Prayer: God of Surprises by Gerard W Hughes


Bring to mind some of the difficulties we have, or have had, with prayer.

Difficulties about prayer are personal. Here are some that may be familiar:

God of Surprises, by Gerard Hughes

You may have found books that have helped you with prayer. This one helps me. Here are some of the points I find most helpful. The whole book is worth reading.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field". The book has only one purpose: to suggest ways of finding the Kingdom of Heaven, where we may not expect to find it. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you - within each one of us. Prayer will help us to find it.

Read a Gospel passage, then imagine the scene as though it were happening at this moment and you were an active participant. Fill in details. Develop the story. Talk, and listen, to some of the characters in the scene. Don't try to finish the exercise in one go. Be ready to come back to it when you have time. If you find yourself awake at night, come back to the scene, picking up the story where you left off.

Let your mind review your day. Make no self-judgements, either of approval or disapproval. First of all, attend only to those moments of the day for which you are grateful. It might be the sight of a spider's web, or the taste of some food, or a conversation that made you smile. When you have remembered the events you are grateful for, thank God for them.

Think about your feelings during the day. Don't analyse them. Don't justify them. Only recall them and look at them carefully and clearly. Ask Jesus to 'look over your shoulder' as you recall them. Remember that Christ is with you, that He loves you. You may find that Christ helps you to see that He was there, with you, and with others, during the day.

We cannot know God in himself. We can only come to know him through our human experience, through creation, through other people.

I cannot domesticate God. I cannot tell him what to do, no matter how noble the cause. All I can do is let him through into my life, into me, and so into the world.

What the Gospels say about prayer

What can you remember from the Gospels about prayer? Don't look anything up, just bring to mind what you can. We will say a bit about the importance of the "Bible in our head".