Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The PAPA Prayer by Larry Crabb
Title: The PAPA Prayer by Larry Crabb
How it was obtained: It was in my office when I arrived in Thailand.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 0 days.
Days spent reading it: 1 week.
Why I read it: My Church is having a Church retreat in November. We are using this book as our theme for the weekend, so I figured I'd brush up on what we will be teaching on during that weekend.
Brief review: In this book, Larry Crabb talks about how we pray. His main premise is that we often approach God only if we want something. We only use prayer to force God's hand in our lives. Crabb thinks this is not only wrong, but a reversal of how we should approach God. Instead Crabb proposes prayer should first be relational. This book does have a "formula," but Crabb is clearly against us using this prayer as a formulaic way of relating to God. I think he understands this model is only one way we should relate to God. It has its shortcomings, but I think it is pretty solid.
Crabb's proposal is to pray using this acronym: P-A-P-A. Present yourself to God (talk to God openly about where you are at in your life). Attend to how you are thinking of God (is He to provide for me like Santa Claus, or like a loving parent who knows what's best for me?). Purge yourself of anything that blocks your relationship with God (basically confession). Approach God as the "first thing" in your life (remove all other idols, and actually take time to relate with God).
The principles are pretty sound. I like Crabb's plea for us to be honest in our prayer walk. I also like the appeal for us to be relational with God, stop viewing Him as a "Cosmic Santa" (as I read somewhere else) who gives me everything I ask for and think I need. There should be more to our prayer lives than just asking God for stuff (even good stuff).
I do not have anything negative to say about the book. I think it was a helpful way to think about prayer. But I just was not drawn into this book completely. I think I simply might not like the way Crabb writes. He's not terrible, I just am not captivated by his writing. Oh well. My only other beef was with the tag lines on the book cover. They are terrible. "You think you know, but you have no idea. The PAPA Prayer. The prayer you've never prayed." It's a little cheesy, and probably not Crabb's doing, so I won't hold it against him—just his publisher.
I would recommend for anyone who needs to break out of their prayer rut of asking from a list, or someone thinking about how prayer can be more about my relationship with God. Definitely worth a quick read.
Favorite quote: Efforts to worship God without first getting to know Him tend to reduce worship to mere appreciation when God cooperates with our agendas.
Stars: 3.5 out of 5.
Final Word: Amen.