Most of us are not very good when it come to prayer.
Even those of us in the “God Biz” still struggle with knowing what prayer is and struggle with praying. As a child, prayer was easy enough to do at night by kneeling on the side of the bed. As a teen, I did not have a clue about prayer except to say a prayer before a big test in school. In the seminary, prayer was very routine: morning, evening and night. We prayed the Divine Office which was made up of psalms and readings. As a priest, prayer became interceding for the needs of others and praying at mass and the sacraments. Then, everything changed for me, when I was taken out of my world and left alone for three years, it was different. All of a sudden, it was God and me, alone in my central Phoenix condo.
That alone time was the best thing that could have happened to me. I couldn’t stay focused to pray formal prayers. I couldn’t come up with words to speak to God, even in an informal way. And yet, my prayer started to deepen. My hunger for God became real. My awareness of God’s loved love for me started to grow. I came to understand God moves first. In true prayer, God, the Holy Spirit, moves toward us, establishing a bond and a friendship that is very real.
I am excited in the fall we are going to do a School of Prayer. The schools we have done have been beautiful! They give us a change to go deeper, to teach and experience things on a whole different level. I encourage you to think about joining us in October. I believe we can all go deeper in pursuing God and deeper into the mystery of God pursuing us. In the meantime, I am heading to Assisi with a group of our church family. I am hoping and praying through St. Francis, my prayer life will explode!
All of the saints ancient and modern talk about prayer and its importance. C.S. Lewis said, “If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now? Henri Nouwen stated, “I am deeply convinced that the necessity of prayer, to pray unceasingly, is not as much based on our desire for God as on God’s desire for us. It is God’s passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer.” Mother Teresa noted, “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.”
I look forward to pursuing prayer with you. May God pursue us in a new and deeper way!