Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2013

 Prayer and the Word are the two essential elements for spiritual growth in the New Year. In that regard, I present the following article on prayer that I pray will incite my readers to go deeper into the Word of God and prayer.
 
Your brother in Christ … Bartimaeus
 
Regarding the Modalities of Prayer
(excerpted from “Thy Kingdom Come” a book on the personal reflections of Jorge Madrid Sr., Posted with the author’s assent)
The Essence of Prayer is in Personal Dialogue with God

The Essence of Prayer is in Personal Dialogue with God

Why Prayer is Essential

Prayer is the most essential component of a Christian’s spiritual life after conversion because it is prayer that enables a personal communion and dialogue with the Divine Mystery and from that interaction we derive the spiritual energy needed to grow spiritually. No relationship can function or grow without a person-to-person interaction or dialogue. This is especially true of the relationship we have to the Father through Jesus His son. However, because of our own limited understanding and experience of what is meant by “prayer”, we limit the capacity of our prayer life  and correspondingly our capacity to develop the intimate personal relationship the Lord  desires of us.

Although the religious environment in which we are raised provides us with our initial exposure and training in prayer, it also tends to limit us because the teaching of prayer is constrained by the cultural and self-imposed limitations on the teachers themselves, be they parents or ministers. The limitations are understandable from the standpoint that we all are conditioned by our culture to specific worldviews regarding the human experience and how we are to relate to God. Our religious conditioning is no exception. If we are exposed only to verbal prayer in our families and churches to the detriment of non-verbal or silent modes of prayer then breaking out of that conditioning will require some degree of prayer and effort on our part and some competent direction on the part of our pastors.  One of the reasons silent or mental prayer (contemplation or meditation) is not emphasized in some bible-oriented religious traditions is that there is not a clear example of this type of prayer in the scriptures. Since we are not given any insight as to how Jesus prayed when he went off to be alone with the Father we only assume that he prayed verbally in the same manner as he prayed in public or with his disciples,

Prayer and its Modalities

It is clear from scripture, however, that there are different modes of prayer, depending on the nature of the circumstances which impel our prayer. Communal or group prayers by their very nature need to be verbal while personal prayers are not limited to the verbal mode. We are so conditioned by our communal prayers that we think the Lord can hear us only if we express ourselves in words.  Just as when we use words there is a  distinction between our prayers of petition, intercession, thanksgiving, praise, dedication so also our intimate prayers when we focus only on our relationship with the Father have distinct modes of silent expression. Jesus said that this latter type of prayer (meditation) we are to do in our “closets” in private. I think we may safely assume that since God knows our hearts intimately this type of prayer need not be verbal at all. In fact, as we grow in our intimate relationship with the Lord, words may actually get in the way and a silent contemplation or meditation provides a more ample channel of communication between our spirits and the Lord of Glory. For this reason when we pray it is best to have separate times for our verbal prayers and our more intimate personal dialogues with the Lord (yes, we can have dialogues with Him, especially in times of silent prayer)

Another of the limiting concepts we have of prayer is that we incorrectly assume that its main intent is for us to communicate our needs to the Father so that he can intervene to help us in our time of need. Without diminishing the importance and validity of that type of prayer, we must understand that the Lord already knows our  needs. While Jesus has told us to “ask and you will receive”, what the Father primarily yearns for is a personal relationship with us from which our worship will spring. Our dilemma is that, even when we are aware of this, we find it difficult to enter into intimate one–on-one prayer with the Lord because, as soon as we enter into prayer, our mind begins to bring up our list of needs that has been constantly running through our minds.

