“God sees everything; we know this in a very abstract way, but we must discover it on the practical level. Prayer opens us up to this discovery by revealing to us the marvelous transforming power of poverty, which passes from mere lack to dependence on the person we love. The fact that God knows our needs rescues us from our impoverished state, owing to the love that such a state makes clear.
And so, for us, prayer is no longer a teaching of God that is external to us. In making us aware, little by little, of our real poverty, God gradually brings us to placing ourselves before him with trust, as beings who know they cannot do without him. Becoming conscious of our true desire, our true need, takes place within us; we have been brought to this light; we now understand it after so many roundabout efforts, which were, in a sense, stratagems of God’s love for us. Since God already knows our needs, he looks forward to hearing them expressed again and again, not to burden or torment us but in order that by discovering their real dimension, we may realize their supreme value: they are an opportunity to talk with him, as a son does with his father. One of the first spiritual masters, Evagrius, said that God delays in giving us what we need, perhaps first of all, because he enjoys hearing us speak to him. Of what importance are our needs… it is so good to stand before him and speak to him. Saint John Chrysostom remarked: “If God puts off answering us, it is solely to keep us near him for a longer time, as fathers do, who love their children. ‘But I am unworthy,’ you say. Your perseverance in prayer will make you worthy. God often makes us wait in order to show himself more generous.” Thus, the pedagogy of God in prayer consists in drawing us more and more to depend on him, and in this way helping us to overcome the overwhelming discovery of our limitations by the certainty that this discovery leads us to the secret of love.”
Fr. Bernard Bro, O.P. [from The Rediscovery of Prayer]
James L. Shumaker says
I noted in the Magnificat this morning Bernard Bro’s meditation on prayer, which triggered me to find out more about him and check out his other writings. Prayer is not necessarily to get what we pray for, but effectively to become a different person. Wow!