.This message has been edited. Last edited by: KristiMarie,
I think it's likely you already know the answers to these questions, if you've been thinking about them much. I wonder, if you look back on the hours after reading the letter, if you might be able to objectively reconstruct the feelings that colored your thoughts about the person asking for help. Sometimes when people describe a problem and ask for help with it, as you know, they're simply looking for someone to make a connection with, more than they're looking for a solution to their described problem. I think that it's easy for us to play into that out of our own brokenness, while telling ourselves that we're rightly expressing compassion for some poor soul in need of help.
I think that you're right in it's partially a matter of discernment... discerning the true intent and need of the person asking for help, and discerning our true intent with desiring to provide said help. This will help us determine what to pray for and how. And if we honestly conclude that we cannot draw conclusions about either issue, then it becomes a much easier matter to let go of it and give it to God, which in our ignorance and humility should bring about a much more efficacious result, anyway.
In this type of situation, where you're able to remove your own needs and desires from the picture, you become better able to truly give, because you're not trying to take with the other hand. And with God, the good news is that the more you give, the more you receive
So, based on what I read of what you wrote ---
1. An acquaintance, aware of substantial healing going on in your life (i.e. God has been, and is, aiding you and healing you and working in substantial ways to your good in your life), was inspired to solicit you for intercessory prayer! (Hoping that whatever you and your relationship with God is effectively realizing or bringing about for you, might bring about for them). This means that your witness of the activity of God in your life is visible to others – was to this individual surely.
2. You prayed for them therefore -- in consequence of and in response to their request.
3. As a result, you later received confirmation that your prayer had some effect – a beneficial effect, because they felt moved and loved by you.
Sounds fine to me. Sounds right to me.
Jesus, scripture tells us, intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father. As a Christian you are a member of His Mystical Body. You participate in His life and He participates in yours. He intercedes and so too do you as part of Him, and being of His body, also intercede. His activity and your activity together, His suffering and your suffering, together work towards the evolving salvation of mankind; both, are part of the economy of salvation. You make a difference. Your prayer participation makes a difference. St. Paul wrote that his sufferings made up for what was lacking in the suffering of Christ. So too do yours, do ours. We participate. It is by our participation that we too, do and will, share in the glory of God.
( I kind of conceptualize it all as follows – but don’t take this as Gospel – just Pop-popian methinking: in childbirth, the head is the most difficult part of the delivery process. The remainder of the body in delivery is difficult, but really not that tough once the head has been passed. The Head of the Mystical Body (Jesus) has passed through death and resurrection and has opened the womb of salvation. We are following and in time, in the fullness of time, the revealing of the sons and daughters of God will be fully accomplished). Recall that in speaking of His second coming, Christ spoke of labor pains.
The Holy Spirit of love moving in your life moves inspirationally in others’ lives as a consequence of your witness, whether you are aware of His effect in others -- or not aware. He inspires those around you to sometimes involve you in their healing, and / or in finding faith in Jesus -- through the faith you are growing in and which others see. The Holy Spirit was at work in your acquaintance and in you in your praying.
Does this mean you have some great healing gift? Not necessarily. Does this mean you have a special unique intercessory gift? Not necessarily. Does this mean that the Holy Spirit dwells in you and as such will (for His purposes and when He intends) act in you and through you? Certainly! And He delights in so doing! But realize that What He does -- HE does.
As a wise Christian endeavor to be careful to not take pride in what your prayer participation brings about, because in the end He was the inspirer and He was the power. Nevertheless, while not getting too self-focused, DO take to heart that He really does love you and IS operating in your life and the lives of others and that YOU do play a real role in it all. AND that He is pleased when you act in love for LOVE’s ends. “He who abides in love abides in God and God in Him.”
Remember too, that when the 70 disciples came back rejoicing in the healings and deliverances they had effected in His name and authority, Jesus reminded them that the real basis for rejoicing had not so much to do with what the Spirit had done through their actions, through their participation really in the Spirit’s action and power -- but rather in the fact that they were LOVED by GOD – to rejoice that their names were written in heaven…… We are much more than servants! You are and will be more to Him than a means to His ends. You, He, in fact – CARES FOR! Period.