This reaction on our part, reminds me of our little granddaughter who lives with her parents in a city very distant from us. We usually phone them each week to see how they are and to share briefly in the events in  their lives. On one occasion my wife them called to discuss arrangements we were making to visit them. Suddenly, our daughter interrupted what she was telling my wife to announce that our three year old granddaughter wanted to speak with her.  My wife immediately greeted our grand daughter and began to tell her about how excited we were in anticipation of our visit. The three year old responded with a stream of excited baby-talk which Laura could hardly understand. When she asked our daughter what she was so excited about, she told her that our grand daughter was trying to tell grandma what she wanted for her next birthday. Our proposed visit was not so much the cusp of her excitement as was the gift she wanted to receive.

For us as grandparents we were thrilled that our granddaughter was aware that grandma and grandpa were the source of some of her most beloved gifts. We in turn are blessed in giving her the gifts she desires because it enhances our relationship with her. We know that when the emotion of the moment passes, the intangible bond of relationship will have been enhanced and strengthened so that as she grows she will relate to us in terms of her relationship and not for what she can receive from us.

What Our Initial Approach to Prayer Should Be Like

The Lord similarly, loves to listen and respond to our prayers for His help in our lives, but his ultimate desire is that as we grow spiritually we will begin to relate to Him personally  for who He is and not just for the answered prayers and gifts he continuously provides.  We need to value His person more for who He is than for what He provides.

Praying In the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit

What we need to do when entering our intimate prayer state is to begin with praise and worship, preferably praying in the spirit, then after spending  a quiet time meditating on His Person and His Presence, we quietly slip into quality time with our Father sometimes without even uttering a vocal prayer but merely contemplating the beauty of the Lord! Then, just as Jesus said, “Seek to give yourself totally to the Father so that His will may be manifested in you and through you; and all the things that you thought were so  important will be added unto you without your even asking”[1].

Of course, there will always be needs or circumstances where we need to ask the Father to come to our assistance. However we will find that our prayers of petition come more naturally if we come before Him from the position of our on-going relationship rather than from a “what’s-in-it-for-me” approach. In fact you will find that as your dialogue with our Heavenly Parent improves He will ask you or suggest the things for which you should pray. It is from this standpoint that we should approach experimenting with the various modalities of prayer. As our intimacy with the Lord grows we will also come to understand more clearly His will for us. This in turn will help us when we pray in intercession or petition because now when we pray we will be praying in HIS will. His Word tells us in general His will for us but it is through intimacy with Him that He reveals His will for specific circumstances in our lives.

My Witness Regarding Prayer

I must admit, for most of my life I was not a praying person so the Holy Spirit really had to work on me regarding prayer. Even now I consider myself only a raw novice when it comes to prayer. Prior to the point of my spiritual revitalization, the term “prayer” only meant to me repeating a scripted or memorized prayer and directing it heavenward. Although, I was aware of other forms of prayer, I had never had the incitement to attempt anything beyond the routine prayers that I recited at either liturgical functions or at desperate moments in my life.

But when I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit all of this changed. Suddenly I became so hungry for God and His Word I  literally “devoured’ the scriptures for almost a year. At the same time my prayer life was jump-started by God’s grace so that the mere recitation of scripted or memorized prayers no longer satisfied the thirst I had for intimacy with My Father in Heaven. Once I had tasted of the Lord, I could not find enough ways to satisfy my thirst for Him and His Presence.

It was only after my spiritual awareness was activated that I began to see that prayer is not so much what you do, or say or think but a giving of our very self to God through our spirits. That means that by investing all that we  do with a spiritual motive everything in our lives can be turned into prayer and so the modalities and depth of prayer may be as varying as the colors of the rainbow. In this way every prayer no matter how simple is heard by God as long as it is the sincere, humble, and loving cry of our hearts (spirits) as we approach the Lord’s throne truly seeking His Face.

Entering Into Intimate Prayer and Moving in the Distinct Modalities

If one wishes to progress in intimate one-on-one prayer there is one key principle to remember: purity of motive.  Jesus in giving his disciples the principles of the Kingdom said, “Blessed are the pure in spirit[2] for they shall see God”[3].  For me this meant that the primary driving motive for intimate prayer must first be a sincere desire to Glorify God by unreservedly giving myself totally to Him, especially during our times of intimate communion. I found that when I came to Him in this type of prayer with tainted or ulterior motives, my time with Him was not spiritually satisfying.

