you've likely dreamed of it) - that's what we all want and long for. Dr. Crabb tells us, through a personal story, that the term 'papa', instead of 'father' or 'dad', "close[es] a gap between two persons". (p. 4). Although, personally, I would argue that 'Dad' also accomplishes that when compared to 'Father'. And I think it also depends on the relationship you have with your Dad. But I can totally see his point - using the term 'papa' is more childlike and puts you in a more vulnerable and intimate relationship with the one you are addressing.
Whether our biological or earthly dad was good and godly and safe ... or not, we all long for a 'papa'. "We yearn for a strong man we can count on to be there for us, to want us, to look after us, to delight in us; someone we want to get close to, a lion of a man who invites us to draw near to him and rest in his powerful but gentle love". (p. 5) Here's the bombshell: we have one - GOD! :) But, for some reason, we back away from that kind of intimate relationship with Him. What are we afraid of?!
I remember a time, especially as a child but also well into high school and college years, when I felt more of that type of relationship with God. I'd have dreams and these dreams mostly were coloured in blue (I think this is why blue is one of my most favourite colours). In these dreams, even when I was grown and out of the house, I felt like a little girl, peaking around the corner waiting to catch her Daddy's (Papa's?) eyes. I knew that Daddy was God and there was always a figure there that I knew was this God I saw as a Daddy (though I never saw clearly what that figure looked like other than He was big, strong and comfort flowed from Him like you could not even imagine). And, in those dreams, when that little girl caught His eye, she ran gleefully to Him, a smile covering her face, a giggle at her lips, and she (I) threw herself in His arms. And the rest of the dream was just the two of us sitting and talking. I think this is what the PAPA prayer could be like. And this is the relationship I long to return to with Him - one where I can just sit and talk and feel safe. :)
The other posts in this series can be found here.