I will praise the Lord, who counsels me,
even at night my heart instructs me,
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
We are invited to engage with God in ongoing conversation. Night and day we listen as God counsels and instructs us. Night and day we practice awareness of God’s loving, guiding presence. Night and day we commune with God. The prayer of communion with God is the prayer of praying “without ceasing”. It is the prayer of the “practice of the presence” that Brother Lawrence described when he said that it did not matter if he was kneeling in prayer in the chapel or washing dishes in the kitchen, he was engaged in the prayer of communion with God.
We may not think that such a prayer is real. We may think it is just for those who are in full time religious work of some kind. But this kind of prayer is real. And it is meant for everyone. It is the expression of the deepest truth about prayer—that it is a relationship with God. It is an ongoing, vital, personal, communicating, communing relationship with the living God.
Thomas Kelly says this about the prayer of communion:
Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is in our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life.…How, then, shall we lay hold of that Life and Power, and live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward Him who calls in the deeps for our souls.…One can live in a well nigh continuous state of unworded prayer, directed toward God, directed toward people and enterprises we have on our heart. (Thomas Kelly A Testament of Devotion, 1941, Harper Collins New York, New York, pages 3, 11, 98)
The prayer of communion with God is a way of life in which God becomes our most intimate Other. God is the Light within us and around us. God is our Breath, our Hope, our Wisdom, our Life. We talk to God about everything. We consult with God about everything. We listen to God’s counsel. We find strength in God’s constant presence with us. We return again and again throughout each day and night to our heart’s true Home.
You are my Life.
You are the Light within me.
You are my Guide,
my closest Friend.
Thank you that you counsel me.
Thank you for guiding me.
Awaken me each moment
to awareness of you.
May I live a life of
communion with you.
Begin to practice turning your heart and mind toward God throughout the day and any time at night that you are awake. You might find it helpful to gently move your focus from your head to your heart, even placing your hand over your heart, remembering the “amazing inner sanctuary of the soul—the Divine Center” within. Continue this practice every day, asking God to help you live in awareness of God’s loving voice and presence with you.