Thursday, December 03, 2015

Solitary Prayer Is a Platform for Authentic Community

Flowers in my backyard
When I go apart to pray I find myself loving Linda more than ever. God produces in me a softness and compassion  towards others. This is the inner transformation from solitude to community.

Linda knows this happens in me. For that reason alone she is thankful that, many years ago, I got an actual solitary prayer life. Solitary praying is prerequisite to authentic community.

Henri Nouwen writes:

"Authentic community, like solitary prayer, is primarily a quality of the heart. Community can be lived well only if it comes out of communion with God... Intimacy with God and solidarity with all people are two aspects of the indwelling presence of God. These two realities can never be separated." (Nouwen, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, pp. 98-99)

In praying God expands our hearts. God pours his love into our being by his Holy Spirit. We know, experientially and viscerally, that we are deeply loved and in relationship with God. From this comes a God-heart for others. Community development has always been the true heart of God. It is an other-heart with an expansive vision, which gets fulfilled as God expands individual hearts in the act of praying.