The fact that in the initial email your acquaintance expressed concern for you in your not being dragged down, methinks is just normal human consideration for your time and their not wanting in any way to be an undue burden in any way. This does not imply that the Holy Spirit wasn’t in play. We do take up His yoke and we sometimes indeed suffer in the service of love. I wouldn’t get wrapped around any axles of doubt or introspection in that regard. We will be imperfect in our actions until He makes us otherwise.
Jesus said, ‘He who brings himself to nought for Me discovers who he is’. If He will be working in you in specific and unique healing ways, or in special and predominantly intercessory ways will be revealed in time. Que sera, sera -- as the song says. Best to leave that for the future and live Here Now in Love as Phil’s book sets forth.
It is true nevertheless that often enough, those who have experienced the healing of intense hurts as you were victimized by, become very effective wounded healers.
The Lord says to us all: ‘Come follow Me’. As we do, He and the H.S. take care of working everything out. For now, learn the reality of God’s love for you and the art of being loved by God.
Side step whether or not you have a superabundance of anything. Only God has superabundance. Don’t be concerned about energy transfers and understanding all that. God will supply your every need.
Re: whether you were praying by your own self, will, and power? Yes, all of those -- and the Holy Spirit’s as well! You only have one self to get through life with, and that self has a free will (which you exercised in loving and praying to the best of your ability; per Popeye – I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam!). If God needs you to be more than you are He will fix that so it comes about. Meantime, you brought your 5 loaves and 2 fish and his Spirit takes care of the multiplication as He sees fit.
As for power, your will is your greatest power. You exercised it via your prayer. One must leave the results to God. The power to heal is always His anyway. Without Him we can do nothing. Hey, Jesus said the Son can only do what He sees the Father doing.
One mystic said: “I am but a hole in the flute that the Spirit blows through, listen to the music”.
Those are my dibs.
ya know kristi.. it just might be. i recall a time years ago when my friend and i sat up all night praying one rosary after another one one divine mercy after another for the souls who were doing intense evil ( it was either Beltane or Halloween night) and this same thing happened to me.. looking back i would have said ' energy in the head'.. but today i would say no to that.. as this was quite different.. i would describe as you suggest more like angel wings.
oh i know some may say' way out'.. but i don't! i think it could definitely have been for you
like you... off to mass here in a few.. and, happy mothers day!
Interesting about the ears.
In general energy seems to accumulate in the head during prayer when one's intention is focused on devotion and surrender to God, waiting on divine aid. This at least happens for me, but I also tend to mentally "lean in" and direct my attention upward "toward heaven" when relating to God as outside of myself.
As an aside, in certain traditions of Jewish mysticism, the right ear is associated with selflessness, or the recognition that everything we have is God's, and thus when we give we are participating in God's giving. And the left ear is associated with actualizing potential, or in other words recognition of God's ability to bring spiritual realities into physical manifestation. We shouldn't take these types of associations too seriously as they can become an intellectual distraction, but I thought it was fitting to bring up given the nature of both of your prayers when experiencing ear sensations.
PS I've also been experiencing "ear sensations" stronger than usual. In fact, up until a few days ago, I can't remember ever feeling energy moving in my ears, but after the "k" movements started my ears (especially the left) became very busy with energy.
you wrote: ...How can I be "me," the individuality I was born/created to be, if I am also trying to be the Body of Christ?...
I have already lost my life. I was born into nothing/nobody/no-one...and have lived all of my life this way. I have been giving and sacrificing all of my life. It is precisely because of my emptiness that I was open to the extraordinary. Now,I become normal. Now,carrying my cross means bringing "me" into being. I cannot shoulder another. And I am closing the doors of all of that openness. It is the only way I will ever be "me," an "individual." I must and will live safe and guarded.
This makes a lot of sense to me, some deep wisdom has been revealed to you. I thank God for that. I’m glad to hear you say that you “must live safe and guarded.”
I feel happy just hearing you say those words...safe and guarded. I feel like this is when my spiritual director would say, “Ah...now this is the footprint of the Holy Spirit...clear and simple.” Cutting through all the chaos feels good, doesn’t it?
