Matthew 16:13-17 (NIV)
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.’”
“Who do you say I am?” Jesus asks of us. Usually we think of coming to God in prayer, of searching and seeking him as our prerogative. Oddly enough, our image of God can be the very thing that keeps us from his presence. We all have images of God in our heads, from our upbringing, from the church, from our experiences, and yet none of them capture all of who he truly is. We may say and believe we love him, yet our images can still get in the way. Some of us see God as distant and unconcerned, and so we are the ones who have to get his attention. Others may see him as more of a rulemaker or judge who wants us to walk a straight line, so being honest about our real truth is frightening. Some may see him as a kindly uncle who means well but isn’t that involved in our daily lives. None of these views offer much of an invitation into his presence.
Who is Christ to you? How might God want to reshape your image of him? Have you ever thought about God being the one who pursues you, as the shepherd pursues his strayed sheep? What if the Author of Love is always initiating prayer and our task is becoming aware of his presence and responding to his call? What might change in your relationship with him if you tried on this view of God, as one passionately pursuing His Beloved? That’s how he sees you. Do you see yourself this way?
Today’s prayer practice: Prayer of Examen
At the end of the day, pause and ask God to help you review the day’s events. Trust Him to bring up the things worthy of attention. To help focus, ask yourself, What today was I most grateful for? When was I aware of God’s presence? Conversely, what was my low point, or when was I least aware? As you reflect, let these questions bring you into a time of confession and thanksgiving.