We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God’s love is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. As we take another, it means that God is choosing us now and now and now. We have nothing to attain or even learn. We do, however, need to unlearn some things.
To become aware of God’s loving presence in our lives, we have to accept that human culture is in a mass hypnotic trance. We’re sleep-walkers. All great religious teachers have recognized that we human beings do not naturally see; we have to be taught how to see. Jesus says further, “If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light” (Luke 11:34). Religion is meant to teach us how to see and be present to reality. That’s why Jesus talks about “staying watchful” (Matthew 25:13, Luke 12:37, Mark 13:33-37).
Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence, living in awareness of the Presence, and even of enjoying the Presence. The one praying is not just aware of God’s Loving Presence, but trusts, allows, and delights in it.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer