Sunday, January 30, 2011


If it’s a drag for me to pray, or I’m tongue-tied in God’s presence, or depend only on liturgical prayer, or try to impress Him by much speaking, or by contrast, am uncomfortable with silence between us, I obviously don't know God very well.

Why do I pray? Obligation is a poor incentive; so is habit or routine. My motivation should be to engage in a festive celebration of communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords! If I’m not on intimate, exciting speaking terms with God while I’m still in my human body, how would I feel in Heaven where I shall behold Him face to face in unbroken spiritual union and continual praise? If God is a stranger to me now, He will be a stranger then. Will heaven be a pleasant place to spend eternity? The love of God for me and my love for Him is the purest inspiration to pray. I should be eager to spend as much time as possible with the Divine Persons of the Trinity who are precious to me.

Almighty God chose everyday family relationships among the terms He used to explain His relationship with the mortal beings He created—lover and the beloved, bride and groom, husband and wife, parent and child. God sent His only Son, Jesus, to display and interpret the "Father" principle of God. Jesus invited us to approach God by addressing Him "Abba, Father," an intimate "Daddy" term used in the family circle. He invited His disciples, and me through them, to say "Our Father. . ."

Truly the King of the Universe is waiting for me to come into His presence. However, I don’t have to hold God at arm’s length and always address Him in flowery terms such as "Great and holy and mighty Potentate, Creator of the vast universe, Judge of the nations. . ." God is all of that, of course. I worship His majesty and approach Him with reverence and awe because I am a created being. But He is also "Abba, Father" to me, His child. We don’t need to use “thees and thous” to approach Deity. We may suppose that form of address should be used to show formal respect when, in fact, those terms came into use in centuries past when they were used in the familiar, intimate family circle.

When I search Scripture, I find an incredible intimacy with God described. He knows my thoughts before I think. He knew me in the womb before my bodily parts were fully formed. He knows me by name. No wonder David exclaimed in Psalm 139:6 "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it."

As a Christian I refer to Jesus as “my personal Savior.” How personal is He to me? He expects me to recognize His voice and to feel safe in His presence. He invites me to eat and drink with Him. He stays with me all night and never leaves me all day. Do I walk with Him, spend as much time as possible with Him, share everything with Him as my confidant, confess my failings to Him, share all my joys, feel free to expose my feelings and secrets? Am I absolutely honest with Him and keep nothing hidden? He says that He is in me and I am in Him. I receive His very body and blood in the Eucharist. That is what personal Savior implies.

Such a personal, intimate love relationship is what pleases God and makes Him smile, “makes His face to shine upon me.” The question Jesus asked Peter after the resurrection wasn’t, “Do you have all these doctrines straight?” or “Do you remember all that I told you?” or “Are you willing to die for Me?” He asked, “Do you love me?”

On this question hangs everything. Although He commended His early followers in the fledgling Church for their faithfulness and diligence in serving, Jesus said He was disappointed with the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter two because the believers had “lost their first-love” for Him. Jesus viewed that as priority.

Why do I come into God’s presence? To take part in the celebration of spending time with the Lover of my soul in a relationship mirrored in The Song of Songs in the Bible. “He walks with me and He talks with me and tells me I am His own” in the words of a hymn familiar to many Christians. Whatever it takes, I must be serious about rekindling my first love for the Lord, if it has cooled. Not tomorrow, but today. I don't have to drum it up or try to pump it up. As the Scripture instructs us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) All I need to do is open myself up to respond to His love for me.


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