Frequent Personal Prayer Time

prayer time

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

Frequent Personal Prayer Time

Podcast #4

A Frequent personal prayer time

Prayer time is one of those things that often escapes us. In this episode, Father David explores setting up frequent and personal prayer time so that you can grow closer to God. Join Father weekly as he explores timely topics and digs deep into the scriptures.

Show Notes: A Frequent and Personal Prayer Time

In one of Jesus’ journeys to the temple in Jerusalem he stood up in the midst of the people and he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink, and rivers of living water will flow from within him.” ( Jn. 7: 37 )

From the pierced heart of Jesus flows streams of living water. Knowing the Heart of Jesus and loving him is the same thing. A life of prayer is rooted in the heart of the One who keeps asking, “Do you love me?” If we do not love him we end up being strangers to our own and God’s heart. It is through prayer that our relationship with the One who first loved us grows and deepens. The goal of having a good personal prayer time is to learn to live a “ life of prayer.” This type of personal prayer is centered on, “the grace of the present moment.”

Prayer time in the midst of family business.

There are four siblings in my immediate family; three brothers and one sister. All three of us brothers have a great love and respect for our sister, Ruthann. Near the top of my list is the fact that she remained single and took excellent care of my father and mother until they passed away. My mother died at 84 and my father at 96; he needed extended and intensive long-standing care until he died. Recently on one my trips back to the family homestead, she told me that she was very grateful to me because after she had made a great conversion and renewal in the Holy Spirit I told her this. If you want to grow more quickly in holiness and prayer you need to build into your daily schedule a frequent or daily personal prayer time. She said I did what you suggested, and I will never regret it because it has proved to be so true for me.

“Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his home ( I will come into him!) and eat with him, and he will eat with me. To those who win the victory, I will give the right to sit beside me on my throne, Just as I have been victorious and now sit by my Father on his throne.” ( Rev. 3:20 ) This passage highlights intimate love, union, and sharing in the victory of the glorious eternal life. Knowing the methods of prayer is not enough to establish a rich prayer life, but the inner dynamics of a heart to heart relationship with the Lord is what is essential. Without a meaningful prayer life, dealing with the experience of the daily issues of our existence will often leave us quickly scattered,  or over-invested in intense and stressful ways.

What keeps you away from prayer time?

Is there anything keeping me from entering into a journey of frequent prayer and union with the Lord? If today the Lord is knocking on the door of my heart, is there anything keeping me from opening the door wide and inviting the Lord in? If I understand that the Lord has an abundant love for me, what could hold me back? Francis of Assisi exhorted his brothers, “pray always and do not lose heart! ( ER, C. XXII, n. 28-31 )

For all of us establishing a frequent or daily prayer time is hard work, and we can usually find many other things to do before we want to do that. We live in a society that thrives on being busy and provides many distractions for us. Also, some experience a real desire to pray often because of special grace they received in some spiritual program or experience; filled with a new found joy and desire they may neglect prayer and sort of lose interest, then their desire for prayer and growth in holiness gradually diminishes.  If we stick with our efforts to grow in prayer, our taste for prayer and personal holiness will gradually grow stronger. And the graces and favors of the Holy Spirit will noticeably increase.

The Practical Aspects of designing a Personal Prayer Time

May we look at the specific elements that can be useful in assisting us in designing a desired plan for a prayer time. It is important to do this in a way that best fits our vocation and life situation at the present time. Some individuals pace of life and schedule largely determines how they bring this time into their daily schedule.  Some people pray better in the morning when the day is just starting; others pray better when the day is drawing to a close. Each of us is different so we should choose the time that best suits us.

The setting for prayer time:

It is helpful to pick an environment that is conducive to prayer. There may be a chapel available that makes the situation peaceful for me. For those whose mission it is to raise families a nice basement family room where it is quiet and all the electronic devices are off, including the cell phone is desirable. I may want to keep a notebook handy where I can jot down key insights. If I do journaling it is probably not a good time to do it all the time. Sometimes journaling during prayer time can draw us away from the more important things the Lord may want to do with me doing my special time with him. Each individual should determine that for himself or herself.

