One of the cornerstones and hallmarks of discipleship is a life of prayer. By prayer, I don’t just mean the rosary or any kind of formal devotions. These formal devotions can anchor us in our relationship with God and give it structure. But more than the formal devotion, I mean the reality that we can really have intimacy with God. Prayer is the place where we can rest in the knowledge that we are known and loved by our creator; where we can learn to thirst for redemption and perfect happiness; where we can come to really know who God is. In prayer, we can become like the Apostle John who laid his head on the chest of Jesus during the last supper and in that place learned the heart of God. We too as disciples of Jesus can learn the heart of God through prayer.
It can be really easy to over complicate prayer. In the end, it is very simple. I love how St. Teresa of Avila puts it in this quote, “Prayer is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much…”
Consistency and perseverance are very foundational for developing a prayer life. Like most other things, it’s easier to want to pray than to actually pray. Start small and just stick with it. At SJE, we often talk about the 1% Prayer Challenge. 1% of your day is around 15 minutes. If you can’t do 1%, try a ½%. The most important thing is to set aside time everyday for prayer. Always remember that prayer is first and foremost a response to God’s love. God is the initiator in our relationship with him. He is the one drawing near to us. Our job in prayer is to dispose ourselves to receive his love. Most of prayer is showing up and being open.
So often, we set limits on how God can work in our lives. The reality is that God wants us to receive his love in such a way that we don’t even know is possible. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The abundant life is not some abstract or overly pious concept. It is the reality that we were created by God and for God, and our lives find their most authentic and powerful expression when they are living in relationship with him. Let’s pray that our hearts can ache to be united to His heart!