I rode across rural Arkansas in a car once with my friend, Paul, who spontaneously broke into a prayer that started with “Papa God…” At the time, I was a young know-it-all from the Bible belt and Paul was an eager new believer from southern California (he had come to Jesus at Saddleback Church, where I would later be a pastor). At the time, I knew there had to be some problem with the way Paul flippantly approached the holy, almighty Creator of the universe. But. I. Was. Wrong.
And my friend Paul was right. He took his cue from the Apostle Paul who said,
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” - Romans 8:15 (NLT)
That “Abba, Father,” is a cry of affection from a young, adopted child to our great big Papa God, which is a good translation of the phrase. We are often so wrapped up in the proper order and wording of our prayer that we fail to just cry out in sweet affection, “Papa God!” Like little children, when we are afraid, overwhelmed, confused, threatened or when we’re experiencing joy and victory, we can address our God as the One who loved us enough to adopt us as His very own.
I correct my children when they do things that are wrong. But that’s only a fraction of who I am as a Dad. I’m also the guy they pounce on in the living room floor and with whom they play (soft) tackle football in the backyard. I read them stories at night like There’s a Wocket In My Pocket alongside David and Goliath.
Your Father in heaven wants you to know and experience His smile, His protection, and His blessing. And He craves your affectionate worship. Why not cry out right now in prayer, and maybe start it with the phrase, “Papa God…”