“Intimacy is, …

“Intimacy is, in both love and faith, full of tensions.  When fulfillment is delayed desire is bitter.  Between falling in love and consummating love, between the promise and the fulfillment, between the boundaries, that is, that are defined by covenant, it is the task of persevering and patient prayer to keep love ardent and faith zealous.

Which is why prayer is the chief pastoral work in relation to a person’s desires for and difficulties with intimacy.  Anything less or other than prayer fails to deal with either the ultimacy of the desires or the complexity of the difficulties.  Prayer with and for persons centers the desire in God and puts the difficulties in perspective under God.  Prayer is thus the language, par excellence, of the covenant: it is quintessential pastoral conversation that takes seriously the relationships that matter most, both human and divine.  In prayer the desires are not talked about, they are expressed to God.  In prayer the difficulties are not analyzed and studied, they are worked through with God.  If the goal is intimacy, it will not be arrived at by teaching or counsel or therapy (although any of these ministries may provide assistance) but by dealing personally with those who count, with Creator and creature.”

– Eugene. H. Peterson

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