In time, you will find your grove of how/when to pray for others. Now, the need is about safety and knowing that you don’t need to justify yourself as a good person.
There's a HUGE difference between praying for someone from a place of codependency and praying for someone from a place of compassion and love. When a Christian feels agape for another human being and expresses that love via prayer to God on their behalf, they become closer to God by resembling him more and more, i.e. as a vessel for love manifesting itself. IMO putting people who pray for others into some negative social category is simply evidence that you're having trouble looking beyond your own self(with a little s)-projections. Honestly it's a very sad thing for someone to say.
Jesus indeed came to set people free, and an amazing freedom comes from giving of yourself in faith that God will be your resource. It's when we think that we are our own resource, our own source of strength, that we become prisoners of our own limitations.
That said, as spiritual growth takes place in stages, before we are able to sacrifice ourselves with Christ, we must first completely own ourselves. Otherwise, we are attempting to give something that does not belong to us, and this is futile. When coming from a place of woundedness, there typically (in my experience) will be a phase of "hardening," where we detach ourselves from the old influences and emotional ties that have whipped us around and brought us pain, in an effort to build up a sense of self and independence, an image we can relate to as a defense against hurt. And while every stage of spiritual growth tends to appear like it's all there is, it is only a stage, and eventually we fill up those limits we've imposed on ourselves.
About the prayers, a lot of Catholic prayers do tend to appear overly scrupulous, but if we're honest with ourselves, how could we evaluate ourselves as anything of importance when standing next to the holiness of God?
Sorry, Paul, but I reject your calling mine (what I have written) a sad state. You don't know me to wager such an opinion.
wow.. I totally disagree. but please hear, when i was your age (20 years ago), i was coming from a very similar place as you within my process of healing.. I too felt that way.
You are correct that salvation is not through works (prayer or otherwise), but in a very real sense we are sacrifical lambs because Christ is a sacrificial Lamb and He lives within us...
Jesus said, "take up your cross and follow me"...
Paul wrote that he was a slave for Christ.. (servant of Christ)..
The natural man cannot ever understand this. The egoic/natural man, by its inherent nature, does not want to die. Yet dying to self is the only way to Life. And that Life, when deeply received, through grace, cannot help but be given away to others in a spirit of joy and great peace, as then you know there IS nothing else, nothing of any real substance.
To die to self... then and only then can we be empty enough to be true vessels of His mercy. Only then can we understand that the nature of intercessory prayer comes through us, we 'do nothing'. To be honest, today I view intercessory prayer as God's hunger and thirst to reach all mankind through us. We ARE his Body! This has NOTHING to do with a little 'me', with an agenda, trying to get something from God. It is actually the grace of the Holy Spirit that prays through us, the great mercy of God calling and drawing all mankind to Himself. A mystery we cannot understand. It is pure grace to participate In Christ.
To the contrary of your statement that it is an attempt to justify their "salvation"/goodness, it is rather people who are filled up to the brim, yet paradoxically emptied by grace and dead to self, that the Spirit of God moves through. They experience not only crucifixion but also resurrection. We are then given the honor out of Joy to meet others on the road to Emmaus where we see His face in all. Because it is He through us that sees and draws us near to Him.
There was once that I felt exactly like you do about what i perceived in those prayer books as self-judgment, self-punishment, self-abuse. I thought it was spaced out and old school....and i assure you i had a real aversion to it.
But I don't think that many of the ancient saints who wrote these kinds of prayers experienced them that way. Rather, finding themselves naked in the Presence of God, they experienced such an overwhelming sense of awe and transcendence, that it couldn't help but find expression in comparison to their own humbleness and nothingness, because next to God, what am I? And yet it's not just an expression of the realization of their own utter insignificance, as a negative thing, but also an expression of hope because that awesome, fearsome, all-transcending Presence is also the God of Mercy, Hope, and Love. My experience is that in intercessory prayer we are also called to this wonder and awe, and want nothing less than for the whole world to know it. It becomes the all consuming passion of one's existence.
What i know today is that the only way to experience God in oneself as perfect peace, joy and love is through the death of self, death of the egoic nature, of the natural man. The natural man views this as a dirge and rather unkindly (I know I did). I simply could not hear it! It made NO sense to me. I thought it meant being a door mat, and that it would drain me of energy... but then grace opened my eyes, not really all at once but gradually.
