My Papa P A U S E
There is an enjoyment that comes from stopping and acknowledging ‘God with me’ in moments throughout my day. Many people in religious circles would call this the Daily Office. We know from scripture that David practiced seven set times of prayer each day. (Ps. 119:164) In thinking through this I realized that if he began at 7 AM and paused for a moment every other hour on the hour until 7 PM, that would be seven times. Daniel stopped three times each day to pray. (Dan. 6:10). St. Benedict (A.D. 525) developed a rhythm of stopping and acknowledging God eight times throughout his day, and the Rule of Benedict continues to have far reaching influence. There are many groups and individuals who have practiced different forms of the daily office throughout history. As I have studied this ancient practice, I have tried to develop a way of incorporating this valuable tool into my daily life here, now . . . in this culture. For me, I see it as a chance to be with God, rather than to ask God for something. I have come up with a process I call my “Papa PAUSE”. This pausing to be with “Papa” has become a time I eagerly anticipate. I chose the name "Papa" for God. You see, my husband has recently become a ‘Papa’ as we have entered the realm of grandparents, and as I watch him enjoying his grandchildren and them enjoying him, that image contributes to my emotional understanding of who God is to me.
I use the word ‘P A U S E’ to help me structure these moments. I do it this way. Prayerfully * Acknowledge. * Unwrap * Solitude. * Enjoy. To begin my time, I Prayerfully Acknowledge God. I notice the fact that He is here. I smile and respectfully say, “Hello.” Sometimes I find it helpful to call Him by name, incorporating some of the different names for God found in scripture: Wonderful Counsellor - Almighty God - Everlasting Father - Prince of Peace - Precious Jesus - Holy Spirit - Teacher - Saviour - Great Creator - Friend. Each name holds validity at different times depending on my day. Sometimes I just say, “Hello Papa.” Next, I Unwrap Solitude. I chose the term “unwrap” because it carries the idea of peeling off. It is a process. I intentionally peel off the layers of busyness that have been consuming my mind. I peel off any pretense of a public face I may have put on to present to others. I set aside any projects I have been working on and I breathe... deep. Once I have unwrapped all these layers, I find a wonderful present inside. What is the present? Solitude with my Savior. Just being alone with Papa. As I begin to settle in with God, I come to the final step in my process. Enjoy. Oh how sweet it is just to be with Him, my heavenly Father, neither of us requesting or demanding anything from the other. It reminds me a little of sitting down for coffee with my husband. Just being in each others company is nice. Words are not necessary, but welcome if they come. It’s just comfortable. Sometimes during this phase, I read His word. Sometimes I just sit and listen. I breathe His air and marvel at His creation. I was going through this process a while back, and it occurred to me that I had never asked God how He was. So I said, “How are You?” It happened to be the same day as the earthquake in New Zealand, and I began to think about what God must be going through...all the prayers and requests coming to Him for help - the agony and compassion He must feel for His people in crisis. I had never really looked at God from that perspective before, at least not in the present moment, and I felt a sense of compassion for Him. I also had a sense that He was glad that I had asked. You know, the more time I spend with Him, the more I begin to realize that He actually enjoys hanging out with me. I don’t know why that surprises me. He sought the companionship of His friends when He walked this earth. It makes sense that he would enjoy our companionship as well. This process, my Papa P A U S E, sometimes happens over a period of 3 or 4 minutes and sometimes up to an hour or more. I have found that it is not how long I spend, but it is that fact that I deliberately stop and take notice of God with me throughout my day. It is setting apart small units of time each day to notice how and where He shows up. And every time I do, I’m glad I did. Thank you Papa for sharing these moments with me.