Marriage doesn't require that partners know everything about each other, but it DOES require that the partners achieve some level of interpersonal intimacy. The same goes for other relationships. I don't have to know everything about you to be your friend, but I DO have to take the time to know you and be known by you. Our relationship with God is the same way. We don't have to be theologians and know all ABOUT God to be a Christian, but we DO have to know Him. And the way to know him is to listen to Him and to talk to Him (prayer.)
The disciples asked Jesus, "Teach us to pray." The emphasis is not HOW to pray, but to actually pray.
In this chapter, the authors draw a comparison between one's relationship with God and a romance between human beings. First there is an attraction; then each makes deliberate attempts to learn more about the other and spend time together; as feelings and thoughts are shared the inner selves are revealed and intimacy develops.
True prayer is not like so many of our prayers (asking God to help us do some task or get some benefit); instead real prayers are searching, acknowledging, listening. Prayer is not a shopping list of goodies we want; it is straining to hear that still small voice, seeking to understand what God wants of us. We should pray with the listening attentiveness we show to someone we deeply love and want to please.
Suggestions for prayer:
- Make the time and find a place.
- Follow the examples of others who have learned the discipline of prayer
- Thank God.
- Pray without ceasing.
- Continue learning about God's nature.
- Practice the disciplines of prayer. It is a relationship and requires work to develop just like in a marriage or any other relationship.
- Pray with others
- Use aids to prayer - rosaries, stations of the cross, Christian art and music.
- Just do it.