Saturday, November 08, 2014

Solitary Praying Is a Platform for Authentic Community (PrayerLife)

Sky over Monroe.

When I go apart to pray I find myself loving Linda more than ever. I feel a softness and compassion towards others. My solitary praying life builds community in me. Linda knows this happens. For that reason alone she is thankful that, many years ago, I got a praying life. 
Solitary praying is necessary for real, 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."[1]

In praying God expands my heart, pouring his love into my being by his Holy Spirit. I know, experientially and viscerally, that I am deeply loved and in relationship with God. From this comes a God-heart for others.
The true heart of God is an other-heart with an expansive vision that is realized as God widens individual hearts like mine in the act of praying. My method of teaching this is:
1.    Pray alone.
2.    Share together about what God has been saying to you and doing in you.
3.    Pray together.
4.    Do 1-3 over and over again.

[1] Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, 98-99