We should not enter our intimate prayer time motivated by what we expect to gain from prayer, even spiritually. If we enter prayer merely to  enhance our spiritual experiences, we are attempting to come before the throne of God with tainted motives. When we come before the Deity, we come as we are: broken, repentant sinners washed in the Blood of Jesus with no merit of our own, only our desire to “present (y)our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is (y)our spiritual worship”[4]

            If one keeps this principle in mind, the modality of prayer, although important in itself, is secondary. The modality of the moment should be the one with which the Holy Spirit is leading you to enter at a particular time and place. If you follow the Spirit’s leading you will be in the will of God and if your motives are pure you will enter before His Throne. Notice that I use the term “modality” rather than “method”. This is because, although methods of prayer can be helpful at first, they can quickly become a hindrance because we become bound to them out of habit and thus lose the freedom to respond to the Spirit as He would lead us. The Holy Spirit does not minister to us with regard to any method to which we might resort. Rather he ministers to us out of our freedom, our willingness to move wherever and however He is leading us. The term “Modality” speaks more of an entry approach to prayer which leaves us free to move in any direction the Spirit chooses.

The modality of prayer we choose is something we as humans need to get ourselves out of our “selves” and flowing into our “spirits”. Thus the modality we use is usually relative to the circumstances out of which our prayer arises. However, once the “pump” of our spirits have been primed to the flow of the Holy Spirit we need to let our prayer be guided by Him and not by any particular “method” of prayer.

As I have mentioned before, silent contemplation before the Presence is itself a prayer and almost certainly the purest form of prayer. But such a modality of prayer comes as a gift from God and usually comes only after we have nurtured our relationship with Him in the various modalities of prayer we have been introduced to through our religious upbringing, namely the various forms of mental and vocal prayer. Being a novice at prayer I certainly am not qualified to comment on such modes of prayer as : Centering Prayer, Lectio Divinae, The Labyrinth,  or The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. There are many excellent references regarding these which I will not mention here because they are so numerous. I have listed some of them in the bibliography.

My intent in the next section is merely to reflect on some of my experiences with personal modalities of prayer that had a lasting impact on  my own prayer life.  I hope, through this testimony, to show how the Holy Spirit working through our yielded human spirit, melds and blends the various modes of our prayers, however simple, into a harmonious spiritual symphony before the Lord. A spiritual symphony that produces fruit to His Glory! Praised be His Holy Name!

Copyright © 2008 Madrid Family Living Trust

(Note by Bartimaeus: the section referred to by the author will be presented in another posting on this website. Please consider this as merely an introduction explaining what the author considers as “the Modalities of Prayer”)


[1] My own paraphrase of the citation from Matthew 6:33

[2] All of man’s motives flow from his spirit

[3] Matthew 5;3

[4] Romans 12:1

___________________________________

Strongly Related Links – Please Read!

Praying as Jesus Prayed (Part 1)

Praying as Jesus Prayed (Part 2)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Jesus said,” I am … the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16), The Daystar that signals the Dawn of the Kingdom of God.
This is the season when we celebrate  the  arrival of the Daystar,  the Dawn of a New Day  for humanity is upon us!

Christ the Morning Star

The Daystar Rises

It is Time! Awaken and Put on the Lord Jesus Christ!

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~
“Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
(Rom. 13:11-14)

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Our preparation for Christmas is not indulging in orgies, promiscuity and lust but in preparing our hearts, our temples to receive, the presence of the Holy One of Israel, the Only Begotten of the Father, Yeshua HaMashiach, His anointed Redeemer.

