On Prayer

Prayer is to be in God's presence with open hands and an open heart.

There are many things in my life to which I cling as with a clinched fist -- my possessions for sure, but the immaterial things as well -- the work I do, the position I hold, the friends I have, my ideas, my principles, my image. If I should open my fist, they still remain. Nothing drops out. But my hands are open. And that is what prayer is.

After a while, if I am willing to remain long enough with my open hands, the Lord will come. He will have a look and roam through my hands to see what I have. He may be surprised -- so many things ! Then He will look at me and ask:

Would you mind if I take out this little bit?' And I answer, 'Of course you may take it out. That's why I am here with open hands.'

And perhaps the Lord will look another time and ask: 'Would you mind if I put something else in your hands ?' And I answer: 'Of course you may.'

That is the heart of prayer. The Lord may take something out, and He may put something in. No one else can do this, but He may."

Peter G. VanBreemen, S.J., As Bread That Is Broken

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