|Monroe County, MI|
The heart of my spiritual formation classes is: pray one hour/day, 5 days/week, for six weeks. I was led to do it this way many years ago. A life of prayer, of actually praying, lies at the heart of all relevant and authentic spiritual formation, transformation, renewal, and restoration.
If prayer is talking with God about what he and I are doing together, then to pray is to be intimate with God. To pray is to love God, and to be loved by God. Prayer-engagement is relationship with God.
It was St. Augustine who once wrote that we come to God "by love and not by navigation." This means we come to God by entering into relationship, not by reading books about relationship. We learn more about God and the God-life by actually praying than by reading books on prayer. Books can keep us at a theoretical distance from God. To pray is to be intimate with God. That is the place where soul restoration happens.
As James Houston writes: "Prayer is the way that we shape our inward life to imitate the mind of Christ." (Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 42)