The Daystar is Born

The Daystar is Born

With this in mind, let us extend, in our spirits, St. Paul’s exhortation to the Romans, as cited above, for it is as valid for us now, as it was for them in ancient times. The tendency for humans to revel in the flesh, is well evident in how we prepare to celebrate many of our feasts.  Take for example the “carnivals” (ie., festivals of the flesh) we hold prior to entering the lenten season and the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, and now, the type of fleshly feasts we promote as we enter the season of advent, Christmas and the coming New Year.

Whereas, in the traditions of the early church, Advent was intended to be a time of inner reflection and prayer, today it is a time to “let loose” do whatever pleases us!  Advent is not intended to promote self-condemnation, but instead,  to bring us into humble submission to the Holy Spirit so that He may work in us, to prepare to receive our KING and REDEEMER. Our preparation being an act of faith in the Knowledge of who He is and the Holiness of His Being. Our preparation is not in expectation that what we do will buy us anything in the hereafter, but, rather, as an opening of the door of our spirits to let him into our manger of our hearts so that He may be reborn therein.

It is this incentive to … “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh”, that ought to be our attitude as we enter into this Holy season.

Now, “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ”, demands action from us based on a decision driven by Faith. It is not just a passive, live and enjoy life attitude. It is an action that requires our commitment. It is an action that moves us to put aside all aspects of human sinful desires based on the “revelation” or “conviction” that we are indeed in such need of salvation that The Divine One, Himself, needs to come down to be one of us, and, through His Redemptive Suffering, take on all of our sins so that he can transform us and bring us into intimacy with His Holiness and His Love! And, that without this Gift Of Salvation, all humanity would be lost to the relationship with the Divine for which we were all created!

Human revelry, then, is quashed by this revelation or conviction … the revelation that the Day of salvation is at hand, the day when the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lamb of God who is the bearer of our sins, is born of the Virgin Mary, becoming one of us, but without sin so that, as the unblemished Lamb of God He may bear all of our sins, past, present, and future so that we may be reborn as children of the Father and truly become “His brothers and sisters”.

In investing ourselves in Christ we need to use as our model the discipleship of Mary who gave herself, body, soul, and Spirit in obedience to the Word of the Lord as to her calling.  As we pray our prayer of commitment (see below) let Mary’s words to the Lord’s Angel resound in our hearts: ” I am the bondservant of the Lord be it done to me according to Thy Word” (Luke 1:38).

You do well to be attentive to [the prophetic message] as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the day star rises in your hearts” (Second Peter 1:19).

May His Star awaken you and May the Spirit of the Lord Come upon you all to instill His Word in your Heart so that you also may bear the living Christ within for His Glory! Praised be His Holy Name!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

Lord Jesus, I believe that you, the Son of the Living God came down from heaven to reveal the Father’s Love to me by suffering and dying for my sins. I believe that through your death and resurrection you have brought redemption and life not only to me but also all else who believe in you. I further believe that it is only through knowing you in a loving personal relationship that I can know the Father.

It is because I have a burning desire to know you and abide in you that I now yield myself completely to you and your love. I open the door to my heart so you can come in and sup with me and thus begin the special relationship with you for which you died and for which I hunger.At this moment I yield myself to your love. Enter in and activate my spirit with your Holy Spirit so that I can go beyond just mere intellectual belief in you to a personal spiritual knowledge of you and the Father.

I yoke myself to You Lord, cleanse me from my sins and make me a fit vessel for your presence. Permeate my entire being with your life and your love so that I can truly be your instrument in this world. Be my Lord, Be My God, Be my King to rule and to reign in me. In faith and by your grace I receive You and I receive Your word.

Abide in me just as you abide in the Father and the Father in you! Thank you for giving yourself for me. Amen!

  ~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

Recommended Link(s):

Sweet Yoke Of Love

Overcoming the World

Understanding The Kingdom

Yielding to the Kingdom Anointing

The Kingdom Of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

The Empowerment Gifts That Manifest The Kingdom Amongst us
(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2013])

Read Full Post »