Does your space influence your praying?

I’ve been waking up around 3.00 am these days, as my body adjusts to effects of a trans-Atlantic trip.  I have been going to bed late hoping  I would sleep right through.  However I find myself awake in a couple of hours, trying to figure out how to while away the time till the dawn.

So I wander around a bit, pet the dog, pick up a book and put it down again for my eyes are too tired to concentrate.  I switch on the TV.   More of the same stuff – Trump and his trip, Trump and his tweets,  Trump and his tactless talk, interspersed with bits of world news. CNN is really obsessed with Trump and trite news. Imagine – they were actually showing the police recording of Tiger Woods being tested for driving under influence. Gross invasion of his privacy.  I switch to BBC.  More Trump tales but also news of Manchester, Brexit, Elections and EU.  I click to Al Jazeera – less obsession with one topic and a more global view: labour reform in Brazil,  environment research in Senegal, lynching in Pakistan,  a protester used as a human shield in India,  and  in-depth reporting on the floods in Sri Lanka.  I watch a bit and switch off.   3.30 am.  Its going to be a  l – o – n – g night. I make some coffee, grab a bite and decide its a great opportunity for some quiet time with the Lord.

But that does not work !  Try as I might I could not quiet myself.  One whole week of getting up at 3.00 am and I did not get any quality prayer time. (??)

And then today this article on Ignationspirituality.com titled Take Inventory of Your Spaces by Vinita Hampton Wright made me realise the root of the problem.  To say my space was the major distraction to my prayers would be an understatement.

It has been raining heavily the past week, pre-empting me from going onto the balcony which is generally conducive to reflection and quiet time.  The rain has impacted the indoors too.  There are racks of clothes drying out in the upstairs lobby/study.  And lots more clothes lying around – unfinished packing – waiting their turn for the machine and the racks. Maybe it is time to invest in a Drier even in sunny Sri Lanka?

I muse that the rain has only minutely disrupted my space.  It has played havoc in the country, creating a national disaster and taking away ‘all the space’  of hundreds of thousands of families.  In the face of that, my distraction from prayer because of dis-organised surroundings seems very trite indeed.  But it is a reality.

The article brought home to me the importance of consciously creating that place and space that I need to go into by myself to meet my Lord.  As Ms Hampton Wright says  … it matters where we dwell for a time of communion with God.  

She urges that we take an inventory of our spaces and gives some guidlines on how to achieve this.  You can read the full article Take Inventory of Your Spaces on the Ignatianspirituality.com website.

I hope it helps you as much as it has  helped me.

 

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As the deer panteth …

Touching words extracted from a post Touching the Stars by Michelle Franckl-Donnay

We describe prayer as talking to God or listening to God. Yet both these images of prayer let me keep a bit of distance between God and me. I sit on the sofa, God next to me. I look up to the altar or to the heavens, God before me, God above me. But I’m starting to wonder if to pray is in reality to touch and be touched by God. To move toward God, reaching out, and at the same time, to be still, allowing God’s hand to rest upon me. To let go of my boundaries, to be uncertain where I end and God takes up. To be willing to risk letting God within me.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis urges us to get our hands into the mystery that is God and let it get into us: “If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.” We are called not just to walk with Christ but to be clothed in Christ, to wrap ourselves up in God.

…    And what do I desire, if not the infinite, invincible, ineffable God, come to dwell within my very ordinary life?

As the deer panteth

Letting God work on us

Prayer has far more to do with what God wants to do in us than with our trying to “reach” or “realize,” still less “entertain,” God in prayer.

This truth eliminates anxiety and concern as to the success or non-success of our prayer, for we can be quite certain that, if we want to pray and give the time to prayer, God is always successful and that is what matters.

What we think of as our search for God is, in reality, a response to the divine Lover drawing us to himself.  There is never a moment when divine Love is not at work.

This work is nothing other than a giving of the divine Self in love.

The logical consequence for us must surely be that our part is to

let ourselves be loved,
—let ourselves be given to,
let ourselves be worked upon by this great God
and made capable of total union with Him. “

This reflection extracted from Ruth Burrows Essence of Prayer  so closely resembles my Advent wish ‘Receive His Love’  from a different perspective that I thought I would share it as my Christmas post.

My wish for my Christian brothers and people of all faiths is that we will let God – whoever you conceive Him to be – to work on us this Christmas so there is peace on earth,  good will and love amongst men.

See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/an-ignatian-prayer-adventure/week-1/#sthash.4vWR0i0k.dpuf

Thinking with my heart!

Retreat with Pope John XXIII

Jesus living wisdom

Shorten the distance between my head and my heart.

Teach me how to THINK WITH MY HEART

so that all my thoughts are filled with love.

Show me that wisdom is truth tasted in all its beauty.

Walk with me as I learn from life how wisdom becomes my friend.

 

Mary, Wise woman, pray for me

that  I may receive the gift of wisdom

and the love which makes it possible.

Holy Spirit, your first gift is wisdom.

Breathe on me, breath of God, and immerse me in this gift.

Take away my fear and fill me with love.

Show me that courage is a heart that acts,

Which is a way of saying that WISDOM 

FLOWS FROM THE HEART

Opening prayer from A Retreat with John XXIII .

 

Should I pray, petition and plead ?

Should I pray, petition, plead ?

The question has been on my mind these past few days.  A  loved one in pain has been asked to do a full bone scan to check for recurrence of the dreaded C cell.  Yes, Cancer.

It was discovered early and she was operated 18 months ago.  Everything  seemed fine but this pain and the doctor’s request has me worried.  Should I just trust that God the Healer and Loving Father will surely take care of his child?  Or should I pray, petition, plead for healing?

The answer depends on who I conceive God to be.   “Who do you say I AM?”  A benefactor who answers our petitions? Continue reading