Many find that secondary aids are used to get one started in prayer. The Church has always favored using the Word of God. The scriptures, the Gospel stories or the letters of St. Paul, are particularly useful because they are especially inspired by the Holy Spirit. A good devotional book or something from the life of a saint is also noteworthy. If I am musically gifted and can sing I can use my talents to begin praising. Beginning one’s prayer time with praising is helpful in opening my spirit to the movements of grace in my heart and mind. It also gets my mind off of myself and other distractions.

If I never had a frequent or daily prayer time before, it may be good to start it in a reasonable length of about 15 to 20 minutes. The focus of my prayer at the beginning should be on God and not on myself. I may start with praying and asking the Lord for the grace to have a blessed time of prayer. Then make a peaceful but conscious effort to empty my mind of distractive thoughts and considerations. After a short period of silent reflection, it is good to share with the Lord what is in your heart. During the main part of my prayer, I should be particularly attentive to what the Lord is showing me as I place myself in a listening mode. The Lord will “speak” to you and also the Holy Spirit may inspire you with light and insight about what you reflected on in your heart, those things he has brought to you in prayer. Choose what is most important to you, and make a choice to be influenced by the insights or lights in regard to action or choices which may have a particular bearing on certain aspects of my life. At times, if appropriate, I may seek the Lord about the events or issues of the current day. Towards the end of my prayer time, I may want to thank the Lord for the graces given to me in my prayer time and ask the Lord if there is anyone I should briefly pray for before I finish my time.

Some concluding reflections: My personal prayer time is my special opportunity to have a conversation, communication, and communion with the Lord. It should be a peaceful time for prayer. It is uniquely my time! Therefore, I need to trust in the Lord’s love for me. He really wants to and delights in being with me. The Lord will take the initiative to give me the graces I need to prayer well. The Lord will also lead me to lengthen my prayer time when it is time. The key thing is that during my time with the Lord, relax and let the Lord lead the way my prayer time unfolds.

The Grace Of The Present Moment Part II

the grace of the present moment

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

The Grace of the Present Moment Part II

Podcast #3

The grace of the present moment part two is still about living in God’s grace. However, the first reflection on living in the Grace of the Present Moment or “hearing the voice of the Lord” was a little heavy.

Biblical teachings for living in grace:

What I attempted to communicate was the context of what this gift entails; the pastoral theological context for the purposes of understanding. In this second reflection, I would like to discuss some of the biblical principles that enable us to put our understanding into action as we live in the grace of the present moment.

In Marks, Gospel Jesus speaks about the parable of new wine being poured into new wine shins, “Likewise no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” (Mk 2: 18-22)  Applying this scripture to represent the Bridegroom who is now present in a direct and personal way for the purposes of our personal transformation.

What does this transformation require?

And this transformation requires direct action by the Lord to bring about both the gift of the new wine of the Spirit and changes in the new wineskins. It is not just a matter of interior change by the new wine of the Spirit, but also a significant change in the personality and character of the person. The whole person has to change when coming into contact with the voice and action of the Lord. The whole person benefits; both spiritual growth and human maturity takes place. Holiness is wholeness! This is our focus when attempting to live in the grace of the present moment.

Living In The Grace of the Present Moment takes living in grace.

Viewing the issue of living in the grace of the present moment, may we reflect on three significant considerations of this reality. Within the context our growth in the grace of the present moment we can identify the following: 1) The wisdom of developing a daily or frequent personal prayer time; the building of a deep personal relationship with the Lord, 2) The challenge of learning how to do “spiritual warfare” against the negative forces of the world, the flesh and the devil, and 3) The need to develop an action plan in order to focus and maximize our spiritual growth and human maturity; the construction of a flexible spiritual growth plan.

1 Jn 2:16

“I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one. Do not love the world or the things of the world For if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust and enticement of the eyes, and a pretentious life is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 Jn 2:16). The meaning of the world in this negative sense is the power of the world under the influence and direction of the evil one.

God shows us his love as we are living in the grace of the present moment:

In Ephesians chapter six, St. Paul gives us the basic principle for doing spiritual warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil. “Finally draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything to hold your ground. So stand fast in faith with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (Eph.6:10-17)

Our struggle is not with flesh and blood.

