I’ve been reading a book by Larry Crabb called the The PAPA Prayer about first praying in a relational way before we pray in a petitionary way.  The essence of prayer being more about getting close with our Father than about getting things from Him, even good things.  It’s a eye opening read I can highly recommend.
One of my favorite pictures of Daniel and I. (2011)
He gave an example I can’t get out of my head.  When his son was 8 years old (very close to my Daniel’s current age), he and his son took a special trip to New York City just for fun.  They stayed up late at the hotel ordering pizza and movies and on their first full day in the city, played Hide and Seek in Central Park.  Larry tells how he hid behind a large tree trunk, mere feet away from his son.  He let his son search and search in the area, all the while remaining undetected behind the big tree.  After 2 minutes, he watched his son’s demeanor suddenly change from fun to fearful.  Larry immediately jumped out from hiding exclaiming, “I’m here!”  His son ran into his daddy’s arms saying, “I thought you left me! I thought I was all alone!” Larry’s point was that all the plans and promised trips to toy stores faded from importance: in that moment he only wanted his daddy.
As I’ve continued to dwell on this story, I realize that every illustration breaks down at some point.  I don’t believe that God is hiding from us in a twisted game of Spiritual Hide and Seek.  But, I believe that God is always with us, just like Larry was with his son, even if his son didn’t know it.  And not until he saw the desperation on his child’s face did the father choose to reveal himself.
I’m flattered that my boys come to their daddy when they need or want things.  Juice, Water, help reaching a book, a brand new toy, a desire to watch another episode of “Turtleman” (Live Action!)  But, I love it even more when they don’t feel the need to ask questions and simply cuddle up with daddy.  Sometimes they tell me they love me and they think I’m a great daddy.  Sometimes they just curl up on my lap, feel safe and trust me.
That’s the relationship I believe our Papa longs for too.