Tag Archives: prayer

Truths in Scripture

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 18, 2019

Bible with flowers, drawing

Truths in Scripture

I want to be more faithful to prayer and meditation. That’s why I have chosen this book for my Lenten prayer meditation, Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture. Father Gallagher lays things out in a clear, matter-of-fact manner, even though this kind of prayer can be quiet, internal, even ethereal at times.

I have prayed in the way St. Ignatius directed, but not consistently. (I am afraid I do not do any type of prayer in a consistent manner. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, forgive me.) Even this prayer blog does not help me to pray every day. Lord, this lack does bother me. However, I will not allow it to paralyze me, or to shrug my shoulders in defeat and give up. No, I will try to keep to the path and pray when I can.

Father Gallagher explains Ignatian meditation in this section. He says, “When I turn to the Scripture I have chosen, I find there a number of revealed truths….As my heart is drawn to one of these truths,

  • I call to mind this truth, with love
  • I ponder it, with love
  • I embrace it, with love and desire” [1]

What a marvelous way to think deeply about Scripture! And, this is such a simple, straight-forward way, too. I would like to think about the Scripture passage I am going to be preaching on  this upcoming Sunday. I have never particularly wanted to consider it before. However, with this being the Scripture section I chose for this week’s sermon text, I know this would be a tremendous opportunity to consider this passage of Luke 13 in depth.

This sermon will be coming at the end of a busy, stress-filled week for me.  (Thank God I am backed up by some excellent people at church.) I hope I have the opportunity to hear some excellent stories.

Trying to pray myself; God will deliver me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

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), 28.

Happy, Faith-filled Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 8, 2019

prayer hands

Happy, Faith-filled Prayer

What a wonderful experience, to have happy, faith-filled prayer! That is what St. Ignatius intends for us to have, as we enter into the part of his prayer practice called meditation.

As Father Gallagher mentions M. and his prayer experience with the passage of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18), “he tells us that the words were ‘alive,’ ‘almost directly touching my heart,’ and…describes an unhurried, happy, faith-filled reflection on the words of the Scripture, with profound awareness of the Lord’s presence.” [1] What an intimate experience of God.

This deep, intimate communication with God was intensely personal for M. As he went deeper and deeper into prayer, this personal kind of communication delighted him, deep down to his inmost being. He felt “spiritually happy” for days.

As I reflect on Scripture, I find it difficult to make this kind of deep connection all the time, in prayer. Certainly, difficult all the time, and even most of the time. The best I can do is make a connection like M.’s on occasion. Sometimes. Yet, when I do, I have vivid flashes when I think back on those times. For example, some years ago I had an intense experience of Jesus and the man (or, person—leaving it open to the possibility of a woman) with a withered hand whom Jesus met in the synagogue. (From Luke 6:6-11.)

I have had hundreds of prayer experiences since, yet, I revisit that one in my mind and memory. Yes, I was practicing Ignatian prayer, and it was a particularly intense experience. Similar to M., I did have a deep sense of the presence of Jesus with me, alongside of me.

St. Ignatius considers this type of meditative prayer as reflective, that “process by which we enter the richness of God’s Word and hear the Word as spoken personally to us today.” [2] As we are now in Lent, perhaps that will be my Lenten practice. Or, maybe one of my practices.

I am already reading through a Lenten devotional book, and it has some interesting ideas. However, the devotional only has one perhaps two verses of Scripture each day. I wonder whether I might find some additional prayer prompts? God willing, I suspect I will be able to find some Bible readings for each day in Lent. Help me, dear God, as I do these practices, a draw closer to You and Your heart. God. In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

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), 27.

[2] Ibid.

Prayer: God Moves Us

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 26, 2019

candles, darkP

Prayer: God Moves Us

Prayer can be so intimate, so up-close-and-personal.

So many accounts of times when people felt utterly awestruck, as with M. while he read John 10, where Jesus talks about Himself as the Good Shepherd. “It was a beautiful time of prayer, an intimate time. There was so much in the words; it’s so beautifully written. I wasn’t reading words; it was alive, almost directly touching my heart.” [1]

I read about these times of prayer, and I feel uplifted, just reading these words. And then—at the same time, I feel so sad. Sad, and almost resentful. Why can’t I have these types of experiences on a regular basis? I do have similar experiences, but rarely. Why has my prayer life been dry and parched, like wandering in the wilderness, for decades? (Yes, for literal decades.)

