Why should we pray? To me prayer is like any normal activity I do each day. There is however an exception to this. We are made up of body and soul. I would not neglect my body by failing to eat the right foods, exercise regularly, see a doctor if I needed medical attention or take time for leisure activities. This is caring for my body, a gift of creation from a loving God in cooperation with my parents. So, just as my body needs careful looking after to keep it healthy, so too I must not neglect my soul. Our souls need nourishing and tender caring. We have been created in the image of God and to nurture this image we need to be in communication with our Creator God.
Communicating with God is just like having a conversation with a friend. We share what has been happening in our life, what are our joys, our sorrows, our worries and what has given us glimpses of beautiful things, friends we have met, things we have done.
You might want to ask yourself “What is your Image of God? Is it as Shepherd, Mother, Father, Friend, Accepting, Loving One…..?”
In so doing you would feel, know that you have another friend in your life. You can talk and share whatever it is you want to or desire. What worries you might have, where you find it difficult, something truly beautiful you want to share, or one of your daily events, who you have been speaking to, what you have been doing, what are your hopes, your worries.
If you did this I feel sure there would be an overwhelming deep seated peace, calmness and a more gentle attitude towards others and life in general.
Before we look at some of the ways in which our prayer growth might happen we might begin by asking ourselves three questions:
- What makes us want to pray at all?
- Why does it feel important?
- What is it really all about?
So, how to begin? I have believed that prayer is an ‘attentive listening’ and a ‘waiting’, that is taking time to be in God’s presence. To me this is more important than asking. As Father Jim Quillinan has written in his series, “Along the Track” –
Much of what we pray for, peace, health, harmony and love are needs which can be met through human choices and decisions. So when prayer is ‘answered’, human action is part of it. God doesn’t take over, as it were but rather urges us on to be the answer to another’s prayer. Prayer changes those who prays as well as those for whom they pray. Believers or not, we can be the answer to others’ prayer.
Prayer is really nothing else than a sense of the presence of God. So prayer simply is tuning into God. It is:
- Coming to rest in the presence of God