Prayer is the simple manifestation of being in a relaxed way in the presence of a faithful friend.
Is God our friend? Being friends with God sounds unimaginable; yet, Sacred Scripture presents over and over again our relationship with God in terms of friendship. In the Book of Genesis, Abraham, throughout his life, shows us the closeness of God with men. In addition, the Book of Exodus leaves no room for doubt when we read: “The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, as he speaks with a friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
It is important to note that the initiative comes from God himself; we have been given the inconceivable possibility of talking face to face with our own Creator. All this is definitively illuminated by the life of the Son of God on earth. In fact, the whole life of Jesus is an invitation to friendship with God, the Father.
Jesus tells us everything he knows about the Father in order to continue drawing us into friendship with God. True friends share and talk. Prayer helps us to develop an intimate relationship with God by sitting quietly with him and sharing our thoughts. St. John Paul II said: “If in our time Christians must be distinguished above all by the ‘art of prayer,’ how can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament?”1
There is so much to say about prayer! I just agree that, from my own experience, praying is simply being with God just as I am. God has called us first and he never stops calling us and pursuing us.
For me, it is crucial to find a moment of silence each day in order to allow the Word of God to become flesh in me; to sit quietly and allow God to speak directly to my heart. As I make time to talk with my friends and with my mom every afternoon, I also look for time to be with God. Why not open the doors of my heart for him to visit me and hug me?
I don’t think I have ever experienced two moments of prayer that are the exactly the same. Ideas and affections burst into the conversation that give fluidity to my time of prayer and help me to perceive the presence of my friend, my God. The important thing about prayer for me is to maintain an openness to the dialogue without letting myself get discouraged or allowing my attitude to deteriorate.
Fortunately, God speaks to us in many ways. He speaks in Scripture, in the liturgy, in spiritual direction and through the world around us. He speaks to us through the circumstances of life: at work, in the vicissitudes of the day, and in our dealing with others. Prayer is, above all, listening to how God is talking to us and letting Him take center stage in our being.
One way to help God take center stage in our lives is to meditate on the life of Christ. This allows us to understand our personal history and to open ourselves to God’s grace. We want Jesus to transform our lives into a true reflection of himself. God the Father has predestined us to conform to the image of his Son and he wants to see Christ formed in us. In that way, we can exclaim with Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live; it is Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Let us not miss this opportunity today to pray. Let’s not only pray for ourselves, but also for each other. Let us listen carefully to what God is trying to tell us and be mindful of how God is communicating with us throughout our day. Let us also take the opportunity to pray in a special way for the migrants and refugees on this World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
O Virgin Mary, consolation of the afflicted, may you lead us to Christ, Light of all people, so that the face of the earth and the face of the poor may be renewed. Amen.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, April 17, 2003, n. 25.
Paula Gomez Victorica was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was a contemplative nun of the Order of Saint Benedict for 20 years. Since 2001, she has lived in Natick, Massachusetts.
Paula is a Certified Spiritual Director. She currently teaches Biblical Spirituality in asynchronous courses online at Boston College. She is the Coordinator of the Hispanic Community at Saint Ignatius Parish, Chestnut Hill, MA. She is also a Eucharistic Minister and collaborates in the pastoral and enrichment commissions in two parishes of the Metrowest.