Prayer Is Relationship

Author: Niklas Carlsson


Prayer Is Relationship

Niklas Carlsson examines the importance of prayer in our relationship with God. 

Back in April 2019, I was in a low place.

I questioned my life choices, especially about work and ministry. I did not know the answer to my troubles.

However, due to the formation I have received as a member of Cor et Lumen Christi Community, I knew who did: Jesus. So I went to the chapel to pray.

I have prayed for an hour every day for over 20 years. Usually prayer for me is a question of perseverance, with fairly regular glimpses of light, and very occasional watershed experiences. This time of prayer was one of those watershed experiences.

During that time, God really spoke to me. He put me in touch with my dream and what I am passionate about.

It was like an awakening to a new joy in my ministry. I am still feeding from that experience-it was a real gift of grace from God. I am so grateful to Him for it.

This story illustrates the power of prayer in my own life.

What is your experience of prayer? Do you pray? If so, why? If not, why not?

I am not asking you these questions to make you feel guilty, but to give you an opportunity to think about what prayer actually is and the place it has in your life.

What Is Prayer?

I love going back to the foundations and basic truths about our faith.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church  (CCC) is a treasure trove for me.

The Catechism  is split into four parts. The final part is entitled "Christian Prayer", and the very first paragraph of that section is a beautiful summary of the entire Catholic faith.

It says our faith is to be lived “in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God.” Then the Catechism says something astonishing: “This relationship is prayer.” (CCC 2558)

It does not say: “This relationship is greatly helped by prayer.” It does not even say “…This relationship requires prayer”. No, it says that “this relationship IS prayer.”

In other words, prayer is essentially relationship. It is a “vital”, one-to-one, intimate and “personal” relationship. It is also necessary, crucial and life-giving-a relationship with God Himself, the Creator, Saviour and Sanctifier of the whole universe.

Prayer is an incredible gift from God.

Prayer As Relationship

What kind of relationship is prayer?

Prayer is much more than just “asking God for things”. Praise, thanksgiving, penitence, petition, reading and meditating on Scripture, as well as listening to God - these all have a place in prayer.

For me, though, the essence of prayer is dwelling with God in silent longing and worship of Him. It is a very intimate thing.

If you had a perfect friend, your very best and closest friend in the world, and you had the opportunity to speak every day - would you?

Well, prayer is even BETTER-Jesus is your best friend, your protection and your salvation. There really is no one else like Him. That may sound like a cliché, but it really is my experience.

Time and again, Jesus has proved Himself to be my very best friend, my champion.

Get Praying!

So I would like to encourage you: if you already pray, stick with it. If you don’t pray, start today.

Start small and work your way up. 15 or 20 minutes spent every day in prayer is a great start, and a lot better than starting with an hour a day and giving up after a week.

There are stages in prayer, and a structure can be very helpful-especially in the beginning. One ancient structure that has stood the test of time is Lectio Divina - there are lots of resources about it online.

Let us live our faith in a personal and vital relationship with the God of love.

Let us pray!

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