I Call You Friends…
A reflection on prayer from the Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery
By A Dominican Nun
Is it possible to see God as our friend?
Jesus says, I call you friends. If God calls us friends, then we ought to call God our friend.
Certainly, God is not a “friend” like our virtual friends on social media. He is a real friend who loves and wills the best for us. But how do we communicate with the divine? It is done through prayer.
Prayer is a heart-to-heart conversation with God that is honest, sincere, humble and loving. It is not simply words uttered with specific intentions, requests or rehearsed speech meant to convince God, but is spoken from the depths of one’s desire for a close and personal relationship with him. Just as friendship thrives on conversation, so our relationship with God will deepen if we are faithful in our prayer life. During our pilgrimage in life toward God, prayer carries and sustains us. It keeps us from straying into the wilderness of sin and the valleys of darkness.
We see the importance of prayer in the Scriptures, from Adam to Jesus. God walked with Adam as a friend in the Garden of Eden. Then, as the new Adam, Jesus walked with his disciples as intimate friends, and we can see their conversations as prayer of petition, adoration, intercession and thanksgiving. We recall the conversation between Jesus and Peter, when Peter asked his reward for leaving behind everything to follow Jesus; how Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, adoring him in silence; how Philip and Andrew interceded for some Greeks who wanted to see Jesus; how the leper healed by Jesus returned to thank him.
In our times, God continues to converse with us through the Scriptures, preaching, doctrine, law and the precepts of our faith.
OK, God is our friend. So how do we remain in his friendship?
Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. … The command I give you is this, that you love one another” (Jn 15:14, 17). We know that loving one another is a challenging and lifelong work; therefore, we need to ask for God’s divine assistance. The more time we spend with God in prayer, the deeper our love, awe and reverence for God will be. Over time our prayer becomes contemplative and affectionate. Our loving gaze toward God also overflows toward our neighbors.
In this rapid and advanced technological age, human interaction is often reduced to digital and virtual visits. Consequently, many suffer from loneliness due to the lack of genuine human interaction, which results in the loss of personal and real friendships. Lack of love causes loneliness, a disease that kills the spirit and soul. God, who is love, the author of life, invites us to become his intimate friends. Let us turn to him and share the goodness of God’s unconditional love with all those with whom we come in contact.
Let us rekindle our friendship with God through unceasing prayer with humility and sincerity. May we be faithful apostles of our Divine Friend in this life so we can be united forever with him in eternal life.