“To pray is to dream in league with God,” according to Rabbi Abraham Heschel. What a wonderful thought! It says something about prayer and about dreams. We all have dreams, things we hope for, wish for, whether awake or asleep. It’s human nature to dream. Our dreams say something about who we are and what is important to us. But not all dreams are in league with God.
Some dream of riches, fame, fortune and glory. Some achieve their dreams, others don’t.We may have accomplished some of our dreams from high school, some dreams may have been set aside to surface later and others have died a rightful death—they weren’t meant to be. As you look back over your life, chances are you see some of those dreams you left behind as well as those dreams that were fulfilled but not in the way you had expected.
What does it mean to say, “To pray is to dream in league with God?” Prayer comes first. Far too often we dream first then ask God to bless our dreams and help us realize them. Rather we need to pray first then allow God to give us a dream–see what dreams God has in store for us.
Prayer changes us. As we pray, our dreams will change as well, perhaps subtly, perhaps more dramatically. Ignatius of Loyola dreamt of honor and glory as a soldier in the military. After being wounded in battle and a long recovery, his dreams changed. He gave up dreams of worldly fame and fortune in order to become a “soldier for Christ.” He no long sought honor and glory for himself, but for God, founding the Jesuit order whose motto is “for the greater glory of God.” Through prayer God changed Ignatius’ dreams.
Not all of our dreams come true; not all are meant to come true. But in that we pray and align our dreams with God, our dreams will change. As we pray, God will purify our dreams so that our dreams for ourselves will align with God’s dreams for us.
How has God purified your dreams over the years?