Questions about Prayer

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.