We come before God as we are, not as we wish to be
We come to God as we are, right here, right now. We come to God with humility, acknowledging how we are, including our limitations, our hurts, our joys, even how we physically feel. We enter into the relationship from this humble authenticity and with our heart open to the mystery of the loving heart of God.
We ask God what he wants us to pray about
In this authenticity, and open to God’s loving presence, we ask him, of everything going on in our lives, what does he wish us to pray about? What does he want us to be with in prayer? How is he calling us? Then we wait; we notice what may come, we are open to his loving Spirit as it gently reveals himself to us through his living grace and divine mercy.
We surrender into the loving presence of God, into the loving heart of Jesus
Essentially this prayer is our surrender into the personal loving presence of our Lord, exemplified by his loving heart. This is the simple key to our prayer experience. Letting go into our prayer subject within our experience of the love of Jesus is the heart of the prayer.
Through our faith we let ourselves experience this tender divine compassion by taking our selves into the mystery of this abiding love, and letting go into this very real and very present gift of Jesus’ loving heart. In this way we simply are open to experiencing his tenderness and loving acceptance, felt inside us, not as a concept but as an abiding and familiar experience.
It is God who draws us forward into our prayer experience
It is God’s love for us that draws us forward into our prayer experience. It is not our actions or thoughts, or anything that our companion does or says. Our companion simply helps us stay attentive to this inward pull from God. For “the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” God, who knows and searches our hearts, causes the Holy Spirit to stir within us at first even beyond our perceptions, beyond our knowing, “too deep for words”, praying within us and calling us to him “according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
A blend of contemplative and personal prayer
In faith we are attentive to this gentle quiet movement of the Holy Spirit within us, surrendering into what God calls us to listen to and notice, as our prayer subject is formed and as it changes, all within the tender embrace of Jesus’ love, within his loving heart, as we let go into God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit praying within us. In this prayer experience we allow time to wait, to notice, and to nurture our deepening relationship with him as he reveals himself and his love to us.
A relationship that grows over time
When Companioned Prayer is practiced over time, God opens us to his abiding presence and we flower in him. This is our discovery that awaits us: the experience of God calling us personally into a new and intimate relationship with him, into his revelation, and into his mercy and grace, felt and known inside us.
This is a gentle and gradual process. It cannot be hurried. But amazingly, we can give ourselves to it through Companioned Prayer. This prayer is not just something that we do; it is time we spend being open to, and nurturing of, our awareness of God as the prime mover and shaper of our lives. And when we do that consciously and regularly, we find that we are carried forward in his hands by his love, in ways beyond our knowing, that guide us and transforms our understanding of ourselves as children of him who loves us deeply.
The gift of God
While individual prayer experiences gift us with God’s intimate mercy, the greater gift is his real presence to us. This is a presence of being in a personal relationship with our Lord, of knowing Jesus in our hearts, a presence and relationship that unfolds, deepens and develops over time as our awareness of him is nurtured through our many Companioned Prayer experiences.
How does this happen? It happens because God is love and he loves us. When we give ourselves to this love in trust and humility, we open ourselves to a greater knowing of him, and of his gifts of mercy and grace. Companioned Prayer has steps or movements that help guide us through this encounter. Our prayer companion offers us these guided movements as we stay focused interiorly on our walk with God, as Jesus calls us into prayer, into a personally meaningful relationship with him.
Over time we begin to abide in God’s constant presence and love, and we know that Jesus’ love for us is complete, as we are enveloped and nurtured by the mystery of his love. Within all this, we recognize him in others, in service, in scripture, in worship and in the Eucharist, and in the Church, which all become more valued to us than before. When practiced over time, Companioned Prayer offers us God’s personal gift to us: Himself.