The Heart of Prayer
The heart of prayer is an encounter with the living God, and to pray is to open ourselves to the human-divine partnership. As Christ followers, this partnership is enlivened by the Spirit of God. Christ himself dwells in our hearts through faith as we “work the ground” with God as near to us (nearer in fact!) as he was to our proto-parents... rather than having to wait for God to show up in the garden, we have an open line with the always available, all-seeing, ever-listening God.
For many of us however, we apply methods and frameworks for prayer and it still feels one-sided, wearisome, fruitless, or lifeless. Could it be our imagination for prayer is impoverished? We do well to examine our own hearts. As Henri Nouwen writes in With Open Hands, “Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched.”
God knows us completely. And yet, God invites us to enter into this partnership and to offer ourselves to Him. To let go of our fears and relinquish control, and our attempts to manipulate God. To accept who he is, and in so doing, to meet Him in the deepest recesses of our soul.
May we be transformed by the love of the cruciform God by coming to him in prayer with open hands and outstretched arms.