The work of prayer is to help us take responsibility. Prayer helps us take responsibility for the world around us. Prayer helps us take ownership of what’s happening inside of us. Prayer helps us move to into reconciliation and unity with those we are in relationship with. Prayer is essential work if the Gospel is the reconciliation of all things. Hopefully, if we are doing it well, prayer moves beyond words and even beyond relationship. Maybe what God is trying to not only to do these things but also to move us into action. At some point, God might be calling us to become the answer to our prayers. God might be calling us to become the solutions to the questions we seek.
Don’t pray for poverty if you have wads of cash in your pockets.
Don’t pray for peace if you are not going to try and be at peace. Don’t pray for peace and be violent.
Don’t pray for forgiveness if you are going to hold grudges against others.
Don’t pray for faith if you are going to continue to not trust God and others.
Don’t pray for hope if you aren’t going to work on your cynicism.
Don’t pray for love if you aren’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices for those around you.
Relationships are fueled by many things, one of them being reciprocity. God gives himself fully to those who give themselves fully to him. In order to be fully alive in Christ, we must be willing to be a living sacrifice. I give myself to Christ and he brings a greater awareness in me. Prayer is the search for God but also the reminder that we have already arrived in him. Prayer helps us journey through life and take responsibility for all of it. Prayer is a unification of mind, body, and spirit. It is a mutual bond of will and desire. In prayer we discover our greatest questions of God and have them revealed. Nobody reveals the intimacy of this journey more wonderfully than Thomas Merton,
“In one sense we are always traveling, and traveling as if we did not know where we were going. In another sense we have already arrived. We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are traveling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore, in that sense, we have arrived and are dwelling in the light. But oh! How far have I to go to find You in Whom I have already arrived!”