August 19, 2016

I'm Praying. Who's Listening?

 (image from

At the time of his dramatic initial encounter with Jesus Christ, the man who later became known as Paul the Apostle prayed. The prayer was short, earnest, and from the heart. The prayer was a question.  The prayer was immediately, clearly, and directly answered.

What happens when we pray?

Are we "centering" ourselves? Are we "calming our thoughts"? Are we engaging in mindful self-examination? No.

In  real prayer, we are hearing from and responding to a supernatural person who knows and loves us, a person who longs to hear us open our hearts and our minds to the one who never turns away and never rejects.

In prayer, we are reaching back to the one who reaches out to us. In the Bible passage referenced earlier, Paul's question is a response to Jesus Christ's question. The creature and the creator are interacting, sharing thoughts and ideas. Each understands the other. This is prayer.

This real prayer I have just described is never the negotiating and bargaining type of prayer that often begins with "If you (God) do this,  then I (me) will do that..."

Consider for a moment: God does not need us. God existed before we were created. God loves us. Remember, real love is never based on bargaining and deal-making. Real love is based on the authentic acceptance of the beloved.

Will we change as we pray? Yes. True prayer always leads to change, which in turn creates meaningful and positive action. True prayer, however, always begins with acceptance. God accepts you as you are. You accept the loving, supernatural person who wants to embrace you with love and purpose.

If you are truly reaching out to God, it's because God has already reached out to you. Because of this, you can have no doubt you will be heard and answered when you open your heart in prayer.

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