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by David Truman

Like in any relationship, the quality of our communications with God affects how the relationship feels. Prayer comes in many flavors and qualities, but true prayer is an honest and loving exchange in which we talk to God in the spirit of sweet intimacy, and listen to Him with an open heart. Here are some suggestions to help you to maintain a good, intimate, strong relationship with God:

1. Accept the Presence of God

First we need to accept that God is with us right now. No use trying to communicate otherwise! When we pray with the presumption that God is far away, we're presenting God with a difficult situation:

How can we possibly have an intimate conversation with a God who (we think) is not here? And,

How can God talk to US under those conditions?

Know that God is not elsewhere, hearing (or not hearing) our prayers from far away. God is always beside us, within us, and all around us. He knows what's on our minds. She understands what's in our hearts, so deeply, from within.

Have confidence that God hears and responds to every whisper of your heart. So, talk to God not as a distant authority figure, but as your present Beloved; and speak to Him knowing that you are beloved of God. This is the basis for good, meaningful, and functional prayer.

2. Bringing our presents/presence to God

Remember that prayer is a gift to God -- not just a request for something from God. When we bring loving attitudes and intentions to God in prayer, She is happy. This is our present to the Omnipresent.

And "bringing our presence" also refers to being with God in spirit, in mind, and in heart. It pains God when we forget Her, or try to go about our lives without Her. She is delighted when we remember Her and want to consciously be with Her. No kidding -- delighted!

We tend to think that God doesn't need us, but She does. She yearns for a deep relationship with us. She needs our love, our attention, our loyalty. And, just as in any human relationship, the only effective way to develop a deep and fulfilling intimacy with God is to love Her.

So friends, may all our prayers be sincere communications of deep affinity, intimacy, and love. May they all be powerful affirmations of the truth and goodness of the relationship with God. That will gladden the heart of the Beloved, and make the relationship functional in the heart.