In all of my years of following Jesus (Christian spirituality), the theme of deserving or proving that I am good enough to be loved by God is a constant in my readings and struggling in my own life. It is a battle, una batalla. Why is it so hard to receive and experience the unconditional love of God?
In prayer, God is inviting us to experience the presence of love.
“All we need to do is to be open and available to the undeserved and unreserved love that God has for us…In prayer the true self can emerge because the person is loved and accepted without condition or qualification.”Guided by the Spirit: A Jesuit Perspective On Spiritual Direction
Prayer is a means to experience the love of God.
Prayer is a means to meet our true self that is loved and accepted without condition or qualification.
To be liberated then is to uncover and discover the true self as we experience the tender and fierce love of God for us.
Prayer will become more unique to each person, much like a fingerprint is unique to each person. No one person prays the same because there is no one else like you. We might be comforted and learn from the way others pray. But God’s love compels us to discover the unique way we respond to God’s initiatives in our lives.
My prayer life is a lot like my daily relationships and life. I like to have conversations with others where there is a time to listen and a time to share, a time to ask questions and a time to make statements. A time to laugh, cry, or sit in wonder. I see a counselor and we have deep and great convos. I hang out with my wife and we talk about anything that’s on our minds and hearts. We also argue. I like to be outside of my house and breathe under the sun. I like to plan and think about the future. I like to dream.
This is also how I pray. It’s very dynamic, emotional, and honest.
“Prayer is God’s revelation in the joys, pains, moods, and day-to-day ordinary events of life. All this and more forms the stuff and substance of prayer…Prayer is a gift from God. It does not create God’s presence or make God any more loving or available. It simply helps one to become more aware of the various creative ways that God is already present and active in one’s life. It consists not so much of what we do, but how much we allow God to do, to act in and through us, to gift us. Prayer is an awareness of God’s constant and loving presence and action.”Guided by the Spirit: A Jesuit Perspective On Spiritual Direction
This paradigm flips the whole notion of prayer on its head. Some like the “roteness” of a schedule to pray. It’s part of their personality. And in some seasons of life, it will be needed. Others like it to be much more dynamic and fluid. Whatever someone’s prayer personality is, the one truth needed is that prayer is God’s primary effort.
God is wooing us to pray. We just ask for the gift of grace to become aware and respond.