Sunday, December 29, 2019

Five Core Beliefs of a Praying Life

(Linda, on a Lake Michigan beach)


(From my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.)

Since 1981 my extended praying day has been Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoons I go alone to a quiet place, away from distractions, and talk with God about what we are thinking and doing together. Solitary praying is one-on-one, God and I, for several hours. As I meet with God I carry certain core beliefs with me. They are the following. 

1. God exists. God is real. There is a God. God is. Without this, praying is an illusion. In the act of praying I am keeping company with the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, necessarily existent (everlasting; without beginning or end), personal agent who created and sustains all things. This is no small appointment I have! 

2. God is a personal being. God desires relationship. The Christian idea of God as a Trinity makes sense of God as essentially relational. God, in his being, is three relating Persons in One.6 God, as a Three-Personed Being, makes conceptual sense of the idea that God is love. Everlastingly, the Father has been loving the Son, the Son has been loving the Spirit, the Spirit has been loving the Father, and round and round in the Big Dance. To pray is to accept God’s invitation to the Big Dance. 

3. God made me. For what? For relationship with him. God desires relationship. He made me for such a partnership as this. When I pray I am living in the heart of God’s desire for me. 

4. God knows me. In praying God’s Spirit searches me out. God is aware of my deepest thoughts and inclinations, many of which are beyond me. God knows me better than I know myself. This would be devastating, were it not for the fact that… 

5. God loves me. God, in his essence, is love. Therefore, God cannot not-love. This is good news for me! As I put 4 and 5 together I’m singing “Amazing Grace” accompanied by tears of gratitude and joy. 6. God desires me to love and know him in return. God has called me into a reciprocal relationship. Between God and me is a give-and-take.