Praying As We Age Prayer is essentially about nurturing our relationship with God.
Praying As We Age
Prayer is essentially about nurturing our relationship with God. We can have a relationship with each of the persons of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can also have a relationship with the saints. As we grow older, all of our relationships in life tend to change. And, experience has shown that our relationship with God goes through some changes as we age. What are those changes and how can we prepare for them and experience them with grace?
Change happens the longer a relationship lasts
We all know that relationships have a flow. There are ups and downs. There are times of greater or less intimacy. We spend lots of time together and then we can get very busy and spend less time. Communication changes as we grow in comfort and grow in the skills necessary to reveal ourselves to another and to express our feelings more deeply. Sometimes, there are great ruptures in a relationship, with perhaps a period of distance, followed by reconciliation and a renewed connection. Good, healthy, loving, self-sacrificing relationships grow in lover more deeply as the years go by. Signs of affection can become simpler and more bonding. There has been a strong growth in a sense of “us-together” which is beyond “me and you.” In long-lasting relationships, there can be a growing comfort, just being in each other’s presence.
Our relationship with God has these same patterns
Fundamentally our relationship with God is a gift. We don’t create it, earn it or maintain it on our own. However, our relationship with God has many of these same elements. To the degree that we continue to nurture in that relationship, with personal interaction – moving beyond formal prayers, written by others – we can grow in intimacy with God. Formal prayers, as well as devotions, rituals and liturgy, are key ways to nurture a prayer life, for us as individuals and as a community. However, Pope Francis makes an important distinction between “saying prayers” and praying. He encourages us to develop a relationship which is personal and has elements of affection and genuine interaction. It is this kind of praying intimacy which takes on the elements of relationship, as we know it.