“God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter knowns as prayer. In prayer… God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response.” (CCC ¶2567)
The Catholic church teaches us that we are made for God, we long for God, and we only find lasting fulfillment in God. St. Augustine said, after long personal experience, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Or as C.S. Lewis said, “All that we call human history… [is] the long, terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
What comes as a surprise to us is that God is not passive in this search. As much as we long for God, He longs for us even more. God desires us and seeks an intimate and profound Communion with us. Fr. Mark Toups in the Oremus program shares this image: As you are going to pray, imagine the spot where you will sit. It could be the chair at the adoration chapel, your lazy boy at home in your prayer corner, or the park bench where you plan to pray. As you approach, God has sat down ahead of you and is already there waiting for you. As you sit down, he receives you there, like a Father waiting for His child. Prayer is not so much about making our voices heard, and trying to make something happen, but more about opening our hearts to the Love who is all around us, is quietly speaking to our hearts, and is constantly pursing a relationship with us. The next time you go to pray, remember: God is already there waiting for you.