That is the secret to happiness. A living presence in Christ is the ego's death and the rise of the fullness of Christ within us. The mystics knew this, most nuns and priests know this. That is why they head off to monasteries and the desert fathers left the world behind and headed out into the wilderness. They were called to die to self. It might be said that this level of intimacy and call to intercessory prayer is only for those who live in Cloister, but i sincerely believe within my heart, that all Christians are called to this consecration because we are called to die to self and live within His Holy Presence.....which, the very nature of Christ is to serve..
Here is a wonderful web site that speaks of intercessory prayer biblically,, i thought it was fairly good if you are interested
I wanted to share. My hope is that it gives another perspective. I know you are in a deep healing process and God's hand is upon you. I am not suggesting you should be in any other place than within that healing process.. I just wanted to share from a different perspective.
I appreciate your sharing your perspective, Christine. Know also that I am very fine with where I am at.
As Christine and Paul wrote above, as we draw closer to the Holy God, we do get painful glimpses of how profoundly sick/broken we are and how much we need to Christ to transforms us into a New Creation.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that we’re talking about two different ‘levels’ of the broken/ sin-filled person. And these are getting conflated in with Kristi's concerns in this dialogue, I’m afraid.
One level is the ego and the other is the deeper soul.
At the level of the ego, little “me”, “natural man,” etc. we do need to worry about boundaries, both psychological and spiritual/energy issues. At this level, we stop to consider if our praying for others is out of love, moved by the Holy Spirit or whether it is soulish, motivated by one of the 1000 different ways we are neurotic. All of us. We all have to grow in discerning how/ when/ for whom to pray as we want to be purified of the neurotic/soulish threads that may interfere with God’s Will.
For instance, a mother, out of a fierce love for her son may pray that he stop dating his gf because she goes to the wrong church. Or she may pray that he become a priest because this is what she thinks is best for him, etc. We’ve had discussion of this elsewhere at SP.
Sometimes (not necessarily true for all, Christine ) we pray for others in a compulsive way in an attempt to bind our anxiety about their suffering or something we don't like, etc. I’m sure God won’t punish us for acting out of fear/anxiety, but let’s consider if our prayers are God-led or wish-fulfillment, or a mixture of both. Sometimes, we just don't see clearly and need the help of a more mature person to help us discern.
I see people praying for others out of a “rescue fantasy,” the primitive notion that we have power to save / control others *when in fact we don’t.* This is a problem in the mental health professions and healing ministries. IOW, our fantasies of omnipotence actually impede God's omnipotence.
At this broken ego level, we have to grapple with how to respond when somebody asks us to pray for them. Do we say yes to every prayer request? Some do, and I am not suggesting that is always ungodly, as some are truly graced to pray this way. Some people ask me to pray for things that feel off somewhat. Sometimes, I’m asked to pray for something that seems good, holy, godly, but I don’t have a sense from God that this is my ‘territory,’ so to speak. An apple tree cannot bear figs.
Furthermore, there’s the issue of energy. Our thoughts and especially our soulish prayers are infused with energy, just ordinary spiritual energy. That energy is easily sent to another in the form of prayer. I don’t thing that is a good thing. If you want to do ‘white magic,‘ that’s it, and it will work. And you may think God answered it, but it was your own personal energy or some other spirit. If one is energetically sensitive, as Kristi is, they are more prone to feeling the impact of such thought/energy exchanges. This kind of energy sensitivity is a vulnerability and needs to be respected as such, without undue scrupulosity. Like getting a massage and feeling the person’s energy in your body the next day. We talked about that.
So I encourage people who are especially energy sensitive to guard their boundaries with respect to their prayer life. That said, I’m sure God honors all of our good intentions, but growth means being more discerning of impure motives mixed in with pure ones.
Now, the soul level of our brokenness is another matter, which is harder to see than the ego sickness. Seeing this wretchedness is accomplished by Grace alone, I believe, because we can’t see it with our natural insight/ intelligence. This deeper level of our sinfulness is what the Catholic prayers are talking about, imo. No amount of psychotherapy or kundalini purification can fix this brokenness--it’s the focal point of our eternal separation from God. Recognizing our great distance from God, IOW, sin as in ‘missing the mark’ of holiness, is not (merely) a slam against our egos. It's not that personal, really.
