Prayer is essential dialogue with God. Whether it be silent and contemplative in the stillness of your heart, or more verbal and conversational-God desires this time with you. As a child my mom described her prayer as an amazing telephone conversation and that image has remained with me to this day!
Some time ago I was approached by a friend’s mother who was going through an extremely difficult family situation. As is often the case, I had not planned to be there at that moment, but had felt an inner pull to change my plans for the day.
Seeking advice, comfort and direction she began relaying the details as well as the inability to find any peace. Listening, I wondered initially if we should perhaps relocate to a different setting. Then quite suddenly, I became keenly aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence. As she spoke I could feel her anxiety and fearfulness and knew that this was the time and place that each of us was meant to be.
Father, help me to let her know how much you love her. Let your Spirit guide my words and her to find you once again.
“Have you prayed recently?”, I asked.
“I still go to mass on occasion, but I can’t say that I feel close to God. I know the prayers that I was taught as a child, but I really don’t know how to pray any other way.”
“Can I ask you another question? Whose calls do you answer each day?”
“You mean on the phone? Well, that would be from my family or my close friends.”
“Those moments are meaningful because conversation is so essential in our relationships. There is a give and a take, a time to listen and a time to speak. And when you do so, you each share in one another’s lives.”
“Yes, that is so true! Though lately, I want to help but question whether I am being listened to.”
“God feels the same way . He is there waiting for us to talk to him and yet we so often let his call go unanswered. He wants so desperately to be in relationship with us, to be invited into our day and our problems. Sometimes, we simply need to start small.” “Ever notice a particularly beautiful sunset or a gift of a new day or grandchild and feel compelled to say Thank you?”
“Oh, I have! I had forgotten about that!”
“Gratitude is a indelible part of becoming aware that God is near, noticing all the little ways that God is there for us in our everyday. Today, I can say with certainty that God is here with us. If it’s fine with you, could we pray together and ask for His help in this situation?”
“Yes, but how do we begin?..”
Father..thank you for the gift of bringing us together today. You love us so dearly and want to be ever close to us. This is our desire too today. Lord, please let “Mary” know that you have never left her-that you are there to listen, guide, and bring her peace. That though we do not know where the road leads that you are always walking beside us. Please also help remove the fear and anxiety that are troubling her, and replace it with your loving embrace. We love and praise you –in Your name we pray Amen.
Today, the readings from 1 Samuel (3:3-10; 19) and John (1:35-42), really hit home. I was reminded of this conversation and of the importance of listening in my faith life. For in this busy demanding world that we find ourselves in, hearing God’s voice requires a desire to tune out the noise and tune into the Father. Moreover, it is being ready to pick up the “phone” when he calls rather than letting it go to voicemail. Only then can we “Come and see” what He has planned for us, where we are to go and lead others to Christ.
Reflection: Did I seek to listen to God today? Did I invite him prayerfully into my life-sharing my joys, concerns and difficulties with him? If not, why wait..He’s standing by!