The Roman soldier, fully armed with his shield his breastplate and helmet, would have been a familiar image in the ancient world. The Ephesians are to prepare themselves to live the Christian life as the Roman soldiers prepared themselves for combat, but instead of armor and weapons, they are to use what God gives for our protection: truth, righteousness, faith, and salvation. Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, for Christians in every age have experienced persecution at the hands of other people.  But Paul insists that the enemies to fear are the forces of evil in the universe, forces which assail the Christian like an army of invaders. (commentary on Ephesians in the NAB}

The Church today is just getting around to looking seriously at the presence, operation, and benefits of the “spiritual gifts of the Spirit.” Charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly are used for the benefit of building up the Body of Christ. They are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and all members of the Church. (CCC 799) The spiritual gifts of discernment and the discernment of spirits are essential to determine what spirit is influencing us in and at the present moment of time.

“We belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one (the meaning of the term “world” in the negative sense). We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 5: 19-20); Charismatic gifts in  Corinthians, (1Cor 12:1-14: 25). In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays a beautiful prayer for believers, that we may have wisdom and revelation—gifts from the Holy Spirit—to understand more fully the hope of our own call and the greatness and glory of God. In Ephesians 4: 7-13 we see identified the spiritual gifts for an apostolic mission, witness, and service. Gifts given…” and he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.

Are you engaged in spiritual growth and human maturity?

Each baptized Christian needs to be very proactive in engaging spiritual growth and human maturity; the new wine of the Spirit is poured into new wineskins, the attitudes, behaviors, and maturity of our human person, as we travel on our personal journey of our life. The fundamental choices and decisions primarily take place in the midst of the grace of the present moment! In order to support our growth in Christian holiness, it is essential to develop a daily or frequent personal prayer time. This is the context where we learn how to read the movements the evil one who may be trying to confuse us, or using our personal weaknesses and vulnerable areas of our lives to lead us into sin or other modes of darkness. Again Pope John Paul II reminds us that spiritual combat is a secret and interior struggle in which Christians engage daily temptations and opposition from the “spirit of the world”, our personal weaknesses, and the works of Satan.

Discernment is needed to exercise the spiritual gifts:

I present here a few simple tips using a good discernment or exercising the spiritual gift of the discernment of spirits. When you feel something going on psychologically where negative or compulsive dark thoughts are affecting your mind make prayer your first response. If we sense something taking place in our spiritual realm, where we are sort of out of sorts also turn to prayer and ask the Lord to give us insight and give us a picture to what is going on, and then wait patiently for positive inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Try to recall something positive which came to you in regard to your personal intimacy with the Lord, something based on liberating truth and not just on our personal feelings. Evil spirits just hate to be confronted with the truth, or praises of Scripture or turning to the Lord and praising him. A Christian has a spirit given gift or ability to distinguish between what is from our human nature, and what is from the Spirit of God, and what is from a demonic source or presence. Do not be afraid to use the anointing or gift that God has given you! Take authority in the name of Jesus over what you sense is coming from the dark side of things. Do not be surprised if “things” clear up and peace returns. Don’t forget to be thankful for the freedom you receive, this pleases the Lord.

God acts on our behalf and we can simply pray, using spiritual warfare:

In the Name of Jesus, I bind this negativity (or whatever is plaguing you) and command it to leave. Continue to praise the Lord and ask Him to fill you with His love, His peace, and His joy.

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Grace of The Present Moment

living in the grace of the present moment

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

Living in the Grace of the Present Moment  ~ Episode 2

Do you live in the past? Or are you living in the grace of the present moment? In this episode, Father Tickerhoof takes on this topic head on and explores what it means and how we as Christians can change our look at the past and live a new life in Christ. He explains how to listen to the voice of the Lord, personally, literally and clearly.

Show Notes: Living in the grace of the present moment

Last year I was living in St. Petersburg and assisting the chaplain core at Bay Front Trauma Hospital. The Catholic chaplain on the core shared a talk she gave to graduating physician assistants. She spoke with them about how important it was to live in the present. In the process of her speech, she said something to this effect. If you live your life in the past you will never be able to live fully in the present, and if you live your life primary in the future you will not be able to fully live in the present. She apparently suggested to them that they should try to live fully in the present. Of course, we need to receive wisdom about the past and we need to reasonably to plan for the future.

