Tag Archives: intimacy

Spiritual Imagination and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 18, 2019

Jesus and Coptic-Children-01

Spiritual Imagination and Prayer

As I go through this book, I repeatedly find Ignatian prayer can be freeing, liberating, and exciting. Yes, I have read through books on Ignatian prayer before. (Including the Spiritual Exercises, the book that started it all.) Yet, I cannot get it cemented in my head that Ignatian prayer is truly a marvelous way to communicate with God. I still have difficulty practicing regular, daily prayer.

Father Timothy gives further examples of substantive Ignatian prayer. First, R. used the instance in the Gospel of Luke where Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus come by. R. saw himself as Zacchaeus, up a tree, and Jesus encountered him. The warmth, the intimacy, the desire of simply being with Jesus—all became a marvelous experience of imaginative prayer. [1]

Second, A. had a retreat where she intentionally set aside time to pray. The spiritual director gave her several Scripture passages, and she was drawn repeatedly to Jesus’s encounter with the children (from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19). A. imagined herself as one of the children, ad felt herself hugged by Jesus. [2] What an intimate, engaging experience!

I would love to be hugged by Jesus. How nurturing and loving that would be. Can I feel the warmth and intimate experience of this kind of prayer, on a regular basis? What if I do not feel it at all? (Now, since I have had these opportunities and experiences in Ignatian prayer before, I know it is possible. I just have not often tried Ignatian prayer.)

Perhaps I am afraid, or shy, or leery, or hesitant.  Forgive me, please.

Dear Lord, please encourage my heart to try Ignatian prayer more often. Overcome my hesitancy and fear of failure. Thank You for being there, for having Your arms open wide. Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for running to meet me, like the Father from Luke 15 ran to meet the Prodigal. Help me to want that intimacy. Please, dear Lord. It is in Jesus’s precious name I pray, amen.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 38.

[2] Ibid, 39.

Our Father, Who Art—Centering.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lord's Prayer word cloud Matt 6

Our Father, Who Art—Centering.

For today, I chose a Name of God from the Bible that is not only traditional, but some might say even old-fashioned. This is my word of the day for Centering Prayer. My word—Name of God for today is Father.

I chose this Name as it’s from one of the most familiar passages in the Gospels. Even perhaps the whole Bible. It comes from the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 6, where our Lord Jesus gives His disciples and the others listening to Him a template for prayer. Jesus opens with, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

I grew up with this term for God. I attended a Lutheran church in elementary school through high school. Every Sunday we would say the Lord’s Prayer as part of the service. The pastor would refer to God as “Our Heavenly Father,” and this way of referencing God was so familiar to me.

Fast forward more than twenty years. I was married, with small children. I tried to be faithful in how God called me, and so I tried to pray on a regular basis. I remember questioning how I referred to God in prayer, but only mild questions.

Go forward a bit more, and I found myself in seminary. Second year, I was having considerable difficulty with some outside issues. (Not with school. I loved seminary!) However, I remember having particular difficulty with calling God “Father.” In fact, I could not bring myself to say the Lord’s Prayer out loud, since I had so much of a problem with using the Name “Father.” I did not want to lose sight of the feminine half of God, and I struggled with that expression and Name of God almost all year long.

Now, present day. Things continue to evolve. I try not to use gender often as I use Names of God. But, I need to consider this Name again for this particular prayer time. I taught an adult bible study at the beginning of the summer on the Lord’s Prayer, and I talked about “Father.” How unusual it was for Jesus to use this Name for God Almighty. It showed intimacy, love, and caring. Not only from Jesus to His Heavenly Father. No, the intimacy, love and caring were (are?) a two-way street.

Praise God that God has revealed Godself to me so freely, and with so much love and intimacy. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:9. our Heavenly Father. Thank You, Lord. You love me as Your child. You carry me like a beloved toddler! You really do. Thank You. Amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Intimacy with God

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sometimes, God does not seem very close to me at all. I realize I often rely on my faulty feelings and errant emotions. But God, why is it that I don’t feel You by my side, especially when I really need You?

I did get sort-of-an-answer earlier this week, as I read my devotional book. (on prayer) Written by a Methodist elder, James Howell said, “What we bring to God is not great holiness and wisdom, but brokenness and profound need. . . . Our weakness is not something to be corrected, but becomes the very crucible in which intimacy with God is established.”

I sort-of understand where Howell is going, with this thought. My brokenness and my feelings of being dreadfully alone do not keep me from God. God holds arms open wide, no matter what. God wants intimacy with me. The humorous saying goes something like this: “If someone is far away from God, who moved?” Just so, I need to continue to come to God with whatever is going on in my life, and not shy away.

God intimately knows all about my various weaknesses. God’s strength can bear me up when I fall on my face, or get discouraged, or one or two of the most ridiculous words out of my mouth. It is in these times of dark despair that I am invited into God’s own presence. And the invitation is never withdrawn. Thanks be to God!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for deep words that James Howell wrote. Whether a few days ago, or years in the past, it doesn’t matter to You. You love me anyway! Help me to celebrate my personal weakness, God. You can turn it around. You have the loving care to bring my wandering-minstrel-mind closer to You. Help me want to stay in Your arms. God in Your mercy, hear our prayers. Thanks!