Prayer and Friendship

“For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.”

Saint Teresa of Avila

In recent years, evangelicals have had a resurgence of language asserting that God is our friend. I don’t argue with the truth of this statement but I wonder what we mean by it. (I put myself in this category.)

So often, it feels as if we are saying, “God is my big, strong, in charge friend so you better do things the way I like them or else…” That feels wrong to me. It claims that friendship is a one way street in which God is as much our hired hand as our friend. I don’t believe this is true.

‘God is our friend’ is a natural and right correction to an overwhelming fear of God. However, I need to hold that in balance with the truth that this friend of mine wants a two way friendship. I will be changed by being in relationship with God and not just because it’s God. No, all relationships change us all. We are shaped, molded, reinvented by the relationships that we hold dear.

1 John asserts that God is love. If that is true, being in friendship with God will cause me to grow towards love.

A bullying threat is not love.

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.’

Soren Kierkegaard

Being in friendship with God calls me to prayer and that prayer will change me to reflect my friend. Which leaves us to ask, are we being changed by our prayer?

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