The way we're broken deep inside can only be healed by God, whereas our ego brokenness is more accessible to natural means of healing. But we need fairly strong egos, good enough egos perhaps, to see our wretchedness and not confuse one for the other. (BTW, I wonder if some people use their soul wretchedness as an excuse not to get ego healing. I hear people say things like "We're all sinners anyway, so what's the use in getting therapy? Others will go after ego healing in hopes that that will cure their soul wretchedness.)
Hope that helps...and not makes things worse!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
Shasha and Kristi.. pretty insightful posts.. thank you.
Shasha, i truly appreciate your insights...excellent post.
kristi, as always, your honesty touches me. To be sure , i did not feel you were speaking of anyone on this forum.. the bit i know of you , you have a fine heart..
the response i gave in my post to you was about intercession as i know it..
Shasha's comments on her post really brought clarity...i failed to see this and failed to respond to your post with sensitivity.. please forgive me.
i am to pooped to write tonight.. actually i have been extremely tired the past few days....
but i wanted to say 'thank you' to both of you for your candid and insightful posts..
this is very much how i see and experience prayer..
it goes back to the ' who am i to know who another is? and what their real need is' even if it seems obvious. we cannot know...
the little boy who i saw Jesus take home.. that experience of him when he sat on my lap and also at the point of his transition...by *grace* i was allowed to see him as Jesus saw him..this was NOTHING like how i saw or experienced him within ordinary eyes / thru my self identifications and conditioning, not even in the same ball park...
from this i learned we cannot in anyway see another , so one cannot know what to pray for, specifically for another, other than in generalities... with the heart of God moving thru us.. it is not we who pray, it is God in ans through us. This is hidden from the intellect... for that matter even the emotions....
i liked what shasha wrote about soulish...
soulish praying is.. any form of self identification within the prayer for self or other...
many times i get prayer requests from people wanting something. sometimes i am in a situation where i am praying with others and they are very much into praying specifically for something for someone else...
i look back to the years when i prayed this way.... i meant well ( most people do) but i discovered as much as i meant well, it was very much ego based.. not Christ based or based in authentic compassion for another...why? because there was a me attached to the prayer.
good Lord.. i remember a few times in particular..( among the many)
one was right after my hands lit up and my heart was on fire.. i was so 'in love' with Jesus, i was floating around touching everyone who stepped into my path..( literally) like i was the only one this happened too! like i was the only one Jesus worked through on earth . oh.. my. LOL!!!
i remember in particular my poor grandma.. i was always sweeping down upon her in egoic yuck, touching her and praying for this and that, all in grand gesture. she would look at me with those soft gentle eyes, lovingly.. in resignation. Bless her! Yes, i meant well, i loved my grandma and i REALLY believed ( entirely unconsciously) that i was 'doing something' for her out of love...i not only did this for her.. i also did this for every tom, dick and harry who came knocking at my door. and in prideful satisfaction could sense and feel the energies of God moving within me oh dear.
personally, i view this as not to far off from many of my friends who spend most of their lives throwing energy back and forth at each other..and thinking they are the healer.
it is soulish in nature..
as you say... ' in which case all we may be doing is projecting our own issues, beliefs, neuroses onto another...[/quote]
it was not until God brought a couple of wise priests into my life who helped me with this.. actually, i did not perceive them as being very nice at the time...it took me over two years to 'get' the grace given from the first priest who downright told me i was full of myself.. as he told me i was self absorbed and that it stood in the way of genuine praying..
the second priest was more direct.. i was going on and on about this and that, about how i wanted union with God more than anything and how i 'prayed a lot' for others... he looked me right in the eye and almost coldly said, "I am not interested in furthering your identification with your preoccupation with your sense of self, if you are sincere in wanting union with God and becoming a vessel of Christ's mercy, then KNOW... "you' are not the pray-er.. You want union with God? BE NOTHING, be less than dirt... there is not enough room for 'both' of you in the Holy of Holies. "
My first thought was, " Whatever could he mean?! DIRT??!! " I was so shocked , it felt like he threw cold water in my face.. i began to laugh.. and well that was that! it was like a swift kick out of the ball park and . my eyes opened.
