Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 4, 2018
Prayer: Restoring Relationship
People get all kinds of ideas about prayer. What prayer is, and what prayer is not. Good ideas, not-so-good ideas, off-the-wall ideas, and on-target ideas. Father Nouwen had some excellent ideas about prayer himself.
In this evening’s reading, I was amazed to read that “To pray means to stop expecting from God the same small-mindedness which you discover in yourself.”  Oh, my. How true that is! I am somewhat ashamed of having to admit that. (Well, all right. Downright ashamed, actually.)
How could Father Nouwen know me so well? Sometimes, his words hit home in a new way, or in a way that seems sadly familiar.
But, wasn’t he just speaking to the human condition? Don’t I simply have that same human tendency? And sometimes, more fallible and more fallen than others? Even though I try and try to pray, walking in the full light of God, I definitely am fallible. Isn’t sin simply separation from God? Mea culpa, dear Lord.
Nevertheless, Father Nouwen does not leave us in that desperate, sinful state. Sure, we are sinful. Yes, I admit that. Yet, he lets us know that God is faithful. God will be there, for us and with us. God with show up, even when we do not deserve it.
What is it that God wants most of all? The Lord wants a restored relationship. Not just a surface subterfuge, “hi, how are ya?” said wearing a nicely-nicely mask on my fallen face. But, that is me, and my side of the argument. Or, prayer.
What about God? What does God want out of this special time of prayer? (Yes, God wants every time to be a special time, every conversation to be intimate.) The Lord dearly wants a restored relationship. I do not know why, since I am a sinner, and therefore are unable to get over my sinful self. Except—that does not matter to God.
Our Lord wants a restored relationship, even though a deep-down propensity of sin causes people to fail. Fail God, and fail themselves. What a wonderful thing to discover that God wants a restored relationship, too? God’s arms are open wide. We are all welcome in God’s arms. From the Lord’s viewpoint, we are all God’s best friends. Praise God.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 90.