The idea of letting the words of Scripture swim in one’s heart is certainly an imaginative one. Being immersed in the words of the Bible—so much so that I feel all filled to the brim with these life-giving words—what an image for my sometimes overactive imagination.

I would think this feature of our brains really causes Ignatian prayer and meditation to bear a great deal of fruit. How wonderful to be an imaginative pray-er. I do not think that access to prayer (speaking to God) and meditation (listening to God) are both required for our communication with our Heavenly Parent, but I suspect it helps.

But…what if the usual ways of praying don’t really work for some people? What would it be like to never have a close relationship with God from prayer? I am assuming some people have real difficulty in this. I truly do not know what I would suggest, other than the different more kinetic ways of prayer. I know it is possible to do Ignatian prayer and walk the labyrinth at the same time. (I’ve done both—at the same time.) But, other than kinesthetic praying, I do not know what to suggest to these friends. I guess I need to learn more about prayer styles, and refresh my memory with suggestions of diverse ways of communication with God.

We ought to breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for this opportunity to find hope. Hope in our dear Lord Jesus. Dear Lord, thanks for giving us a number of ways to communicate with You. Help each one praying find a way of prayer-communication that each one feels touched now. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

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), 24.

Prayer: Vibrant Experience

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 23, 2019

Mark 4 Hitda-Codex-Christ-and-Apostles-on-the-Sea-of-Galilee-c.-1025-50-CE

Prayer: Vibrant Experience

Another person recounted his experience with prayer. Father Gallagher mentions how M. had begun his journey with Christianity eight years before the writing of this book. Except—M. very much wanted to experience God. His prayers were unsatisfying, as was his reading of Scripture. Then, he was invited into a prayer group, where they read the account of Jesus and His disciples in the boat during a storm on the sea of Galilee.

By his own account, M. had an experience that turned his relationship with Scripture, prayer, and with Jesus Himself upside down.

“It opened a new world for me…That evening, the Scripture came alive. I’d been passive, outside of it. It had just been a story. When I prayed in this way, I no longer felt like I was outside the story; I was in the story….but not so bound by it that I couldn’t ask something of Jesus or of Peter. And I realized that Jesus was not as far away as I thought. I found myself marveling at how near he was to me.” [1]

What a drastic change for M.’s Scripture reading and prayer life! How vital and vibrant his relationship with Jesus became.

I go through cycles with God. At times, I feel this deep, intense relationship with God—but not often. It is almost as if I am chasing this kind of experience, sometimes. I know I ought to be faithful, and continue to pray. And, I do. But, sometimes….

Yes, I have stories similar to M.’s account. I could tell of wonderful times of prayer. Mountain top prayers, I guess they are called. But, they are far and few between. I need to remind myself that I need to be faithful. That is what God wants from me—from us. Our faithfulness.

Dear God, forgive me for my lack of faith, and my hesitancy at consistent prayer. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Lead me to Yourself. In Jesus’s name I ask, 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), 23.

Prayer: Tears and Anguish

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 16, 2019

rain on window, tree

Prayer: Tears and Anguish

Father Gallagher did not shy away from presenting strong, deep emotions in this book. In the very first chapter, the very first personal story he brings to us relate some of these gut-wrenching emotions.

We hear more from K., a woman who suffered from a stroke some years ago. She had entered into a regular practice of Ignatian prayer and meditation. While on a retreat, she felt drawn to the passion and death of Jesus. She sat with that image, in that space, for hours. She was filled with compassion and terror as she tried to comfort Jesus in His passion. “She desires ‘to tell Him I was there for Him and that I would not leave Him alone.’ K. draws close to Jesus as she prays.” [1]

Her retreat director gently pointed out perhaps God was bringing together the experience of Jesus during His passion and death and her own, as she had experienced years before in her stroke and the long-term recovery from it.

K. then relates her return to prayer, and “scenes of my hospital stay after my stroke so many years before alternated with scenes of Jesus’ passion and death….I cried inconsolably for hours—seventeen years’ worth of tears. God was truly embracing me tightly and saying, ‘Do not be afraid even of this. I am holding you tightly and nothing can hurt you.’” [2]

How intense is this? In this time of prayer, K. allowed God to touch her deeply, in such a significant hurting place. Ever since her stroke, she had placed a certain internal part of herself at a distance from God. For years, even though she had a regular practice of prayer and meditation, K. had erected an internal barrier for protection.

