The Prayer You Need...the Prayer Underneath

Let’s start with this…

IF there is an eternal, omniscient, Divine presence at heart of everything in existence called God (I believe there is…but let’s just say “if” for now)…IF that is true…then God knows what we need before we ourselves know it.

Some people have a hard time hearing that. For some of us, the idea that anyone might know us better than we know ourselves—let alone a Divine Being who we may or may not believe in to begin with—feels a little insulting. And yet, that is a major part of what makes us human…the experience of being known by another. Our world convinces us that we should be our “own boss,” we should have full control and agency over our lives, we should not relinquish our power or our independence to anyone. This is certainly good advice for getting ahead in business and claiming positions of power…but it robs us of the human experience of being known, being held, belonging to another. So if the suggestion that God knows you better than you know yourself feels wrong or offensive for some reason…I invite you to sit with that feeling. See if you can ask what is underneath that feeling. Where does that feeling come from? Why is it insulting to hear that someone might know you better than you know yourself?

Vulnerability is risky. Being known and belonging are risky. Living into our humanity is risky. Looking at the truths and realities that lie underneath our own assumptions and experiences…that is risky.

So, whenever you’re ready for this…IF God exists, then God knows us better than we know ourselves. Which should make us wonder: What is really happening when we pray? We often think about Prayer as our way of notifying God about what is happening in our lives…but God already knows. Is it possible that Prayer is not something we do for God or to Godbut with God? If we are praying alongside God, praying with God who already knows what we need most…maybe we can learn something about both ourselves and the Divine when we pray.

There are deep layers and levels to our knowing. We know so much more than what we can see and feel and experience on our own. If we are open to deeper levels of knowing—joy, grief, intuition, dreams, feelings—we may find ourselves able to pray the prayers we need…before we are intellectually aware of them.

I wrote a blog post 2 weeks ago about Restoration in the New Year. It was my prayer for the world. It wasn’t until this last weekend that I realized it was really the prayer I needed for myself.

The next time you pray—whether for yourself, or for someone else, or just to give some thanks and praise to our Creator—see if you can start hearing the prayer that is underneath that one. And then listen for the prayer underneath THAT one. See how far down you can follow the thread…until you and God can discover together the prayer you need most.

God speaks to us, God calls us, God moves us so that we can serve others. And in serving others, we name and claim what we need most. Thanks be to God!

Brian Gruhn