i am not the pray-er.. i am not the doer.. and if i think i am.. well i am sadly mistaken.
today i pray always for Gods will.. and before i pray for Gods will, i pray/ to be honest, 9almost beg), there isn't any 'me' within the prayer request! for that matter in life... pray for the grace to remain in continual remembrance of God.. which quite honestly i still do rather poorly... which i am beginning to connect more and more with real prayer and real life. .. the two go together and are backed up by scripture.. 'pray unceasingly.'
this has come slowly.. as i am not dead yet.. but i see and at touch at times , the pure essence of being in Christ.. emptiness, silence, peace joy, with no self in the equation. an authentic compassion arises from this place of being.. more openness and presence without the baggage of self interest, self projection , self anything.. grace flows, and flows, like that old song.. " there's a river of life flowing out of me"... and it has nothing to do with.. me.
kenosis. or self emptying...theosis never concerns becoming like God in essence or being, which is pantheism; instead, it concerns becoming united to God by grace,. Kenosis is a paradox and a mystery since "emptying oneself" in fact fills the person with divine grace and results in union with God...it is the only way to peace and authentic prayer.
herein lies the grace of true prayer...
no self agenda to pray for others, only God within us that prays ..
hey Kristi.. glad it helped.. if it helps at all, we are all being called to identify and work through our soulishness..all of us stand in need of and are called to continued kenosis. ahhhhh, the grace of purification !
i woke up this morning at 2:30 A.M. pissy over a friend i viewed as not having pulled her share in household duties yesterday. we all have allergies in my household right now and dont feel good. i felt i carried most of the load yesterday....i woke up angry about it... justifying 'my rights' all over the place within my thoughts along with a big dose of self pity. i had to literally pull myself up out of bed and pray as i wanted to stick to my guns in self justification and anger. i came on and read your post on prayer after struggling with my own self absorption and bitchiness..
so you are far from alone in this.. seriously, i think many of us are going thru this at this time..
it is a great grace..Gods mercy is unbending.. thank God!
I certainly don't mean to do anything in the way of
DISCOURAGING prayer! I know you guys know that, but maybe there's more light we can shed on this important topic.
Somebody asked me about thought energy/ white magic, etc. All of my book sources are at my office, so I'd like to wait till next week to pull them out and further the discussion.
In the meantime, my cat also likes to curl up directly in front of my laptop!
Christine, I can so relate to your story of being on fire for praying for everybody in your path. I did much the same thing when I became Spirit-filled. Everybody was a target!
I think many who are called to pray, as in a kind of spiritual vocation [recognizing of course that all Christians are called to deep prayer], go through this initial stage. Later, we find we need to grow as WHOLE PEOPLE and gradually integrate the call to pray in more mature ways, learning how, when, where to pray, what is our 'style.' Prayer grows WITHIN character formation, not apart from it.
A few years back, Todd Bentley gather the attention of the world through the Lakeland, Florida revival. I went to be there personally and had a blast! One evening, I'll never forget something he said that was disturbing, but I didn't know quite why. Todd shared that people kept saying things like, "Todd, you have the attention of the world. Why are you preaching about miracles? Why don't you preach on holiness?!" He said, "I tell them because holiness is not my gift; healing is my gift." You get my point.
A few years later, the Lord said to me, "If you're going to pray in My Name, you need to know Who I am!" That's when I started to get it...This was a nudge to go deeper in knowing Him. It doesn't mean that all the praying I'd done before that was wrong or invalid, but there's further development of prayer life unto total abandonment and submission to God's Will. This admonition from God was maybe 3-4 years after I'd received a call to pray. But at the beginning, God encouraged my jumping in. I did see miracle healings, etc. which encouraged me to proceed and not worry about deeper union with Him, which is the true goal of Christian life. [Of course, it is right out of Holy scripture that Jesus tells us we must know Him because merely casting out demons in His Name is not enough, the latter perhaps being white magic].
