When I moved to New Jersey, I had just graduated college a few months before. My life had essentially been turned upside down, and I can look back with fondness and think about how joyful I am to be here. But the first few weeks I lived here, as I was meeting people and getting used to a new normal, I’ll say I felt pangs of loneliness like I never had before.
Maybe that’s where you’re at right now. You might dearly miss your friends, or just being at school with other people. Or maybe an abrupt shift to your schedule has you grappling with the best ways to stay in touch with those you love. It can be really tiring trying to navigate all of that.
But it does get better. Over time, I met some super cool people who I consider close friends now. And the more familiar we get with this new rhythm (which is temporary!) the easier it will get to grow accustomed to relying on video chatting, texting, and calling our friends.
However, this takes time. It takes effort. It takes a conscious choice to say I want to keep in touch with you. I think our relationship with God is strikingly similar. When we think of communicating with God, our first response is probably prayer. But what is prayer? St. Augustine describes prayer in a beautifully simplistic way: “prayer is nothing but love.” Love. That seems to be the thread that helps us grow closer to one another as well as the Lord. We love our friends, so we want to communicate with them. And God’s love is so powerful, He gave us the Holy Spirit so that we can also communicate with Him. We grow in love when we communicate.
This idea is discussed in 1 Thessalonians, where Paul says “pray without ceasing”. This doesn’t mean we need to spend every waking moment on our knees praying to God, but it does adjust our daily schedule to live in an attitude of love for Him. You don’t need to talk to your friend 24/7 in order to love them, but in the quiet moments, you never stop loving them.
It can be hard to find new, creative ways to communicate with your friends as well as with God. However, what better time than right now to navigate new ways to grow closer with them as well as the Creator? I would be more than happy to discuss different types of prayers with you, but I urge us all to lean into the unknown right now so we can experience the transformative love of God through prayer. Communicate with God and pray without ceasing. – Katie Hufnagle
Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. How are you doing? Has it been hard for you to not physically see your friends/loved ones?
2. What ways have you been keeping in touch with these people?
3. How has your relationship with God been? If you have been complacent, who could you ask to hold you accountable? If you have been in good rhythm, how can you invite someone alongside that journey?
4. Take some time to write a prayer to God.
Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. What are some tools we have found that help keep relationships healthy right now?
2. How can we as a family communicate God’s message of love?
3. What are some of the things God has revealed to each of us in prayer recently?
Prayer: Read 1 Thessalonians and then read this prayer by yourself:
Dear God, I praise you that you are constant and your love for me is never failing. Help me learn new ways to communicate with those I love and find life in this communication. You urge us to pray to you without ceasing, so help me align my life to best serve you and love you, Lord. You are with us through all circumstance, so I praise you for your faithfulness. Help me express this love in new ways, every day as I learn how to love you more. I love you. Amen.