I am so struck by this. What internal barriers have I erected? What messages of God do I ignore? Or, drown out? I can do this in so many ways. Work, relationships, activities, even busy-ness. Any or all of these can be distractions or excuses for allowing God into my life. Forgive me, dear Lord. Help me to desire You, to listen for Your voice and read Your Word. Thank You for loving me, and for drawing me close to You—even when I hold myself at a distance and erect barriers between You and me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my heartfelt prayers.

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), 20.

[2] Ibid, 21.

Prayer: Rest in God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 5, 2019

John 14 Good Shepherd, print

Prayer: Rest in God

The quote at the beginning of the first chapter, “What I Wish and Desire,” is from St. Anselm. He mentions “Make a little time for God and rest in Him.” [1] I came to a full stop when I read those words. Both phrases. First and foremost, I need to make a little time for God regularly. I need to make this happen in my life.

Sure, when I pray with my friends from Morning Prayer online (from www.dailyoffice.org), this is my go-to, wonderful online prayer group. But, I need some kind of regular individual prayer, too. This regular prayer time has been such a difficulty for me for years. My life is, frankly, somewhat chaotic. I have no ordered daily activities. Weekly activities, yes. But, not a daily, everyday routine that I can count on. (Again frankly, I do not think I would be likely to keep such a routine up, on a daily basis.)

However, I see the deep need inside of me for some kind of prayer, personal and individual prayer, on a regular basis. Perhaps that is why I come back to Ignatian prayer and meditation, again and again.

The second part of this quote from St. Anselm tells me to “rest in God.” Oh, what an inviting image! What a welcoming, encouraging thought, too. Immediately, I am drawn to the image of the lush green pasture and the cool, clear pool of water that I have seen when praying Psalm 23 (in Ignatian prayer, of course). Oh, dear Lord, would that I be able to rest in You whenever I have need!

With St. Anselm, I do pray to seek God. I hope and pray that through this book, this Ignatian guide of praying with Scripture, I might have the joy and delight of spending time with God, just God and me. Lord, You know my heart. You know that I need to find regular time with You, one on one. Help me to rest in You, delight in Your presence, and rejoice to find that green pasture and pool of water You have intended just for me. You intend it for all of us. It’s in Jesus’s name, the name of the Good Shepherd, 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), 19.

Prayer: Meditation and Contemplation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 31, 2019

lordhearourprayer

Prayer: Meditation and Contemplation

Praying with Scripture can be moving, inspiring, soul-shaking, or heart-piercing. Sometimes, several of these at once or in succession.

I’m not saying that St. Ignatius had a corner on this praying-with-Scripture thing, but he certainly was able to guide people into the practice. That’s the reason “Ignatian prayer” is named exactly that. I love to use this kind of prayer, and I have had deep spiritual encounters while using it.

The two halves of the Ignatian-prayer-whole are meditation and contemplation, both using Scripture as a basis for going in-depth in prayer. Fr. Gallagher is basing his approach in this book on St. Ignatius’ own words and method, as follows:

“I will consider how God our Lord looks upon me.”

“I offer all my will and actions to God. (preparatory prayer) I review the Scripture for this prayer. I imaginatively enter the place of this Scripture. (composition) I ask of God what I wish and desire in this prayer.”

In meditation, for each point “I call to mind this truth, with love. I ponder it, with love. I embrace it, with love and desire.” In contemplation, for each point “I see the persons. I hear the words. I observe the actions.” And, after each session of prayer, I speak to God as my heart is moved (colloquy). [1]

Such a simple manner of prayer. Yet, how deep. Talk about being pushed into the deep end of the pool! I can still vividly remember an Ignatian prayer session I participated in, where I could feel the dusty dryness of the street and the jostling of the crowd. I remember the excited buzz of conversation as I led a group of moms (at a mothers’ bible study) through an Ignatian prayer exercise on Jesus and the disciples out on the sea of Galilee in a storm, and how several of my fellow moms were astounded by the depth of the prayer experience.

While I realize that kind of experience may not be an every-day sort of thing, still. Ignatian prayer does offer the possibility and opportunity of having that kind of prayer time. God willing, I would like to have those experiences more often than I do right now. Dear Lord, as I work through this helpful book, lead us all in Ignatian prayer. Guide us as we come into Your presence. It is in the name of Your blessed Son we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 16-17.