In terms of the expression, "It's not about YOU!" when you pray, I'd say it's more complicated than that. Infused praying, like preaching, or teaching or any of the charisms I suppose, is a matter of cooperation, not displacement. (I learned that from Phil, sort of).
with much love to my dear sisters
(brothers, and of course, our cats)
ShashaThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
i agree it is a matter of co operation.. but what i have found is the ego cannot, by its very nature, cooperate..it thinks it does.. but my very best effort is like filthy rags before the throne of God.
the only real co-operation is done within the spirit...otherwise we pray from, what you say, a soulish place, (a place of human mind and emotions) which is what most do in the beginning of our walk with Him.
The great mercy of God is just that .. merciful.. beyond our comprehension. So God still uses our little loaves of bread and fishes when we pray for others , even though we may be more full of ourselves unintentionally and in ignorance, it has been my experience that God moves despite our clunkiness.
As the grace of God purifies us and perfects us in His image..( deification.) there is a sense of loss of self and an increase in compassion for others that is no longer linked to the personal sense of me.... most certainly a decided change in how we experience prayer . Truly this dying is a great grace and not to be mistaken for pantheism.
but rather..it is a union and a divinisation which occurs mystically and ineffably by the grace of God, after the stripping away of everything from here below which imprints itself on the mind..
this kind of co operation operate from a completely different place of being within..
the goal of life is to enter into the very life of God because God made that possible and invited us to do so.......we are to become more and more like Christ.. when this immersion occurs by grace.. the mix between He and I becomes less and less distinct yet this oneness... it feels like less of a me and more of Him...i do not experience this as displacement but rather a deeper level of co operation within the spirit because the smaller self is not as prominent..
I guess I haven't experienced what you describe as being totally ego-free when moved by God to pray. Or at least the sense that my ego is not capable of cooperating with my spirit to join with God's Spirit.
My ego often is not able, willing, enthused, but it can still intend, desire, long to cooperate. Maybe I've not matured yet enough to have the sense of no-ego that you seem to be describing. Or maybe I see my ego as becoming transformed and merged with God, part of the New Creation.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
I found this by Joyce Meyer and remembered that impulse I too felt years ago, "Lord teach me how to pray." Her thoughts touch on some of what we're sharing here. Of course, her discussion goes beyond the scope of "praying for OTHERS," but it still seems relevant to our sharing.
Her point number 1, however, is confusing to me as my mind, will, and emotions do, at times, feel at one with the Spirit, as I share above, so I don't fully separate these out as she seems to.
...I believe many people today are asking the same questions Jesus' disciples asked almost 2000 years ago: "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1).... The disciples went to Jesus as a group asking Him to teach them to pray, but as I made that same request as an individual, God answered me in a powerful way and brought wonderful improvements to my prayer life.
1) I have moved from praying panic-based, carnal, soulish prayers (prayers that come from a person's mind, will, or emotions) to praying Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, faith-based prayers.
2) I no longer focus primarily on prayers for my "outer life" (my circumstances, the activities I am involved in, the things that happen around me). I now pray for my inner life (the condition of my heart, my spiritual growth, my attitudes, and my motives). As God has taught me to pray, I have learned that my job is to pray to be strengthened internally and to ask Him to help me live out of a pure heart from the right motives; and His job is to take care of the externals.
3) I have gone from laboring and striving to pray for five minutes every few days to enjoying - and actually personally needing and wanting - beginning my day with prayer, then to praying throughout the day as things come to my heart, and finally ending my day communicating with the Lord as I fall asleep.
4)I have moved from a sporadic, irregular prayer life to regular times of prayer that are disciplined without being legalistic.
5) Where I once thought I was fulfilling an obligation to God by praying, I now realize that I absolutely cannot survive a day and be satisfied and content if I do not pray. I realize that prayer is a great privilege, not a duty.
6) I no longer approach God in fear, wondering if He will really hear me and send an answer to my prayers. I now approach Him boldly, as His Word teaches me to do, and with great expectation."
wonderful post on prayer Shasha.. seems pretty right on from my perspective and experience.
Shasha, it sounds like Joyce Meyer has moved into a more contemplative stance in her prayer. The six movements you list from her writing do not describe a congruent pattern, however, and so I assume it's meant to be more descriptive of her experience. In other words, these points are not contingent on one another, as I read them.
