the intimacy of Prayer

I generally have an idea where I want a blog to go, but somehow starting it, getting to the point that I want to make is sometimes far more difficult than making the point God puts on my heart. So how fitting is it that this week He places prayer on my heart, so as I struggle to find the words to describe His love I shall simply begin in His name…

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, AMEN.

When I was a youth minister the teens used to call the sign of the cross “dialing in” others call it “signing on” to God. The sign of the cross reminds us who we are and places us in the presence of God. When we cross ourselves we are reminded that our entire bodies are made for worship. The world often tells us that our bodies are made for use, for attraction, seduction, sex. Wrong. Our bodies, all that we are is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26…that verse was POUNDED into my head in my theology classes in college!). Our bodies were made by Him and for Him. Our bodies glorify Him, so when we cross ourselves we ought to be reminded that everything we do is for His glory.

In a world that so often tells us that we are made for sex we come all to easily to equate sex with intimacy. In many way sex is extraordinarily intimate, but in other ways it can be anything but. Our hearts long for intimacy because we were created out of the intimacy known to the Trinity alone. The Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is the truest form of relationship and because we were created from that Love we long to share in that same kind of intimacy. Our desire for such intimacy is known to Satan, and it is known to the world. Why do you think ads are so full of desire? Advertising companies know that all people long for intimacy so in order to sell their products they use sex to make us think that sex or being sexy will fill that longing in our hearts. But does sex really fill that void? I would contend that it doesn’t. Ever.

What about in marriage you say? Not even there. Sex isn’t enough to make a marriage last, sex doesn’t create intimacy. Prayer does. When we pray we open our hearts to God, we are welcomed into the interior life of the Trinity and we are filled by the intimacy the Trinity shares with us. Prayer is more intimate than anything the world could offer us, and it is far better because you can’t really sell prayer (let’s forget for a moment about that whole selling indulgences thing…). Prayer comes freely, it is the gateway to the heart of God. As St. Therese of Lisieux once said, “for me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” Prayer is a surge of the heart, it is an intimacy with the God who created us.

But prayer doesn’t stop there. Prayer can (and should be) intimate with others, which is why I contend that sex, even in a Sacramental marriage doesn’t fill the void, it isn’t total intimacy. That kind of intimacy can only come through prayer, through shared prayer in which we ask God to show us our significant other’s heart. We pray for them when we can’t see them, we pray for them before we meet them. We pray for them when we are together and we pray with each other when we are together. We pray for each other when we are apart. This kind of intimacy, these shared prayers are the only way to real intimacy, to sharing in the loving relationship of the Trinity. Besides, if you and your significant other pray with God, aren’t there three people involved? Yes! More trinity!

Matt Maher has a great song about how love can hold us together, but I would say even more that prayer holds us together. You and your significant other can’t see each other for a few days or weeks? Make a time, no matter where you are and what you are doing to stop and say a prayer for each other. Say the Rosary together even if you are on opposite ends of the world. Trust me when I say that when you open your hearts to each other and to God in prayer He will keep your hearts close even though the miles between you may seem endless. Through prayer we keep our hearts close to God, through prayer He keeps our hearts close to those we love. So, when you have that hunger for intimacy and you find that its not being filled by the world, remember that you are made for God and in Him alone we find intimacy, we find love, we find peace.

Lord, may we always come to you in prayer for you know our hearts better than we ourselves know them. May you keep and guard our hearts and the hearts of those we love. Though we may be absent from those we care most deeply about may you keep our hearts joined by the power of Your Love. AMEN.

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