Monday, January 2, 2012

Bringing Our Hearts into Prayer, Part 2

O God, you are my God, it is you I seek! - Psalm 63:2

How do we define prayer? Here are some thoughts …
Prayer is a turning toward God.
Prayer is a deepening relationship with God.
Prayer is a conversation.
Prayer is a gift.
Prayer is grace.
Prayer is not another thing for us to achieve.
Prayer is not another feather for our cap or trophy for our wall.
Prayer is a response to God’s call.
God calls. We respond.
God always initiates. Whenever we get that thought, that idea, that nudge to pray, God is calling.
Feel like going to the chapel to pray before the Blessed Sacrament? God called you.
Feel like picking up the rosary? God called you.
Have a sudden urge to learn a new prayer? God called you.
A prompting of the Spirit catches our attention. I like to call it a nudge. How often do we ignore that nudge?
The good news is – God waits.
God invites us.
God waits for us.
God gives us the gift and we either say yes or we say no.
We either show up. Or we don’t.
And this is where we learn humility. Success at prayer is not due to our own efforts.
It is all about grace. And trust. And surrender.
And faith. We need to have faith that God is aways present. Whenever or however we pray, God is present.
Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, wrote, “Prayer does nothing to make God more present, for God is always present. Prayer is our response to God’s presence in our lives.”
So how do we pray? That is for another post! Or two.
I will end this with one of my favorite definitions of prayer. This is from Sr. Macrina again –
 “To pray is to touch God and let God touch us.”
This is the second article in my series on prayer. You might want to read my first post if you missed it. I am trying to keep each post simple, but there is so much I want to share. How does one find the words?
Sources of Inspiration:
Spiritual Direction, by Fr. Henri Nouwen (with Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird)
Toward God, by Fr. Michael Casey
A Tree Full of Angels, by Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr
The Spiritual Journey, by Fr. Francis Kelly Nemeck and Marie Theresa Coombs


Karinann said...

I love this post, especially the parts about what prayer is not. I think it is sometimes easy to forget that prayer is a gift from God and not something we achieve. God does not need our prayer, we need to pray.
Thanks for this insightful post and the links to your sources of inspiration.
Hugs & Blessings.

Colleen said...

Karinann, I like what you said - God does not need our prayer, we need to pray. Glad you liked the post! Hugs and blessings!

Jean Wise said...

Beautiful post, Colleen. I love "God calls. We respond."
Reminds me how welcoming and inviting prayer can be.

Colleen said...

Jean, thank you. I need that reminder myself. I keep thinking prayer is my idea! God bless. Happy New Year!

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Love that first quote from Sr. Macrina. Somehow in a subtle way because of the spirit of our age, I think that we can fall into an unconscious attitude that if we aren't thinking about God, He isn't there. It's so comforting to be reminded that He is always present and what we have to do is develop habits of calling Him to mind more often.

Colleen said...

Barb, I agree. We often think that he is on the sidelines somewhere until we need him!! It s comforting to know He is with us always.

mary333 said...

This is a beautiful post about prayer, Colleen. I love everything you wrote here about what prayer is and what prayer is not. I love the quote from Macrina Wiederkehr too! I could add "Amen" but the word verification has already done it for me :) (With a bu tacked on the end so it reads like this - amen be you...I like that)

Colleen said...

Mary, thank you! Love the word verification too! You always get the best!!
Glad you liked the post. I am coming out with a new one soon.

mary333 said...

Oh good! I'm glad you'll be doing more posts on prayer. I need a spiritual tune up right now. I think it's from all the moving and unpacking - my attention was not really on the Lord I have to admit :) It's that ADHD of the spirit thing - my mind gets scattered if I try to think of too many things at once.

Loved all the cute pictures of your grandson you've put up!

Colleen said...

Mary, thank you! It is certainly understandable that your mind was not totally focused on God. That happens when "little" things happen like MOVING! You will be back in the swing of things, so to speak. Glad my prayer post helps!