istock_communityCommunication is a lot more than words. And if prayer is communication with God, then it must be more than the act of speaking (or thinking). We communicate with, those we love, with those with whom we are in relationship, in a variety of ways. Through both verbal and nonverbal communication we make our needs known but also express an attentiveness to the other in solidarity, sympathy, and compassion, or in distance, disinterest, and contempt. One need not speak these things to communicate them to another.

I would suggest that this type of communication is what we need to consider in our reflection on spirituality. Just as our interpersonal relationships—whether they be with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, lovers, or strangers—requires us to communicate our whole selves beyond mere words, so too our relationship with God requires us to communicate our whole selves to our Creator. In this sense, my relationship with God becomes my prayer. My relationship with God becomes a total communication that transcends simply verbal expression to include my whole self. This means that my relationship with God is my prayer. It becomes an ongoing expression of who I am—with all of my joy and success, all of my pain and sorrow—to God. To view prayer as relationship in light of such a total communication suggests a degree of intimacy that rises above many of our previous experiences of another.

—from Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis (2012).

Photo: Stock

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