In the midst of all that we are going through – the ups and the downs – it is easy to lose sight of many things. We are overwhelmed with so much going on.
I want to invite you to slow down, and find some time to pray. i was re-reading Fr James Martin’s book “Learning To Pray” and i found on excerpt very insightful.
Fr James Martin writes:
“Come to think of it, I remember when I prayed a while ago, and it felt good. But I’m too busy these days for prayer. Besides, God knows what I’m thinking anyway, so I don’t have to bother praying.” Conversely, if you’ve never had such experiences, you might say, “I’ve tried praying once or twice, and nothing happened. It was a waste of time. Maybe I’m not cut out for prayer—I’m not holy enough.” Or “God’s disappointed with me, so God won’t talk to me.” Both types of responses bring us to an important question: Why pray? Let me suggest the first reason for prayer: God wants to be in a relationship with you.
The most common way God draws you closer is by placing within you the desire to be closer, the desire that drove you to think about prayer and to read this book. Strange as it sounds, your reading of these lines at this moment is a sign of God’s call. How else would God draw us closer, other than by planting a longing inside us? Once I saw a ceramic plaque in a retreat house that summed this up: “That which you seek is causing you to seek.”1 This insight is helpful to those beginning their journey of prayer, because it helps them feel, even before they’ve started to pray, connected to God. It helps them know that God has taken the initiative, that God is calling to them, that God desires them. It helps people take the first tentative steps toward God.
We pray because we want to be in relationship to God. That may sound obvious—of course we pray to be closer to God. But it’s important to state that the aim of prayer is not simply physical relaxation, mindfulness, knowledge, or a connection to creation, as important as those things are. These are goals that many people mention when speaking about meditation. But the goal of prayer is closer union with God. More basically, we pray because we love God. Father Barry writes, “The primary motive for prayer is love, first the love of God for us and then the arousal of our love for God.” We pray to come to know God as well. “Who is God?” is an important question in the spiritual life. So are “Who is God for me?” and “Who am I before God?” Prayer reminds us of our need for God. It reminds us that we are not the center of the universe and that we are not God. Sometimes when things are going well, we can grow arrogant and complacent in our self-sufficiency. Prayer, which places us in the presence of God in an intentional way, reminds us of who is in charge, or rather who is nurturing us. Gerard Hughes, a Scottish Jesuit, writes in God of Surprises: “To begin prayer is sufficient to acknowledge that I am not self-sufficient, that I am not the creator of myself and creation. If I can do this, then I acknowledge that there is some power—I may not know whether it is personal or not and may be in complete ignorance of its nature—greater than I.” This inevitably moves us to humility, as we realize more and more our need for God.”
So take ten minutes this week to pray and connect with God. i certainly needed that ten minutes to connect today.