We need to come to a point in our lives when we need to pray so much that we cannot imagine a day in which we do not have a time and place for God.
How does this commitment happen? It is obviously a gift from God. We cannot force this sort of desire on ourselves, it happens in its own good time. It is God’s power working through us.
Learning to pray takes a lifetime of openness and hope and it is especially challenging when the last thing we want to do is pray.
God is mystery. God is love. I used to be afraid of God, fearful of what demands and difficult tests God might ask of me if I got too close. I did not trust God with my life. When I came to know God as one who is always there for me and never against me, then I was able to be at peace. God is not “out there somewhere”. When I pray, I like to imagine myself filled and surrounded by this great love.
We live in a world filled with activity. Being busy can get unhealthy when we allow our activities to steal all our time away so that we never look inside to that wonderful world of the soul. We need to want to pray so much that we set aside a time and place each day to be alone with God. A spiritual writer once said that every person should spend as much time in prayer as in eating. A challenge, yet true. We take the time to feed the hungers of the body, but so often neglect the hungers of our soul. We know in our heads, but perhaps not in our hearts, that prayer is not about good feelings.
We will have times of not feeling good when we are at prayer, but God does not abandon us during these moments. God continues to embrace us as lovingly in the darkness as in the light.
What is vital to my prayer is that I continue to be faithful to being with God. Prayer is about this loving presence staying with us and never going away.
What then is Prayer? It can be summed up in the words from the musical Godspell. Three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, to love thee more dearly and to follow thee more nearly, day by day.
At prayer with Jesus – Become accustomed to seeking God in Jesus, in praying through Him, in Him, with Him. Love Jesus with a holy passion, believe in His goodness, His mercy, His friendship, since He offers you these.
Do not look for God in place or space. Close the eyes of your body, block out distractions and go down into yourself: you reach the Holy of Holies where the Holy Spirit dwells. You know what this presence means to you, you contract a divine friendship, an intimate relationship with the Trinity, who is now your guest. Jesus teaches: eternal life is this, to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
You are seeking God, He too is looking for you in your inner temple, He is waiting for you there. Doesn’t this say something to your heart or at least your faith? Everything you have, everything that eternity has in store for you, has its source in this. In the wonderful temple of the heart of Jesus you will hear an eternal “Te Deum”. Its echo should fill your heart too.
– Sr Mary Martin, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office