Thursday, October 26, 2017

Make an Appoinment with God*

Below are four basic points about prayer.

Being a Christian means being a person who prays.

In his book The Art of Praying, Romano Guardini, whose cause for sainthood will formally begin in Munich this December, averred that prayer is as important for the spiritual life of a Christian as breathing is for the biological life of every human being. If you can’t breathe, you die.

Prayer includes both speaking and listening.

I strongly believe it is as important to talk to God at least as much as you talk about God. If it’s important to talk to God at least as much as you talk about God, then it is as important to listen to God at least as much as you talk to God.

Prayer takes time.

Sure, we can and should pray “on-the-fly,” but we need to set aside time each day to spend with God. In a very short book, Appointment with God, published thirty years ago, Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. urged all Christians to make a daily appointment with God. Making time each day for God is what it means to practice prayer as a discipline.

I run across far too many people who insist that it isn’t possible to have a personal relationship with God. Relationships cannot even begin, let alone grow, if those involved don’t spend time together.

Prayer is important.

People who believe it isn’t possible to have a personal relationship with God tend to make God an intellectual problem, a mental construct, or an indifferent, benevolent, perhaps even malevolent force in the universe, depending on how things are going today. All of these are attempts, even if some are highly complex and sophisticated ones, to reduce God to human measure.

In baptism, God called you by name. God also called you by name when your baptismal identity was confirmed. Grace refers to God – Father, Son, and Spirit – sharing divine life with you. God is love (1 John 4:8.16). In short, God knows you and wants to be known by you.

In Christ, the Word became flesh. After his Ascension, specifically on the first Christian Pentecost, the Lord sent his Spirit in order to remain present not just among us, but in us and by taking up his dwelling in us to make himself present to others through us.

The English word “spirit,” as in “the Holy Spirit,” is a translation of the Greek word pneuma. Pneuma means breath. Prayer is the breath of Christian life. This is why each and very Christian needs to become a pray-er.

*This post originally appeared on The Boy Monk blog. It is expanded to include links to the books and reference to Guardini's cause for sainthood.

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