Re. #1, she describes moving from "panic-based, carnal, soulish prayers (prayers that come from a person's mind, will or emotions) to praying Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, faith-based prayers." That's a very positive development, but one wonders if what she calls "soulish prayers" need be "panic-based" or "carnal"? I don't think this need be the case at all. One can pray out of the mind, will and emotions for legitimate needs and concerns without being in a state of panic or carnal desire.
In #2, she describes a movement from outer concern to inner concern. That could be positive as well, but, again, there's nothing wrong with praying about concerns relating to the outer life. Excessive inner concern can even turn into a kind of spiritual narcissism if one is not careful.
Look at #4, too: a very positive movement. But must a "sporadic, irregular prayer life" be "legalistic?" There is something between where she started off and where she ended up.
Some contemplative writers maintain that in contemplative prayer, all of one's needs and petitions are taken care of without our need to express them. Fine again, if one is really in contemplation. Then, sure, let go and rest in God. In my experience, however, infused contemplation comes and goes, and it is good to pray actively when I'm not in contemplation, even if using a very simple gesture unto God. I've also found that praying for others deepens my sense of being in relationship with them and seems to help them at times; same goes for praying for "outer needs" -- some good seems to come of it.
I see what you mean. She's describing a general thrust toward incorporating more contemplative prayer. But as you note, there's a balance of inner AND outer, self AND others, personal/active AND infused contemplation that can be maintained. You describe well the coming and going of contemplation when one is kind of riding the wave of God's loving presence, no impulse to active prayer, but when that leaves, it's back to work-ish.
I like her #2 point, "As God has taught me to pray, I have learned that my job is to pray to be strengthened internally and to ask Him to help me live out of a pure heart from the right motives; and His job is to take care of the externals." I see a lot of people praying for externals WITHOUT consideration for the state of their heart. Matters of purity and right motivation are not regarded as important. So I see these--inner/outer-- not strictly on a continuum but more that inner matters are foundational upon which 'external' praying is built. Of course, the narcissism issue is another pitfall.
BTW, I don't follow your issue with #4. She's not pitting legalistic against sporadic, she's pitting a legalistic against disciplined pattern of praying....right?
Yes, I see what you mean. I'd misread that part.
In his post of 22 May 8:04 PM, Phil wrote in reference to a statement by Joyce Meyer:
“One can pray out of the mind, will and emotions for legitimate needs and concerns without being in a state of panic or carnal desire”.
Shasha also, stated her disagreement with Joyce Meyer on her point 1.), and that she (Shasha) prays with her mind will and emotions and feels in tune with the Spirit as contrary to where Joyce Meyer considered such praying with one’s emotions as carnal and soulish.
Yes! As this scripture reference from Hebrews 5:7 informs us: “In the days He was in the flesh he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to God”. Our emotions can and do serve us, and can WELL serve our intercessory praying. There’s nothing in human emotions that we should despise. Emotions are human attributes and not negative in themselves. Evidently Christ, as the scripture above states, utilized the full spectrum of His humanity when He interceded. So too, can we. Carnal is a misapplied and unnecessary label to broad brush and smear human emotions. (Carnal accuses – and the accuser might just have a tail). There’s nothing wrong with being fully human – and in taking the fullness of our humanity with us in praying to the Father.
Hey, I even read that Christ sweated blood in the course of His praying one night – how carnal is that?
Soulish is no better and maybe even worse than carnal as far as labels go. (imo).
Recall too, that Jesus was saddened and wept prior to His calling out to Lazarus.
Absence of emotion is not an indicator of being ‘spirit-filled’.
p.s. (And God made body fluids too -- something else we need not be ashamed of or uncomfortable about.)
Now there's a "thought for the day."
When I read the #1 line, I didn't take it as all prayers involving the mind, will, and emotions are "carnal," but rather she went from prayers EMANATING from the mind, will, and emotions, to prayers emanating from the s/Spirit, which is something different. It's probably splitting hairs at this point, but I believe she was simply saying that some prayers are not led by Spirit and some are, and not that "spirit-filled" prayers do not involve emotions.
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