As we get further into our recovery journey, we find that prayer is at the heart of what helps get us sober and an essential element of keeping us in recovery. Our first admission of a problem may have been a prayerful, crying out to what seemed to be only ourselves. In moments like those, regardless of our beliefs, God is present.
Prayer does not require finding the perfect combination of words to unlock God’s grace. Instead, the Holy Spirit that dwells within us translates the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs of our hearts when we are willing to raise it up to the Lord and surrender to His will for us. St. Paul gives a great description of prayer in his letter to the Romans, which we hear from in this Sunday’s Second Reading:
“The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.”
Finding God that dwells within us is a central theme of “God as we understand Him” in 12-step recovery. In the chapter of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous entitled “We Agnostics,” a central focus on God’s aid is outlined on page 55. It reads:
“…deep down within every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstration of that power in human lives, are facets as old as man himself.
We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.”
Our experience and perspective of God will vary based on our background. Whether devoutly religious or completely un-churched, it is likely that our addiction kept us from finding a reliable relationship with God and the Holy Spirit. Hopefully it is still progressing, as deepening that relationship with God through daily inventory, prayer, and service to others is a lifelong endeavor.
In the 8th chapter of his letter to the Romans, St. Paul echoes the Big Book:
“If the spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.”
Christ has been speaking in parables over the course of the past few Sunday Gospel readings. He offers three more this week, again centered around earth, soil, and life. One of these three parables, the parable of the mustard seed, speaks to the magnificent power of God:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”
When we crack open the door of faith in our lives, God responds by blowing the door off its hinges. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains when it is accompanied by God’s will. Humble surrender through prayer helps get us there, even when we don’t know how to pray.
In what ways has God entered your life through your recovery journey?
How do you maintain your relationship with God as you continue this journey?