Set a feast of scripture before God Himself, so that He can dine upon His own delicious ideas. Like preparing Him His favorite recipes, pray His words back to Him. Each word He has spoken is powerful. Know the words of the Bible and use them. Memorize verses individually or just reread them over and over, then say them as your own. When He gave promises, state the promises as yours. When His saints prayed in the Bible, use their phrases. For example, use Psalm 91 for protection from evil by putting in your name and the names of loved ones who “Dwell in the secret place of the Most High.” In such a way, honor Him; grip hold of what He has spoken by imbibing in a meal with Him. What relationship can we enjoy if we do not listen to the One whom we adore? We all want to be heard. Even Jesus wants to be understood. When we pray back the words spoken to us,
Our Beloved Jesus told of a host who had guests, but needed food to give them, so he went to his friend at night when his friend was in bed asleep; knocking upon the door, he appealed for the friend to give him bread so that he could serve his guests. Eventually, the tired soul became aroused enough from endless knocking, that he gave the food to the obnoxious friend. Upon telling this story, Jesus told his disciples to pray with importunity. (St. Luke 11:5-13) He also told a similar story of a woman who pestered a judge for justice, until the judge became so fed up that he yielded to her pressure and gave her what she wanted. (St. Luke 18:2-7) We know these to be examples of importunity, but this is not a word that we often hear. What is importunity? We are called in these passages to literally be annoying to God. Pressure
Whisper some words of praise. Remind Him that He said whatsoever you ask, you shall receive it. Ask Him to come, confirm His presence, take over your time together; now wait. Breath. Listen for Him. If your mind wanders, with closed eyes imagine His eyes and fix yours upon His expectantly. Let spiritual ears listen for His voice; His breath. Wait; surrender; expect for Him to show up for your appointment. Wait in silence. You might feel the edge of heaven just out of reach. You may feel nothing. Be patient. There is beauty in silence. Your wait may be long or short. When you think that He is near, begin with whatever He gives you to say or do. Do not underestimate the value of the quiet. Within the quiet your neurons rest, thinking clears, health improves, the Spirit moves.
Beloved who has entered my silence to nourish me so many times, come to the soul who reads and tries this.
Music pours out to us like a fountain in the light. Each note can be a nourishing droplet that soothes a desert soul. It is a miracle. What if God had created a world without sound? Even if there was sound, what if we were without ears? Many things had to come together for music, which adds unique dimension to our pleasure and facilitates us connecting with others, including the Creator Himself. Music ushers us through our own maze to the veil of the Holy Place, then like incense, through the veil into His Holy Presence. Day to day our hearts grow tough with worldly concerns. A song can shift our focus immediately to a higher place. Our hearts soften in music like unfired clay softening in water. Imagine a passionate movie with lovely music. The melodic score is needed to enable the audience to feel. In the same way music prepares us to see and hear Him. Adding music to devotional time enriches your interactions with Him.
We have long heard how we need to care for our body because it is the temple of God. What does this truly mean, to be a temple? We also are told in His Word that He is in us. What are the implications here? I must ask, if He is in me, what kind of atmosphere does my interior home provide Him? When He steps inside, does my inner climate bring Him the comfort of being home? Is He the light glowing on my walls? Indeed, He has chosen us for a habitation. He says,
“This is my rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalms 132:14)
How restful can He be in here? Do I have unexamined problems piled in the corners? Is my anxiety disrupting the calm abode? How much do I welcome Him? Now do not despair; when asked, He loves to clean up the messy home and to bring peace to the troubled heart dwelling.
We all come before God in our own way. Some read the Word; others write their prayers. The blog today is a simple outline of approaches that will be further discussed in future blogs. When I have practiced these as the Spirit leads me, I have experienced the sweetness of His Presence in tangible ways. Sometimes I have felt deeply loved; other times beauty covered everything; He often gives me a shake or a feeling of spiritual water passing through me. Especially soothing is the sense of rich spiritual oil easing my anxiety. Time can lapse without my awareness. He may whisper a phrase or remain quiet. I might receive an image of myself doing something that He has planned. Every way that He comes is good and lovely. He comes to some people with clear imagery and to others, speaking at length. Sometimes He is present, but cannot be felt. Other times His peace simply rests in the room.
I encourage you, pursue Him so
I had intended to enter a belated Thanksgiving blog, but My Blessed Friend asked me to enter this poem, a prayer, that I wrote to Him several years ago. He is our Truth and our Light. Hear how He prevails.
Sing, good Truth, Your ancient song;
Fashion stunning weapons to obliterate wrong;
Transform the weak to prevail over the strong;
Chase memories down corridors where they do not belong.
Shine Light, dear Truth; open eyes of the blind;
Tear up masks that the mind
Meticulously painted to hide behind;
Unveil the faces that you find.
Truth, steal kisses within the breast
Where dread and beauty spar and rest.
Shatter holes in images, putting dreams to savage test;
Create a blinding paradox to drive the soul into a quest.
Truth, whisper honesty at an
We do many things for God, but how often do we feel His presence as we do them. Devotional time gives Him opportunity to show up. Expect Him to come. Pay close attention to the atmosphere and listen for Him. Let Him know that you want an encounter. Let your longing reach out for Him so that He is pulled from heaven to be with you. His intention in creating you was to make you a garden of love where He can come in and commune with you. The time you spend with Him has the potential to give you tastes of heaven.
At times, we endure heart crushing experiences. Our mind is sent reeling. While thoughts swim in a sea of words with no focus, we struggle to function in small tasks. The pain twists our heart like a wet rag. Everything that we thought our life to be is thrown into question. Every task seems useless, every encounter painfully empty. Nothing seems worth enduring. Sorrow … anguish … longing threaten to shut us down. Who do I think that I am to suggest praise at such times?
This is the challenge of a believer. When all goes horribly wrong, has God turned against us? When life has morphed into a bad dream, has God left us to fend for ourselves? Some will dare to suggest that such experiences will not happen to a faithful follower, but Biblical and historical accounts of suffering saints tell us that even favored friends of God can suffer such grief. Saint like followers have one thing in common. They do not cease
Seeking God to know Him is like climbing a mountain. The assent appears impossible, but we have ropes. These ropes are the words of the Bible, which we hoist ourselves upon, trusting that they will bear our weight. Faith is the muscle that we flex, which is increasingly strengthened by practice. When we are dangling at an unsafe height and afraid of falling, we must hang tightly upon the ropes, the word, with the muscle of our faith, and seek the toe holds that He provides from His mercy. He wants us to ascend Him, to know His ways, His paths and His mercies, so He provides a way for us to wrestle up the giant Rock, which is Himself. We know Him more when we personally encounter His majesty, ascend to behold His Face, then experience His view of all things. The beauty is unspeakable: the trees, streams, cliff faces, clouds and scenic landscapes instill a hunger for more glimpses of stunning holiness, driving us up His