After I finished “The Way of the Heart” by Henri Nouwen, the biggest thing that stuck with me has proved to be the most useful thing about prayer I’ve read recently. It is only though some recent conversations that I have discovered that I am the not the only one who does not know about this. So I’ll tell it here just in case you, like me, haven’t heard:
I have always felt a little disingenuous in the past when I have told people “I’ll pray for you.” That’s because it is very rare that I ever sit down and use thought-words to list off to God all of the people I need to pray for. And I always forget someone when I do. So I feel bad. “I’ll pray for you” had become an equivalent of “I’ll think of you” which just seemed less than what I promised.
So what Nouwen told me was that I bring all my intentions automatically to God when I go to him in silent prayer. He knows my entire being — there’s nothing I can “tell” him about me that he doesn’t already know — so I don’t need to sit and check off a list of prayer requests in my mind. Simply entering into silent prayer and staying a while will do the trick. Then the concerns of your heart will sort of “upload” on their own. Who’d have thought?
What a relief to me! I am a lot more generous with the prayer intentions now, becuase I have a way to lift up all my friends, family, and those I care about in a way that I will actually do it.
Now this may not be news to most of you, but it was a revelation for me and has done good things in my prayer life. It would be selfish of me not to share.