Henri Nouwen Thoughts on Prayer

Why should I spend an hour in prayer when I do nothing during that time but think about people I’m at odds with, people who are at odds with me, things that I should be reading and doing, and many other hardly-important things that happen to grab my mind for a moment? Why ?? Because God is greater than my mind and my heart, and what is really happening in the “house of prayer” is not measurable in normal human terms of success and failure.

If for no other reason, I must spend time at prayer simply as an act of faithfulness. If I believe that the First Commandment is to love God with my whole heart, mind and soul, then I should at least be able to spend one hour a day with nobody but God, Whether it is helpful, useful, practical or fruitful is completely irrelevant. The only reason to love is for the sake of love itself. Everything else is secondary. The remarkable thing, however is that sitting in the presence of God for one hour each morning (day after day, week by week, month after month, often in confusion and with a myriad of distractions) radically changes my life.
God, who loves me so much that He sent His only Son not to condemn me but to save me, does not leave me waiting in the dark too long. I might think that each hour is useless, but after thirty or sixty or ninety such useless hours, I gradually come to realize that I have not been as alone as I might have thought: a very small, gentle voice has been speaking to me far beyond my noisy places.

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