Prayer is not introspection. It is not a scrupulous, inward-looking analysis of our own thoughts and feelings but it is a careful attentiveness to the Presence of Love personified inviting us to an encounter.
Prayer is the presentation of our thoughts— reflective thoughts, as well as daydreams, and night dreams—to the One who receives them, sees them in the light of unconditional love, and responds to them with divine compassion.
This context of thinking in the Presence, of conversation and dialogue with Love, is the joyful affirmation of our gentle Companion on the journey with God who knows our minds and hearts, our goodness and our beauty, our darkness and our light.
The Psalmist prays the prayer for us (Psalms 139:1–3; 23–24):
O Lord, you search me and you know me, you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you. . . .
O search me, God, and know my heart. O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path and lead me in the path of life eternal.
Text excerpts taken from "You are the Beloved" Henri J.M. Nouwen (Convergent Books: 2017).