Brothers & Sisters,
It should come as no surprise (if you read anything here) that at my very core I am a spiritual, God-loving human being. So then it should come as no surprise to you when I tell you that vast swaths of my day and night when I'm able to are spent in silence, in my chair having conversations with God. I've prayed for quite some time on how exactly to express what this is like and what it feels like and the word that keeps coming to mind is: home.
There's a certain peace that should wash over us when we think of home. And when I talk about the home, I don't just mean where we grew up or live now but that place that we all have that puts us at ease, makes us feel the most comfortable and peaceful. For me, that place is a church. Ever since I can remember sitting in a church has always brought me happiness and peace that no other place has ever been able to deliver.
What intrigues me the most is the conversations I have in the late hours of the night when the world has gone to sleep, and all is quiet. Sitting in candlelight and just listening is where I've had some of my most profound experiences with God. There are times when I have waves of emotion roll over me that I simply cannot explain while other times I feel filled with so much conviction about a specific thing that it feels like I've believed in it forever.
I can remember one of these nights like it was yesterday. I was a senior in high school on our annual E.C.H.O. Retreat and I was sitting in the dimly lit chapel by myself unsure why I was there or what I was supposed to be doing, but something inside me just drew me to that place. Soon after everything would be apparent to me why I was there. After some time it felt like I was home and this was the right place for me, and at that moment I felt the first tug at my heart and knew something had changed in me. The best I can describe it is the feeling you get when you walk outside on that first beautiful spring morning after a long winter. Relief, peace, happiness, awe, I could go on and on. I knew right then and there (or at least I thought I knew) that God had shared his plan for me and while I wouldn't embrace it until 18 years later it's a feeling I will never forget. It changed me, forever.
Prayer can move us to emotional highs that we never thought were possible. We have to be open to that experience, however. Closing our minds and hearts and just going through the motions won't get us anything but a one-way ticket on the struggle bus. Prayer should make you feel like you're home. Conversations with God within those feelings are the most glorious and epic chats you could possibly have. My friends, you merely need to start by being open and willing to experience Him working and flowing through you, and everything else will begin to fall into place.
I wish you many 2am conversations with God that make you feel at home.