Prayer is the food of the soul. Just as our bodies need nourishment so, too, do our souls which, in hungering for God, need to be nourished by prayer. Much of the stress that many people experience today comes from the fact that they neglect to nourish their souls. Our bodies, minds and souls make up a unit. Our society is becoming more and more geared towards looking after the body and the mind, but unless some harmony is restored by including the soul and bringing these three elements together, it is inevitable that people will experience anxiety.
St Augustine said, ‘You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. ’ A lot of the anxiety that people experience in their busy lives could be alleviated if some time was given to prayer and the search for God. Jesus is the Source of Peace and we cannot hope to have peace within ourselves unless we draw life from that source.
Essentially, prayer is a conversation with God, speaking to Him who created and loves us and listening to what He has to say to us. In this book, we want to offer a few different methods of prayer that we feel are well suited to the type of lives we live today. Prayer is a relationship, so we all experience it differently. We have given examples of different types of prayer and hope that you will find an approach that suits you. Why not decide to spend ten or fifteen minutes a day in prayer? If you already do this, why not increase it to thirty minutes?
Prayer and holiness is for everyone in every situation. It is having our whole being in harmony with God’s plan for us. We will never achieve true happiness if we continue to search for it outside the very source of love, which we know is God Himself. Scripture tells us that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:16).
As Saint John Paul II said in his letter on the dawn of the new millennium, why not ‘start afresh from Christ’ ? You won’t regret it!
When we succeed in living in God’s time, open to the epiphany underlying every little happening and every commonplace gesture, we are in fact engaging in a truly contemplative exercise and making a declaration of freedom in the face of a world that suffers from a self-centred understanding of time which pushes people towards despair or mindless escapism. The contemplative is a witness to the truth that time is not money but relationship.
Giacomo Bini OFM