Prayer is the way that we reach God. Both those words – “prayer” and “God” – are used in the broadest and most generous way possible. A rigorous definition of prayer can only inhibit what it means to extend love, patience, forgiveness and so forth. We don’t walk around saying that every parent should talk to every child this or that way only. We trust the relationship to establish its own boundaries, its own lexicon, ts own style and in its own time, no less. So it is with prayer and meditation. We come to God as we are and God meets us. And we figure it out from there.
You’ll find at times that I write about short vocal prayers. “Help me, Jesus,” and “Thank you, Jesus” being two favorites. There are times when talking it out is the only option available. I’m not going to shut the door on God just because I’m not feeling eloquent or because I don’t have the stomach for hardcore contemplation. I’m not a saint. I’m a broken man being healed by love. I’ll take the healing anyway I can get it.
That said, there are also beautiful moments in my life of wordless union with the divine. For me, these prayers usually manifest in the early morning before the sun rises. Often I am in the woods or near the river. And the Presence is there and welcome. A word or two – often less – and one slips into that state, that place of Love. I’m grateful for those moments. They inspire and sustain me. They are mysterious. They are not rewards or products. They own me; not the other way around.
So I make space in my life for prayer. I don’t labor over the definition or the method. It has never worked that way for me. We are in God as God is in us. Prayer is simply the consistent effort to bridge the seeming separation, to undo what never was, in order to realize again our connection to what is eternal and formless. I have written elsewhere that I’m somewhat cautious on the subject of Jesus, always bent on respecting where others are. But with prayer, I feel confident. You have to find what works and you have to find it on your terms. You have to meet God and nobody can do that for you. What does your gut tell you about prayer? What does your heart say?
Don’t listen to me! Don’t listen to anybody else either. If you are on this site, the one thing I can say with utter confidence is that God wants to be with you and you know that. If you haven’t had the experience of sharing that mutual desire yet, all you have to do is make some space in your life. Get quiet and get still. Say that you’re ready. Speak from the heart. Then listen. That’s prayer. That’s how it happens. That’s how we learn that we are in Truth and what God is is in fact one and the same.