Henri Nouwen wrote prayer has for too long only been associated with piety, talking to God, thinking about God, morning and evening prayers, Sunday services, grace before meals, sentences from the Bible and many other things. However, for Nouwen “Prayer is the center of the Christian life. It is the only necessary thing. It is living with God in the here and now.”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:41-42)
Prayer is the essence of spiritual life, and we find our true identity as the children of God by letting go of the desires of the world so we can belong to God and God alone. Prayer is the transformation of the thoughts that preoccupy my mind with the thought of my heart being the eternal dwelling place of God. It is the revelation that “Imago Dei,” the image of the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is at the center of my heart and being.
Contemplative prayer is the practice of seeing God residing in our heart and recognizing the presence of Christ transforming our minds and outlook on life. Prayer connects and joins my heart with my mind, my mind with my will, my will with my behavior so that the resurrected Christ impacts and touches every aspect of life. However, this union takes place only as we crucify our egos, our preconceived ideas, and our desires to control our self apart from God. Prayer is always challenging our perspectives on life to see everything through the eyes of Christ and His will.
Image Via Pixabay
A great read “The Only Thing Necessary” by Henri Nouwen