She encouraged them to live a balanced life fully in the present and give special attention to live in the grace of the present moment. I am sure that at some time we have met individuals who are always looking to the past, proclaiming how good it was in the past, usually preoccupied about their life, events, and experiences of the past Sometimes a fearful rigidity can emerge that betrays a great deal of insecurity. Then on the other side of things, we can run into individuals who are always saying what they are going to achieve in the future. We may be a little uneasy with their preoccupation about the future because we sense a dissociation from living in the present, and have an awareness that many of the things they may be planning and thinking about in the future surprisingly may not really happen.

We want to please the Lord in all things!

The grace which the Lord gives to us to respond to him and live our life primarily comes to us in the present moment. A good reason for this is that God gives us the power and ability to respond to him and to the responsibilities of life exclusively in the general context of the present moment. This is naturally and supernaturally the way he created us as human beings. Love as the hallmark of life reveals itself in the human activity of the present moment. We can communicate about the past and the future but we actually live engaged in the present moment. Therefore, if God gives the abundance of his grace in the present ambient of our lives then we want to be very attentive to that reality, in view of the fact that God’s will for my life is revealed in that context. One of the main goals for personal salvation is the knowledge of God’s will in all things, and generously and gratefully living that out to the best of our ability. Surely we want to try and please the Lord in all things.

Living in the grace of the present moment means listening for the voice of the Lord.

In view of the above reflection may we look more closely at the notion of listening to and hearing the “voice of the Lord.” What does it mean to listen to the voice of the Lord? God speaks to us all the time through Sacred Scripture, liturgy, people, circumstances, events and in other ways. Some would say when you do all the things that Catholics do and follow all the teachings of the Church then you will know what the voice of God is all about. These things do communicate God voice to us; however, there is much more to personally and literally hearing God’s voice in our daily lives.

I am aware of the cautions which St. John of the Cross and Ruth Borrows, a Carmelite sister, present in their writings in regard to special spiritual favors and the practice of the spiritual gifts. When situations involve immaturity, superficiality, or initial spiritual experience, individually or culturally, there can be a problem. However, this does not justify “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” The real question is if you do not know how to listen to the Lord, to hear the word of the Lord and discern it, or the voice of God, why not? There is nothing to be ashamed of, but many well-intentioned and serious Christians do not know how to listen to the Lord. It is very clear that it is God’s merciful intention to intimately speak to every baptized disciple of Christ. It is important to know how to maturely hear and listen to the “voice of the Lord.” What I mean is God speaking to us personally literally and clearly.

Are you living in the grace of the present moment?

“To hear the voice of the Lord” is a natural and supernatural experience, which is important to appreciate and understand for the sake of personal holiness and other reasons as well such as, good discernment, good communication with others, a fruitful prayer time, to know and experience his personal love, to know his will, to receive guidance and direction etc. So then how should we personally try to grasp this notion, especially in our personal lives, pastoral ministry, and Christian service?

The context within which we grow and mature in the practice of listening to the Lord is reading the revealed Word of God and the inspired teaching of the Church. The dynamics of knowing how to listen to the Lord’s word need to be practically taught to individuals; a seminar is needed on the podcast. For example, the practical elements of learning how to follow inspirations from the Lord in our minds and know how to receive “his word” in our heart. We have been naturally created by God to learn how to do this. We have been gifted by our Baptism in water. We can easily learn how to identify the presence and movements of God in our souls. Know the awareness of the presence and grace in our interior life. God is Spirit and Jesus the Glorified Lord, relates to us in our spirit through his active presence, and through the insights, inspirations, and power of the Holy Spirit. This experience of grace in us is humanly intelligible, though a mystery it may be. What a joy it is to understand that we can practically know the Lord and his active presence in our hearts, our lives, and in our relationships, and thus experience communication with the Lord.

living in the grace of the present momentThe great news is that the Lord created us with exterior and interior receptors to be able to receive and understand the movements of the Holy Spirit in our communication with the Divine. For example, if we are walking down the street by ourselves we should not be surprised to realize we are talking to ourselves about many things. This is the same interior faculty in which the Holy Spirit is able to infuse or form words in by the action or work of the Spirit when we give prayerful attention to this reality. The saints experienced this reality frequently and the Church identifies this mode of communication as “locutions.” It is important to know what are the Lord’s methods of communication. We can also receive direct revelation in our understanding as well as in many aspects of communication by the Lord through various forms of inspiration, including the circumstances of life, and yes sometimes even in our dreams.

