Prayer is the foundation of intimacy with God, the "inward movement" that we make toward God. Thomas Merton broadens this vision by writing that prayer "means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him." Sharing this vision, Geoffrey Wainwright maintains that spirituality is nothing less than the "combination of prayer and living."

All I know is that when I pray, I draw near to God. When I don't, my soul and spirit drift far, far away.

The purpose of the ancient monastic movement – the opus Dei – was to create a life of prayer as the "work of God," that act whereby we "place God upon our heart." Scripture may be the foundation of the relationship itself, for it is through revelation that this God is named and known, but intimacy with this revealed God is gained through the "presence" that comes in an act of prayer. As Quaker writer Douglas Steere has written:

It is not that he is not present at other times but that by this voluntary act of ours, the act of prayer, we are enabled to break with our outer preoccupations and to become aware of the presence and of what that presence does to search and to transform and to renew us and to send us back into life again.

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Daily Headline News

Gay and Transgender Catholics Urge Pope Francis to Take a Stand

The pressure from gay Catholics and their families poses a unique challenge for Pope Francis as he tries to connect with an American church in flux. (Goodstein, The New York Times)


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As organizer Jex Blackmore told TIME, the Satanic Temple isn't quite a religious organization, but rather a group of people who prioritize human logic. (Rothman, TIME)


Jehovah's Witnesses hid child sex abuse cases: Australian inquiry told

The Jehovah's Witnesses Church in Australia failed to report to police more than 1,000 cases of child sexual abuse going back more than 60 years, a government investigation into abuse and its aftermath heard on Monday. (Siegel, Reuters)


Boy Scouts End Ban on Gay Leaders, Over Protests by Mormon Church

The Mormon Church said it might leave the organization [following Monday's decision]. Its stance surprised many and raised questions about whether other conservative sponsors, including the Roman Catholic Church, might follow suit. (Eckholm, The New York Times)


The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated

The "nones" are the fastest-growing religious group of our day. Nearly one in four Americans now identify themselves as having no religious affiliation. James Emery White's book The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated explores exactly who the "nones" are, what caused this dramatic shift in today's culture, and most importantly how churches can reach these people.

Ed Setzer, president of LifeWay Research, had this to say about the book:

In an era of increasing complexity and religious apathy, James Emery White has written a book that is helpful, informative, challenging, and timely. Those who care about communicating the gospel in this complex culture and think the church must regroup and re-engage should read "The Rise of the Nones."

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