Prayer As Relationship: Our Friendship With God
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first four paragraphs of "Prayer as Relationship"Many of us remember the oldest and best definition of prayer: "raising the mind and heart to God." I suspect that most of us practiced the first part, raising our mind to God, better than the second part, lifting up our hearts. That imbalance can too often make the experience of praying "dry" or "unfulfilling." What this definition probably intended to say was that prayer involves our whole person in a relationship with God. Using the various relationships of our lives as a guide, we can come to new insights about prayer. A wise spiritual guide once said, "We are as good at praying as we are at the other relationships of our lives. If you want to get better at prayer, work on the key relationships in your life." Take a close friendship or marriage, as an example. We wouldn't imagine that what makes the relationship work is trying to find a half an hour, early in the morning, to sit in a chair and close our eyes and think heavy thoughts about the other person. We know instinctively, even if we hadn't ever put it into words, that a key relationship in our life is a matter of the heart. The other person means a lot to me. I'm not just attracted to the other, but the other is someone whose desires and dreams and vision are very important to me. And, if this relationship is one that is growing in love, the other is one I want to serve - give of myself for.