“Prayer is inherently relational; it thrives in the context of an authentic, dynamic, reciprocating friendship with God.” Cynthia Hyle Bezek in Prayer Begins in Relationship, p. 15.
Too often prayer becomes an item to check off the to-do list or becomes nothing more than our attempt to get God to act on our behalf for a pressing need. The problem of course is that we won’t’ pray unless we need something.
Prayer is a way of…pausing, noticing, opening, yielding and stretching, and surrendering…to a Person. It’s a way of connecting…not getting. It’s a way of responding to the over-arching invitation of God to be WITH him in on-going interactive friendship.
Prayer as relationship can’t develop if it is unilateral—that is, when we do all the talking and none of the listening. Part of our need to talk is the underlying, and often unacknowledged, attempt to control God through our prayers. It is easy to fall into a trap of thinking in terms of how we can create a prayer life that will get God to act. Often times our prayer life is reduced to cutting good deals with God. In reality, listening is the Christian’s most basic stance in that it puts us in a more receptive posture and allows God, not us, to take the initiative in the encounter.
Of course, it’s appropriate to approach God with petitions, but our prayer life is woefully incomplete if we limit it to the spoken word. We don’t have to use eloquent words; in fact, we don’t need words at all.
More than using prayer to get God to act or, prayer is a way of…pausing, noticing, opening, yielding and stretching, and responding to the transforming Presence of Christ in our lives. It’s a way of lovingly directing our gaze or attention to God.