“Prayer is a conversation with a friend.”
-Teresa of Ávila
As a child, you may have been taught to say them before going to bed or eating your dinner. As an adult you might see it as a mystical endeavor reserved for the extremely pious. Too often our conception of prayer is tethered to our childhood imaginations and out of step with the lived reality of an adult spiritual life. We may think we’re too busy to take the time or perhaps even feel embarrassed that we don’t know how to pray, so we never begin and miss the opportunity to nourish our spiritual selves. So how do we pray as adults? If we listen to the wisdom of the Carmelite saint—and spiritual doctor of the church—Teresa of Ávila, prayer is actually just an extension of something we’ve known how to do all our lives: have a simple conversation.
We understand implicitly what it means to be in conversation with a friend. We greet each other and begin catching up on what’s been happening in our lives since we last met. Depending on the nature of the relationship, the conversation might range from casual chatter about current events to sharing deeply personal aspects of your life. Like any good dialogue though we need to pay attention to our conversation partner. In our hyper communicative and mobile world we’re more connected than ever before and yet we find it difficult to go deeper in our relationships because we’re so distracted by the constant stream of information that bombards us. Often, if we really desire to have meaningful conversations, we need to disconnect—shut off our smart phones, laptops etc—in order to connect more deeply with others.
The same is true for our spiritual life. If we want to deepen our relationship with God, we need to be present in our conversation with Him. If we take Teresa of Ávila at her word, the most profound encounters with the divine are rooted in the simplest, most personal experiences. There are no experts when it comes to our relationship with God. And yet many of us still feel daunted and don’t know how to begin the conversation. The Daily Disconnect is an opportunity for contemplation everyday that is structured like a conversation you can do in less than five minutes via your phone, tablet, computer etc. In a sense we’re inviting you to use the most modern technology available to connect to an opportunity to disconnect from the distractions of the moment and participate in an ancient, timeless conversation with a friend.
To try the Daily Disconnect for yourself, click on the date/quote in the light brown box in the column to the right.