When prayer becomes a one way conversation, it changes our perceptions of God. We can see God as a genie in a bottle who waits to give us what we ask for or like Santa Claus who will give us our desires if we are good. If our prayers are not answered, we can also begin to view God as an angry cheap skate who refuses to use power on our behalf. These, and many other misperceptions, are rooted in our refusal to stop talking!
What if you spent all your time addressing significant people in your life as if they were not able, or willing to talk back to you?
Too many times, that is how we talk to and about God. But what if we truly believed:
For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. Isaiah 54:5
The Holy One is our spouse. The deepest lover of our soul. I imagine that, as a lover, God desires more than being “talked at.”
Rather than focusing in on the pain we have caused ourselves in these places, I would prefer to spend energy considering an alternative. I’d like to invite you to practice for a moment one way you might listen to what God has to add to the conversation.
- First, read through all of these instructions first so that you don’t have to continually refer back to the screen.
- Allow yourself to relax in your chair. Take 3 slow, deep breaths. Use these breaths to slow down your body and soften your muscles.
- As your body begins to release to this moment, allow your imagination to place you in the presence of God. Let a picture come to mind for you.
- Now, notice God’s face. God is smiling to find you here today.
- Rest in God’s smile for as long as it feels right.
- As you bring your awareness back to the current time and space, allow yourself to stretch or yawn.
Henri Nouwen sums up this kind of prayer best:
The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.–Life of the Beloved
Rest today in the warmth of God’s smile and trust that you are the beloved of God.