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HP1 – What is Prayer? – The Heart of Prayer with Fr. Éamonn Bourke
Fr. Éamonn Bourke and Kris McGregor discuss the why, how, and what of “prayer.” In this episode, they explore the nature of prayer and responding to the call of relationship with God.
Here is an excerpt from their conversation:
Fr. Éamonn Bourke:
We pick up messages from our upbringing, from our surroundings, from the people around us that robs of our peace and developers of that dignity. No human person is perfect. And the way they relate to us will always be imperfect. And the way we relate to other people will be imperfect. But the beautiful thing is that we have a Father who is perfect and who relates to us in a most perfect and beautiful way, and that who we can relate to. And I suppose the beginning point for me in prayer is really recognizing that which we’re carrying, which is vulnerable and weak, and which is weighing us down. And that’d be the beginning point of our prayer. We often think when we go to pray after like put on a smiling face and my life have to be perfect. And I have to say nice words.
Some of the greatest prayers, the prayer that comes from the heart, and, and even to say to God, look, Lord, I’m a frail and vulnerable person. I I’ve picked up a message in my life that I’m overweight and that, that there’s something wrong with me or I’m too shy or I I’m, I’m no good as a person. This is what I’ve picked up from the world. And I’m, I’m just really sharing that with you this morning and the pain that that brings me and the energy it saps for my life. And it, it makes me look at myself and, um, that’s my gift to you this morning, my frail broken, vulnerable weakness. And I’m offering to you as a gift. And I know you as a perfect loving father can transform this broken, frail, weak part of myself, into something beautiful that handing this gift over to God, God can bring something incredibly beautiful from even the most broken wounded state in life. I’ve complete confidence in this. So in some ways we don’t have to put a perfect face on before God when we pray, because he wants to see us and hear his words and all he wants to, in some ways, the broken, weak, vulnerable, embarrassed parts of our life, the stuff that we’re embarrassed to share with anyone else God has already in there. And he’s literally inviting us in to, to open it up, to share it with him so that he can pour his grace into or hurts.
Another important aspect of the why we should pray to him is that sometimes we carry an anger. There may be something that has made us so darkened, anger that even though it’s red hot, sometimes it’s like red, and yet it may be at a person or at parents or something. But oftentimes when you go even deeper, you’re angry with God. Why should I pray to him? And I’ve prayed and he hasn’t answered me. Or why should I do that? Because he’s only going to punish me if I open myself up to him, that can be a real concern for some can’t it Father.
Fr. Éamonn Bourke:
Absolutely. It can be a very deep concern for people because as I said, human life is not easy. And we have, uh, problems and trials. We have times of illness, we have times of bereavement and that can affect us on the physical level, on the emotional level. And most importantly, on the spiritual level. And it can create can anger in our hearts. Remember, my, my own mother died this time last year. And even just coming to terms with the grief for loss, I began to realize myself that there was an anger myself towards God,, that he’d taken her and she’d suffered quite a lot in her life. And just realizing that that anger was there was in a self, a beautiful gift that God enlightened me to see that, okay, I am. So what do I do with this anger? I tell God, I’m angry. I can bring this to the God who loves me and I can share it with him. And I can tell God I’m angry with you, or I’m disappointed with you, or I feel, I feel abandoned by you at times, you know, so we can be completely honest with him in this, whatever is really holding us back and that deep anger within ourselves. Often when we’re upset or anxious, we can bury things down and we can, we can try and cover it up and we can try to force it down, but it doesn’t go away. The wound is still there and unless we can really bring it into our, into light and bring it out to God and share it with them, it’s going to become like a festering wound within our hearts. It’s always going to rob of our peace. You know, they always say to error is human and to forgive divine. So the forgiveness is really a gift from God and a grace from God. And if we pray for that gift of being free, to be able to forgive and to allow anger to go, from his heart flows, that beautiful gift of the energy and the grace.
Father Éamonn Bourke is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland and served as Vocations Director for the diocese, as well as Pastor in a number of its parishes. Trained as a spiritual director in the contemplative style, he now serves as Chaplain to University College, Dublin, the largest University in Ireland.
⇨For more episodes in the series visit : The Heart of Prayer with Fr. Éamonn Bourke – Discerning Hearts Podcasts
1 thought on “HP1 – What is Prayer? – The Heart of Prayer with Fr. Éamonn Bourke – Discerning Hearts Podcast”
Thank you for a very meaningful and uplifting presentation on prayer. It was just what I needed to hear. I asked my friend to listen to it and so I heard it a second time. God certainly directed me in the right way today. Looking forward to your next presentation on prayer.