Genuine prayer, or contemplation, is all about relationship. It is the kind of prayer in which God changes us over the course of time. It is the kind of prayer that allows God to enter in and become personally present to us. It is the prayer that allows God to pray within us so as to draw out what is best in us and speak to us in loving, personal terms, so that we go away from prayer a transformed person and we discover in ourselves the image God has always wanted us to be. Thus as we give ourselves over to the truth of “God contemplating me,” God’s gaze of love over the course of years transforms me, empowers me. In doing so, God slowly recognizes his own image in me. It is important to think of this in terms of relationships and the whole mystery of growing in love. I personally am not sure anyone can truly pray without being in love. When we look at prayer this way we become not only transformed but empowered, and being so empowered, we are able to work to effect the necessary changes in life and society. God works in union with us, in union with our spirit, not apart from us. It is not a matter of God doing God’s part according to our directions, and we doing ours apart from God. It is a matter of working at life together.
—from the book In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare by Roch Niemier, OFM