Of course, any communication from the Lord needs to be tested and discerned, St. John tells us to test every spirit…”

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

It is not easy to become good at discerning the word of the Lord. We need to relax and be patient with ourselves and realize that it is okay to make mistakes. A good to sense of humor goes a long way. We always need to ask ourselves the question: is what I believe to be the word of the Lord coming from the Lord, my unredeemed part of me, or from a deception by Satan. The devil is good at mimicking the various communication gifts of the Spirit. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that Satan presents himself as an “angel of light”. It takes a great deal of humility and practice to mature in hearing the word of the Lord and knowing when and how to act on it in a manner that is pleasing to God. The divine/human interplay in grace through the spiritual activity of conversation, communication, and communion with the Lord is what we mean by hearing the word of the Lord and listening to it as he speaks to us, giving us various forms of guidance and direction in a given situation.

The obvious question would be how do we make this happen?  Is there some button we may push? In an attempt to make a response to this question I will only mention briefly a few things about this wonderful possibility. The first and probably the most fundamental point is that the Lord in his great love and mercy for us created us naturally for interaction and communication with Him. An involved and mature communication with God in our life and ministry presupposes that we walk closely with him in all the moments of our daily life, especially in our prayer time. Praying always is one way of expressing this reality. Mary is identified in spiritual writings as the attentive Virgin who is always open and receptive to divine communication. Depending on the situation sometimes the Lord takes the initiative and sometimes we are able to do that. The door to this relationship is a life of prayer. This process is enhanced by an active life in the Holy Spirit, and a practical ability to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit which pertain to what is going on in a given moment or situation, particularly in personal prayer or the context of a ministry situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Love For His People

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

God's Love For His PeopleGod’s Love for His People

Episode 1

God’s love for His people will astound and bless you — in the scriptures, He says, “Beloved let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God is revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love. Not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (1 Jn. 4: 7-12)

“… who remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (v. 16)

We are called into a  love relationship with God in Jesus Christ through the power and life of the Holy Spirit. We live a covenant relationship in Jesus Christ in the New Creation. Those committed to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ live in a relationship with him in the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We have been created for God

We have been created to naturally live this life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and come to completion or perfection as a human being in the dynamic of this triune relationship of love. In the book of Revelation Jesus says “Behold I make all things new”! Jesus is the source of the New Creation

By love, we become a new creation, a new man or woman in Christ. Jesus invites us into the New Covenant of Love through our Baptism in water

(The story of Dianne) — listen to the podcast for more.

God’s love for His people is unending!

The only way we can grow in love is by the power of God’s love Therefore we are called into a relationship where we are willing to embrace a process and journey of changing. Sometimes change is easy sometimes it is hard, “unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it remains just a seed, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (Jn. 12) The story of Jimmy Cohen – a little book entitled Love of God by Charles Colson,  in a chapter entitled “Whatever Happened to Son.”

If God is love and lives in us, we need to love others. The basic call of our vocation is love. A successful and meaningful life is a life of love: giving our life away, giving our love away, and giving our death away! Our transformation and growth in divine love and human love brings spiritual happiness and also human maturity.  (The story of Alex Bombara)

Love is a gift from God, both divine and human love, a fruitful life. A fruitful life lived in the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit brings forth in our transformation generosity and gratitude. In humility we need to be patient, learn to appreciate and accept ourselves as we are, and trust in God’s merciful love to achieve all He has planned for us.

Hide me
Sign up below to receive your free bonus!
Subscribe for Email Updates Full Name Email*
Show me