How to make prayer into a conversation with God
Prayer should focus on your relationship with God, rather than detailing to him all of your petitions.
Prayer can often be used as a means of unloading all of our petitions, viewing God more as blessing vending machine than a person to be loved.
Yet, prayer is first and foremost about our relationship with God and having an honest conversation with him.
French Trappist monk Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard relates several helpful tips in his spiritual classic, The Soul of the Apostolate. In it, he explains how to perform mental prayer and how to view it more as a conversation.
“Mental prayer,” says St. Teresa, “is nothing but a friendly conversation in which the soul speaks, heart-to-heart, with the One Who we know loves us.”A loving conversation…Even if I have long neglected it, Jesus calls me tenderly to mental prayer, and offers me special help in speaking this language of faith, hope, and love, which, as Bossuet says, is precisely what my mental prayer ought to be.
A key image to have is speaking to a loving Father, seeing God as he truly is and how he constantly desires to talk to us.
Am I going to resist this appeal of a Father Who calls even the prodigal to come and listen to His word, to talk to Him as a son; to open his heart to Him and to listen to the beatings of His own?
Chautard believed having a conversation with God was vital to a fruitful prayer life, but that it doesn’t have to be complicated.
A simple conversation. I will be myself. I will speak to God of my tepidity, or my sins. I will speak to Him as a prodigal, or from the heat of my fervor. With the simplicity of a child, I will put my state of soul before Him, and I will only use words that express what I really am.
The key to fostering this type of prayer is simplicity, speaking to God honestly and from the heart. We do not need high sounding words or complicated prayers. All we need is to reveal to God our heart and all the cares that are currently on it.
If we can do this, treating prayer as a conversation, our soul will benefit from it and God will bring peace to our soul. We may not always be able to discern God’s response to us, but even the process of speaking honestly with God will bring our heart closer to the Heart of Jesus.
Thus the result of my conversation will be to elevate my soul to the level of the sanctity of Christ so that He may be able to fashion it in His own likeness.