Prayer Is a Hunger

by Catherine Doherty

Prayer is that hunger for union with God which never lets go of us. It beats into our blood with the very beat of our hearts. It is a thirst that can be quenched by nothing except God.

It is as if one’s whole body is poised on tiptoe, our hands stretching upward as if to touch the cosmos.

The act of praying, like the act of love, involves movement and effort. You don’t pray like a robot any more than you make love like one.

Prayer is movement, stretching, seeking, holding, finding, only to lose and seek again. Prayer is constant movement, and strangely enough, it is movement into oneself, where the Trinity dwells.

Prayer is walking up to an abyss, looking down, and being unable to see the bottom, for there is none. This is where faith comes in. You spend years balancing on the edge, almost jumping in, then retreating.

Suddenly, at some given moment, the hunger becomes too great, and you jump, only to discover it’s no abyss, but only God and the depth of his love for you!

Excerpted from Grace in Every Season, (2001), February 13, pp. 55-56, available from MH Publications.