Father, I abandon myself into your hands. Do with me whatever you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. Into your hands I commend my spirit. I offer it to you with all the love that is in my heart. For I love you, Lord, and so want to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. Amen. (Charles de Foucauld)
Prayer is a lifestyle of emptying ourselves of all false beliefs, and becoming free to belong only to God. That is why along with the desire to pray comes an intense resistance as well. We each want to draw closer to God, but we also realize that the closer we get to God the more we will have to relinquish control. Prayer is a radical action of laying down our old selves and accepting our new self in Christ.
“I live now not with my own life, but with the life of Christ who lives in me…” Galatians 2:20
Prayer is so much more than pleading with God to do something for us. Prayer is the way and means by which we communion with absolute light, love and life. Prayer brings us into union with God. Our union with Him results in less of us and more of Him. Prayer is the death of us and the birth of Him.
To pray is to open your heart and life to God. To undress and become wholly transparent before your heavenly parent, who alone can give us life. Prayer is not just an appointment in your daily schedule. It is not a source of support when you are in need. Prayer is to possess every aspect of our lives.
Prayer is the continual conscious recognition that God is with us inviting us to draw closer and to celebrate the gift of life that He has freely given to us.
Prayer is to stand before God with the mind of your heart and to go on standing before Him unceasingly day and night, until the end of life. Prayer is not a momentary event but a continuous state of relationship. To pray is to stand before God, to come into an intimate, immediate, and personal relationship with Him. To pray is to know at every dimension of your being that you are in God and he is in you.
In reality it is not you who took the initiative to communicate but the Father. We have put a lot of emphasis on what is done by the human person who prays rather than on God. But in terms of authentic prayer, it is the divine partner and not the human who takes the initiative and whose action is fundamental.
Prayer in truth is not something that I start but rather something I share. Real authentic prayer is something that God is doing in me. “…not I but Christ in me.” (Galatians 2:20).
For many years I have prayed the Lord’s Prayer daily. Early one morning I was praying when I heard the Lord say, “be still and listen.” As I held my breath I heard Jesus pray, “Our Father ….” Suddenly I realized it was not my prayer but His prayer. He was praying “Our….” He was speaking for us.
It was no longer “I,” but He who was praying. That realization has changed my life. I could instantly see the Lord with His arm around my shoulder and I was listening to Him pray.
Matthew 6:9-16 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
It is now Him who is praying for the Father’s will, for daily bread, asking for forgiveness, giving forgiveness, for direction and deliverance. He is the One, the Other, who is in me praying. Prayer, communing with God is the key to the release of His Life in our midst.
Prayer above all else is the cultivation of the art of listening. One who is able to listen to the voice of prayer in his own heart and understand that this voice is not his own but that of Another speaking within him, will rise to a new level of living.
True prayer, is the rediscovery and the manifestation of the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. To pray is to move from the state where grace (unmerited favor) is present in our minds and hearts, secretly or unconsciously, to the point where we are fully and consciously aware of the activity of the Spirit directly, experientially and immediately.
The aim of the Christian life is to give oneself completely to One who now lives in us, prays through us and gives life to us. To embrace this new life that has been given to us by grace is to live in union and communion with the Father.
The purpose of prayer, simply put, is to “become who and what you are.” To become, consciously and actively, what you already are potentially and secretly, by the virtue of being born again in the image of Christ.
To pray is to discover him who is yours already, to listen to him who never ceases to speak within you, to possess him who even now possesses you. To pray is to come into unity with Him. To pray is to dance with Him. Far too many people think He is a drill sergeant when in reality He is a dance instructor.
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. NLT
He simply invites us to dance with Him. To allow Him to lead us into the fullness of His Presence. He does not hid His identity nor His will. In fact He has given us His name. It is in that Name that we can access all that is His.
The invocation of the Name is in itself a prayer of the utmost simplicity. In fact this is the heart of prayer or the prayer of the heart. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved .” (Acts 2:21) “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved .” (Acts 4:12)
The Name of the Son of God is great and boundless and upholds the entire universe. To know a person’s name is to gain insight into his nature. To gain insight into his personhood is to acquire and begin a relationship with him. This is why the messenger who wrestles with Jacob at Jabbok refuses to disclose his name.
Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.(Genesis 32:29)
God changes the names of those who have come into covenantal communion with Him. Abram becomes Abraham, Sara become Sarah, Jacob become Israel, and after his conversion Saul becomes Paul. This indicated the radical renewal which each has undergone.
In the Hebrew tradition, to do a thing in the name of another, or to invoke and call upon his name, are acts of weight and power. To invoke a person’s name is to make that person effectively present. ‘One makes a name alive by mentioning it. The name immediately calls forth the soul it designates; therefore there is such deep significance in the very mention of a name.’ The power and the glory of God are present and active in his Name. God with us, Emmanuel.
To deliberately and attentively invoke God’s Name is to place oneself in his presence, to open oneself up to his life and to offer oneself as an instrument and a living sacrifice in His hands. The Hebrews were not even allowed to say the Name of the Most High.
The Hebraic understanding grows in the New Testament Church. Devils are cast out and men are healed through the Name of Jesus, for the Name is power. Prayer that is focused on the Name will bring us into a deeper appreciation for the reality of His Presence and Power.
This then is where we must start. God’s Name is intimately linked with His Person. We need His Presence to change us. To focus on His Name, His Person is to call for Him to fill our consciousness with Himself. To pray in His Name is not to ask for things but to enter into His Presence for the sake of communion with Him and Him alone. It is in that intimate relationship that His life, is conveyed to us moment by moment.
Prayer, intimacy, union with Him will release His Abundant life in you. Each of us are invited to live in this “oneness” with God. This life of prayer that changes us and releases the very Power of God in our lives.
Communion with Jesus means becoming like him. With him we are nailed on the cross, with him we are laid in the tomb, with him we are raised up to accompany lost travelers on their journey. Communion, becoming Christ, leads us to a new realm of being. It ushers us into the Kingdom. There we belong to Christ and Christ to us, and with Christ we belong to God. – Henri J. M. Nouwen –
Prayer is a revelation from the divine source of life that will never stops inviting us into the dance. It bids us to enter the kingdom at this very moment. It is not revelation in the sense of a historical event, but rather a revelation that we can receive right now in this present moment what is constantly new and fresh and living.