by David Truman

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Be pleasant with the Omnipresent

Everybody already has some kind of relationship with God, whether it's conscious or unconscious, positive or negative, or just plain mediocre. But the relationship that would fulfill your heart is one that is sweet, trusting, and intimate. It is warm and familiar: pleasant with the Omnipresent.

Pleasant with the Omnipresent does not imply that we need to be fake or superficial with God. In fact, relating to God in the spirit of sweet intimacy is far less superficial than the more formal and distant relationship people often assume.

Besides, close intimacy with God is. God is not elsewhere, hearing our prayers from far away. He knows what's on our minds, understands what's in our hearts, so deeply, from the inside. God is with us and within us, always. Living awareness of that bond is the heart of a right relationship to God.

The best way to pray

True prayer, then, is an intimate conversation with God, an honest and loving exchange in which we come to God with an open heart, talk to Him, and listen to Him. And, as with any relationship, this is important: the mood and content that we (predominantly) bring to our communications with God determines how the relationship feels. The suggestions that follow are not a formula for prayer, but some basic principles about prayer that will help you to maintain a good, intimate, and strong relationship with God.

1. Accept the presence of God. God is here, but the problem is, we don't feel much benefit from God's presence when we're unaware of it. We want and need the experience of a close personal relationship with God. For that, the first thing we need is to accept that God is with us right now, and always.

When we go to pray with the presumption that God is not with us, we are presenting God with a very difficult situation: How can we possibly have a conversation with a God who (we think) is not here? How can God talk to us under those conditions?

You'll understand God's predicament if you've ever had a friend confide in you: "I have nobody to talk to. Nobody listens to me." And you felt, "Hey! I'm here listening to you right now! Don't you even see me here?" That friend made it impossible for you to help them or comfort them, because they weren't seeing or hearing you. In the same way, if we do not accept God's presence, we make it impossible to receive God's love, blessings, and guidance.

Furthermore, when we pray with the belief that God is absent or far away, we reinforce our feeling of distance from God. Here's how: By concentrating on trying to reach God, as if He were not already here, we increase our conviction that He is not here. Then, feeling the sense of distance created by that, we try a little harder and shout a little louder to reach God, but that only makes Him seem even more distant. It becomes a vicious circle: we become more and more convinced that God is far away, and at the same time, God becomes less and less able to reach us, all because we have closed ourselves to the reality that He is right here, right now. Before we can feel close to God, we must stop asserting that God is far from us.

The truth is, God is here. The God that is far away is not the true God. You don't have to yell to get His attention; the true God is neither deaf nor prone to ignore your calls. He is always beside you, within you, and all around you. He hears and responds to every whisper of your heart. So friend, talk to God not as if He were far away, but as your Beloved; and speak to Him knowing that you are His beloved. This is the basis for good, meaningful, and functional prayer.

2. Bringing our presents/presence to God. Prayer is a gift to God, not just a request for something from God. When we bring bright and loving attitudes and intentions to God in prayer, She is happy. This is our present to the Divine.

Also, "bringing our presence" refers to being present with God. Not only is it important to accept the presence of God in prayer, but also, to be present ourselves. Our presence is a great present to God. When we call or visit a loved one, we realize that we are making them happy by doing so. The same is true of God. God wants to stay in touch. God loves us, wants us, and is happy to be remembered by us. 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.

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. Just as it is in any human relationship, the only effective way to develop a deep and fulfilling intimacy with God is to love Her.

So when you come to God in prayer, do so with full awareness of what you are bringing, and how that affects the relationship between you and God.

May it be so

May our prayers be a sincere communication of deep affinity, intimacy, and love. Such prayers are a powerful affirmation of the truth and goodness of the relationship with God, and will gladden the heart of the Beloved.

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