Finished Reading “God and You: Prayer as a Personal Relationship”
Just finished reading the book “God and You: Prayer as a Personal Relationship” By William A. Barry S.J.
When I started reading this book, I thought “what could it possibly reveal to me about prayer which I already don’t know?” I was wrong. It changed my opinion of prayer completely.
I always knew that prayer is speaking with god. In other words I thought prayer is a conversation with the supreme being. I never thought prayer could be more than that. I thought saying prayer is a conversation or a dialogue, means that prayer is like sending requests and receiving orders.
But I was wrong. It is far more than a mere conversation with another being. This book expresses prayer as a relationship. Not just a relationship, but a conscious relationship, in which both persons involved (in this case God and you) WANT to have a relationship. As with any other relationship, prayer also has mutual revelation/transparency. We engage in relationship because we are attracted to other person, not just because the relationship makes us better. Yes, prayer has effect on the person who prays, but that effect is NOT the primary motive. The primary motive is Love.
The real difficulty faced by most people is to believe that God loves them in-spite of their sinful nature, and hence they are lovable. One of the fears we have is that God will make demands on us if we allow him to get close. But these difficulties can be easily over come when we understand that God wants to have a relationship with you. Not because you could do thing for him, but because he loves you. Just loves for who you are and what you are.
The book even goes further encouraging us to discuss our inner sexual desires with God. At first I felt uneasy. But the book goes on to suggest to remove God from that safety region and place him in our intimate region, so that we can discuss our inner most desire with god, as we may do with our spouse or a close friend. This is one more thing which changed they way in which I looked God. God knows that we are sexual beings and he loves us the way we are.
In summary this book changed the way in which I pray. As sister Sister Mary Judith joked in The Oprah Winfrey Show, ‘God is a hard person to have a relationship with, because if something goes wrong in the relationship, you can be sure its because of you’.
Even though his book around a christian image of God, most part of it is generic. That is, it can be applied to any supreme being. Hence it is a must-read for everyone searching for the divine being.
P.S: Almost the entire book could be read in Google Books (link in first para), I recommend to not to read it from a computer.