If your prayer life is moving you outside of your comfort zone, it is likely you are being invited into spiritual maturity and into a deeper love.[1]  Prayer is more than begging God for your way.  God is not part of Amazon Prime.  Prayer is an invitation to be with the Holy One and to be with who you are in God. 

As long as we are too comfortable in our spiritual journey or too opinionated, and too sure we have the whole truth and the only truth, our heart’s soil is rocky and hard.[2]  Jesus’ teaching points out that hard-rocky soil does not allow for lasting growth (Matthew 13).  Prayer calls us to remove the hard edges of our hearts, gather up the rocks, and work into the soil some life-giving nourishment.  Then out of this deeply holy space of our being, the still waters are stirred.  And we are invited outside of our comfort zone.  Right there – just outside of your comfort zone – is More of God. 

God is not interested in any box you construct to understand God.  I dare say God is not even interested in your denomination. Denominations have often divided the body of Christ way more than uniting it.  God longs for your heart to be with God’s heart.  These words and ideas may trouble your inner knowing and in that trouble is that invitation to spiritual maturity and deeper love.  

Both the Old and New Testament contain the clear message to love yourself.  The Hebrew law and Jesus himself centered on this one great law.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor in the same way as you love yourself.[3]  I have written about loving ourselves in previous postings, but what I offer today is a connection between our prayer life and love for self.  What if one of the great, unspoken values of a daily prayer time was an increased ability to love yourself?  What if as you and God linger in a time of prayer you become open to accepting and loving yourself – as you are, maybe a bit messy, perhaps aware of how you miss the mark, in your struggles with life, broken, healing, hurting – during this pray time your love grows, flows, and expands within you.  What if prayer becomes part of the healing path for your wounds, for your lack of love for yourself and others?   Perhaps this is another bit of the mystery as to why we are invited to prayer. 

[1] Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The gift of contemplative prayer, (New York: The Crossroads Publishing Company, 1999), 23.

[2] Ibid, 35.

[3] Lev. 19:17 and Mark 12:32.