Henri Nouwen on Prayer

Prayer is not the prelude to the work. It is the work. I think Henri Nouwen says it best:

“Prayer requires that we stand in God’s presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. This is difficult in a climate where the predominant counsel is ‘Do your best and God will do the rest.’ When life is divided into ‘our best’ and ‘God’s rest,’ we have turned prayer into a last resort to be used only when all our resources are depleted. Then even the Lord has become the victim of our impatience. Discipleship does not mean to use God when we can no longer function ourselves. On the contrary, it means to recognize that we can do nothing at all, but that God can do everything through us. As disciples, we find not some but all of our strength, hope, courage, and confidence in God. Therefore, prayer must be our first concern.

Allow God to do something through you today.  

It might be an act of charity for someone in need, a visit to someone who is lonely. Or it might be a willingness to forgive an injury or to accept forgiveness. It might even be something God wants you to do for yourself, like accept the rest God is offering to you. 

Whatever God accomplishes through you, give heartfelt thanks” (Henri Nouwen).

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