Prayer Life

Living A Life of Prayer | The fruits that come from living a life of prayer, even if it is a life of penance are amazing spiritual fruits. “I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.| #podcast #christianpodcast #livingalifeofprayer Living a Life of Prayer  Episode 25

What is living a life of prayer? We read in the Scriptures, “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn.15: 15-16)

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Living a Life of Prayer

We find ourselves in a very difficult time today in the struggles that the Church is going through, and also in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. How do we handle these difficult situations: people dying early, millions losing their position of employment, escalating prices, restricted relations, and other restricting and painful situations? The real solution is to center our life in our current situations in the gift of prayer, which is the heart of living out the reality of our life.

A while back I was viewing a You-tube video that spoke about a young Catholic teenager who was struggling with all the trials and temptations of living in our broken culture today. In frustration one night he went into his room closed the door and knelt on his knees and began to pray. In his personal life, he never developed or experienced a personal relationship with the Lord. He was used to the normal sacramental and devotional life of the Church. He was determined to continue this practice and hoped for something to happen interiorly. Eventually, he began to experience the presence and tenderness of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and of the Church. He felt as though she had put her arms around him. After a number of these prayer experiences, he went on to receive the Church’s Grace of the Renewal. From that point on he began to experience a deepening in his personal relationship with the Lord. He began to see some things in his life that needed to change. Cooperating with the inspirations the Lord was giving him he made significant changes. He went on to become a priest and now lives and serves in a religious community in the Church.

The key to this reality is to center our life in prayer. Prayer in our life is something we should enjoy. It is certainly hard work at times there is no question about it! But as we grow in prayer, we experience the beautiful gift and intimate presence and love of God in our hearts. This gift draws us to appreciate who we are as a person and at the same time a beloved son or daughter of the Father. The prayer life we develop, of course, should take place according to our vocation, and the personal time we have in our lives. The heart of our prayer life is the experience we have in our hearts of the love of Jesus who calls us his friends.

Most of us realize this reality to some degree in our minds, but it rarely seems to go deep into our hearts. People seem to realize this when I sometimes ask them this question. Do you realize that Jesus who is your friend really likes you? He really, really likes you as a person, the real-life person that you really are! He created you and knows you inside out, and he loves you deeply and intimately as your friend. Gradually as our life of prayer grows, he places more and more of his love in our hearts. Many people do not love themselves very much, and so they find it hard to accept this love of Jesus in their hearts as their friend.

There are three things we need to consider when we reflect on the love of Jesus as our friend. This special gift of love has three interrelated aspects for us to experience. The first is conversion, the second is a conversation, and the third is communion. The goal of communion is a union! As we grow in these three realities the Spirit of God’s love gradually fills our heart with the fruitfulness of these truths. These three beautiful gifts are not something we bring about in our hearts by our own willful efforts alone. But they are three ways the Holy Spirit of Love works in our lives and in the very center of our hearts. The effects of these three graces we receive as we walk in our life of prayer constitute a dynamic relationship of God’s love in our heart, and brings about our relationship with Jesus, the Lord, as our special and intimate friend.
Conversion is the process of transformation that enables us to make the changes in our lives that God may want, or that are obstacles that block God’s love from filling our hearts. These may be such things as conscience or willful sin, unresolved resentments past or present, and excessive attachments to persons, places or things. When we are sincerely willing to make the changes needed, the Spirit of God will work in us and gives us the grace and power to make the necessary changes. The young teenager began to see some of the things in his life that he needed to change in order that the gift and power of the Spirit would make a difference in his life. It took him a while to make those changes so that the Spirit could bring this love and intimate friendship of grace into his personal life.

Conversation is the ability to dialogue with the Lord in our hearts where he speaks to us and we speak to him. The Spirit of God fills our inner faculties which God has given to us so that we are able to communicate in our mind and heart with the Lord through the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit working in our interior life. The young teenager learned how to have a conversation with the Lord as his friend, also with Mary his spiritual mother. In this process, he moved from making times for prayer to living a life of prayer, where he was able to witness and speak about the beautiful love that God placed in his heart.

The third thing he experienced was Communion. The goal of communion is union. It was through this realization in which the young lad was able to set aside his fears and anxieties coming from his stress and struggles he experienced in trying to live a good and peaceful life. He began more to see through wisdom and understanding the great priority of allowing God to be the one who was doing so beautifully work in him. He found that as his heart grew in friendship with the Lord, he was able to experience spiritual freedom in his life. Communion points us to the goal of oneness and union in our relationship with God, “so that they may all be one, as you, Father, you are in me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” (Jn. 17:21-22)

May We Pray!
Father our hearts are thirsty for the living waters of Grace. And we hunger for deep and personal friendship with you. May the Spirit of the Lord fill us to overflowing with the Gospel of Grace. Fill our hearts more and more with your tender love and mercy, wherein the spiritual freedom we experience will flow from our deep personal intimate love which you place in our hearts, and in that love always seeking to glorify our beloved Father. We ask these graces with great confidence in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen

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