I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
It is because the love and care of friends has meant so much to me through the years that I am captured by today’s Scripture in which Jesus says: “I have called you friends.” He then adds that He calls His followers friends, “because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” For Jesus it seems that being a friend means holding nothing back, not keeping secrets. Jesus thinks of friends as being open and real with each other.
Life shows us that friendships grow as friends are honest with each other, neither one pretending nor wearing a mask. Most of us have experienced how sharing a confidence with a friend builds our confidence in that friend. Our mutual trust grows. Similarly, as our friendship with God grows we let down the mask; we get honest and real with Him.
Veteran spiritual director William Barry notes a relationship between frank, open conversation among friends, and frank, open prayer with God:
Prayer is a rather simple thing when you get down to it. It’s just two friends hanging out with each other, sharing thoughts and feelings, asking and giving forgiveness, asking and giving advice. Prayer is what happens when two friends are together and are aware of each other’s presence. (Praying the Truth)
Telling God honestly what we are thinking or feeling isn’t telling God something that He doesn’t already know. But rather than giving God information, we are actually giving Him trust. We are trusting Him with those things most intimate and personal to us. We don’t have to pull any punches with Him. Just as we feel trusted when a friend reveals something secret and personal, so God feels trusted when we open up to Him.
- Take a few moments to be still and relax in God’s presence.
- Now think of something you have avoided taking up with God. Is there a disappointment you have with God? Is there a sin that you are not ready to let go? Are there bad feelings towards another person or towards your church? Is there something that happened years ago that you have avoided bringing to God?
- Talk with Abba Father honestly and openly about these things.
- After you have talked with God, take a few moments as friends just to sit quietly with each other. Listen for what you sense God might be saying to you in these still moments.
“If you don’t tell God what you are concerned about, your relationship will become more and more formal and, to be frank boring…If we don’t take the chance of being honest, we won’t really grow in friendship with God or with anyone else.”
William Barry, Praying the Truth