Do we find it easy to come to God in prayer when we are in the rigors of troublesome experiences? The cry for ‘help’ comes naturally. Conversely, do we find it more difficult to come to God in prayer when things are going so very well that we have no request of Him? Ruth wrote to Henri expressing a longing for a more personal, intimate and direct relationship with God in the midst of a wonderful life. Henri responded in part…
Maybe you could try to develop a prayer of gratitude. Many people find it hard to be grateful. Many people feel that they need more than they have and are often angry that they do not receive what they want. You have the experience of being given many good things, and, therefore, it will be easier for you to live a life of gratefulness. Gratitude is one of the greatest Christian virtues. “Eucharist” means saying thanks, and if you could say things, not just for what you have received, but also for all the gifts God gives to his people, your life would become more and more a Eucharistic life, a life in which you say thanks to the giver of life. … My sense is that you will come closer to the Lord Jesus the more you pray for others, because Jesus came for others and praying for others is entering more deeply into the mystery of His divine intercession … I think that a life of grateful prayer and a life of intercession for others will bring you the goal you seek … Be sure to ask the Lord to give you the gift of prayers. It is the greatest gift He wants to give.Love, Henri. pp 83-35.
The gift of prayers is a gift I think every Christian seeks. Here, Henri urges gratitude and intercession as the pathway to having a more intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I agree. This is especially true when prayer has become rote, lifeless, and easy to skip because of the busyness of life. When we are truly grateful for the blessings of our lives, we are invited to express that gratitude in prayer. When we are moved by the painful plight of others and there is nothing we can do to relieve their pain, we begin to pray to the Great Physician in earnest. When we do not know how to pray, it is not a bad idea to ask God to help us pray.
As I contemplate this passage of Henri’s letter, I realize that we can grow slack in prayer during times when we perceive we do not need God’s attentive answers for the moment. But how wrong we are to think that way!