How should we begin prayer? Most people make a mistake by beginning their prayer with God and not with themselves. This is a mistake. We should always begin prayer by acknowledging who we are, where we are, and what is happening within us. We could call it self-reflection or self-awareness. Jesus speaks of this when he asks his first followers a key question: “What do you seek?” After John the Baptist points to Jesus as the “true lamb of God” some of John's followers begin to follow Jesus. When our Lord notices them He turns around and asks them “What do you seek?” It is with this important question that an encounter with Jesus begins. The Lord is inviting anyone who wishes to follow Him to look within himself/herself and acknowledge his/her desire, realize what is happening in their inner life, what is it that they hope for.
Prayer has to begin with a realization of where I'm at at the moment I stand before God. The Lord wants to encounter us where we are at, and not where we think we ought to be. It is so easy to leave part of ourselves hidden when we pray, thinking that I must present myself in a certain way before the Lord in order to be accepted. No, we cannot do this. Honesty and sincerity has to be at the basis of my encounter with God. The Lord wants to meet us just the way we are, but this implies that we have to have proper introspection to present ourselves to the Lord just the way we are.
When it comes to prayer we must begin with an honest look at ourselves by accepting the challenge of Jesus who asks: “What do you seek? What do you desire? What is it that you are bringing to me?” We encounter God where we are and not where we think we ought to be, because God meets us in truth, in honesty, and in reality. Knowledge of self is the necessary first step in coming to know God.