Location: New England, United States

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Intimacy With God

As the public schools in our small city are rated below average, I opted to send my son to a Catholic school. He embraced his new school fully deciding to be baptized into the Catholic faith and receiving the prescribed sacraments. Although I am a born-again Christian with Southern Baptist leanings, I had no problem with my son's decision. I, too had been raised a Catholic. I often referred to my Catholic upbringing as spiritual baby food.

I had recently joined a Baptist Church in our community, and my son, now fourteen years old, agreed to attend their services with me. The promise of Sunday brunch after the service helped with his decision.

While eating our eggs and Belgium waffles, I asked my son for his thoughts on the Sunday service. In response, he asked, "Why don't they pray during the service?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"No one said any prayers during the entire Mass."

Suddenly, I realized what he meant. He had not heard any of the prescribed prayer that is normally heard in the Catholic church. In response I said, "Please pass the syrup. Please pass the syrup. Please pass the syrup. Please pass the syrup."

"Why are you doing that." he replied truculently.

"Just as my repeating the same thing over and over causes you stress, those repetitive prayers stress God. God created us for intimacy with him. If all your conversations with God are rote prayers, written by someone else, how can you have intimacy with him?"

Our Father is aware of our every thought. Even further, he sees our motive behind every thought; something that his children can effectively hide from themselves. God knows us better than we know ourselves. When we pray in rote prayer or even when we flower our prayer with fancy prose, he is not impressed.

What impresses God is intimacy. He wants to know all our thoughts, all our feelings. It is an act of arrogance to believe that we can hide our true feelings from God. I have railed at God in anger - I have even called him names. He didn't cast me out, he didn't turn away from me. Instead, knowing my pain, he comforted me.

When the Bible says that we should pray without ceasing, it is referring to discourse; everyday conversations. Our relationship with God should be the most intimate relationship of our lives, yet we converse with our spouses, children and friends more than we converse with God. As our other relationships would suffer and perhaps cease without daily conversation, our relationship with God suffers when we are not constantly and consistently speaking with him.

I travel through my day in constant conversation with God. "Hey, did you see that?" "What should I do next?" "Help me, I am angry at what she just did." This is the fodder for intimacy. Make God a complete part of your life with constant conversation. He enjoys being with you.


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