Questions about Prayer

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Questions about Prayer

by William A. Barry, SJ

Why Pray?Questions about Prayer

Why do I pray? I pray because I believe in this God. Not only that, I pray because my heart aches for God even though I am also often afraid of closeness with God. I have met a lot of people who express this longing for God and who pray because they believe in God who attracts them so much.

How to Pray?

This brings us to question of how to satisfy this longing for God. The simplest answer is to engage in prayer. Here is where the hope that I might have something useful to say about how to pray comes into play. If God wants a friendship and partnership with each of us (and with all of us as a people), and we have a reciprocal desire for such a relationship, then prayer in similar to what happens in any friendship. Friendship between two people develops through mutual self-revelation. So in prayer I try to let God know who I am and ask that God do the same for me. It's that simple. As with Abraham and Sarah, it's a matter of growing mutual self-revelation. So in prayer I try to let God know who I am and ask that God do the same for me. It's that simple. As with Abraham and Sarah, it's a matter of growing mutual transparency. As we grow in our trust in God, we reverse the results of the sin of Adam and Eve. We are not ashamed to be naked before God, that is, to be open with all our thoughts, feelings, and desires.

William A. Barry, SJ 

William A. Barry, SJ, is a veteran spiritual director who is currently serving as tertian director for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus.

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Books by William A. Barry, SJ

An Invitation to Love

A Personal Retreat on the Great Commandment

This book provides personal, adaptable retreat sessions/reflections focused on the concepts of love for God and neighbor—the great commandment.

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Lenten Meditations 10-Pack

Growing in Friendship with God

Grounded in Scripture and inspired by Ignatian spirituality, Lenten Meditations: Growing in Friendship with God offers a fresh approach to deepening your friendship with God during Lent.

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Praying the Truth

Deepening Your Friendship with God through Honest Prayer

Fr. Barry helps us realize that if we do not approach God in complete honesty, we may be holding back a part of ourselves that needs to be healed. By learning how to communicate honestly with God, our friendship with God will be strengthened.

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Changed Heart, Changed World

The Transforming Freedom of Friendship with God

Developing a friendship with God may be the starting point for the spiritual journey, but how can that important internal relationship move us to make an impact on—and even transform—the world around us?

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Seek My Face

Prayer as Personal Relationship in Scripture

Develop a relationship with God by following examples from Scripture. Fr. William Barry introduces biblical situations and personalities to show readers the ways in which people in the Bible drew closer to God.

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A Friendship Like No Other

Experiencing God’s Amazing Embrace

Explore the path to becoming a friend of God. Grounded in biblical tradition and Ignatian spirituality, this book offers a fresh approach to becoming a friend of God and understanding this relationship.

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God’s Passionate Desire

In God’s Passionate Desire, Fr. Barry leads us on brief “retreats” to help us understand our relationship with God and how we can move forward into a more meaningful relationship with God.

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Here’s My Heart, Here’s My Hand

Living Fully in Friendship with God

In Here’s My Heart, Here’s My Hand, William A. Barry, SJ, helps us understand how we can experience a personal relationship with God, and what effects that close relationship will have on our lives.

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Letting God Come Close

An Approach to the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

Using clear, down-to-earth examples Barry helps spiritual directors build up trust and confidence.

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