According to a Pew Research Article (July 31, 2018) 55% of adults in the United States say that they pray every day, but my assertion is that most of us have a very limited understanding and experience of prayer. Many describe prayer as “Conversation with God,” and it seems as if prayer is simply asking for something for oneself or for loved ones. But is there more to prayer than asking, or even thanking and praising?
Another description of prayer was offered by St. John Damascene (c 676-c 787), “To pray is to offer one’s heart to God.” In this light prayer is being silent in God’s presence, resting in God’s love.
Each morning I spend my “quiet time” outside on our covered deck. There on the deck I am able to enjoy the Strait of Juan de Fuca, gold finch and house finch among other song birds at our numerous feeders, deer grazing in our neighbor’s pasture and the majesty of eagles. This morning I invited Jesus to sit in the lawn chair next to me and enjoy the morning’s drama and beauty. Together we watched, together we enjoyed, together we pondered the beauty he had created by the word of his mouth. That is prayer. Nothing accomplished. Nothing startling and miraculous, only Jesus and I sitting together, watching, enjoying, marveling.
In addition to petitions and intercessions, in addition to confessing sins and praising our Savior, prayer can also involve being lost in the loving presence of God. It is being still before the lover of our whole being; it is resting in the One who knows me completely and still loves me completely. This is intimacy with God in Christ. Though I do not often “feel” God’s presence and I do not experience God’s miraculous hand stretched out, the miraculous does happen, for I am basking in God’s love and love is what transforms my life.