One of the greatest challenges I’ve had personally, but also a challenge I’ve had as a spiritual guide for others is to help foster a deep and committed prayer life. A lot of this stems (I believe) from our image of God. If God is for us an invisible or imaginary friend, we’re rightly disposed and apt to “grow out” of believing. If God is only the Almighty Creator of the Universe, how would any of us really matter to someone so important? Even if God is both; this too is going to provide us with contradictions and confusion. Although it may seem as though I’m over-simplifying the “God argument” (for those who don’t believe) and I know there are many other layers – the way we view God has continued to be one of the greatest difficulties the world over.
But when we consider ourselves; knowing that there’s meaning to our lives and we are in this world with a purpose; perhaps one we’re well on our way to discovering or which remains yet hidden, we ought to know our God is awesome in wonder for the created world most especially each one of us are an amazing creation. But we also know every other person is created with equal and great dignity. Even though I studied a lot of theology in preparation and formation as a priest, I found I never went very far wrong to remember that I was created with no greater love by the same God who created all the majestic works of beauty in the world, but with all those great things, as great as they are, He chose only to have a deeply loving relationship with me, you and all of the human race. With the help of others who He loved with equal dignity to me (my parents), the Lord loved me into existence and here I am, and you are growing in relationship with Him.
That’s the starting place. Today’s Gospel in which our Lord Jesus encourages us to earnest and authentic prayer – ask, search and knock. He compares our relationship with Him to our relationship with those whom we love. If we give in love to others, then we can be certain the Lord who loves us more than any human being is capable of loving another, desires to grant us what will help us, strengthen us, will enrich us. I think we all remember a prayer that wasn’t answered directly, so we have to allow our prayers and needs to be purified by love and faith, but we can be assured that if we are earnest and honest, what we ask for will be given us.