Pretty much the minute I clicked off of my last post, this idea came to me. Maybe my problem is that I don't know how to pray very well.
I used to be okay at saying the Rosary. I was decent at putting my kids down for a nap, going straight to my room, and getting the beads out. I would prayerfully recite the rosary, in return for what I believed would be a pay out from God in the form of extra long naps, or a good parking space at the grocery store. I always felt AMAZING afterward and I don't doubt that the quiet time was good for my soul, but I am not sure that is how I am supposed to pray.
Other times, I would get a prayer request email, and I would read it. Then I would quietly ask God right then to answer whatever prayer is being requested. Not a bad thing to do; but I am not sure that is quite right either.
I spend time reading my Bible occasionally, but I don't always know where to start reading. Sometimes I would read over the Gospel from the previous or upcoming Sunday, hoping maybe to get something new from it. Or I would actually do the Homework for the Bible study I was participating in, and learn some new perspective on the scripture that I had never thought of before. These were great sometimes, but other times it was over my head, and not really sinking in.
Then other times I try laying in my bed imagining Jesus and I alone in a room and I just talk and then try to listen to what he is telling me. However, someone shared with me recently the verse Isaiah 53:2b, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him." It sort of ruined my image of Jesus.
I'll be honest, I don't believe for a second that Jesus was ugly. In my head he is HOT HOT HOT. Like a dark middle eastern rugged hot. I just googled that and found this picture. Yes, this is what I imagine Jesus to have looked like. Is that wrong?!?!? (Wouldn't you want to spend every second with a guy that looked like this???) Okay okay, whew! Is it hot in here? Clearly my prayer life needs to change a little.
Now that I have completely caused most of you to fall out of your chair, let's talk about how to pray.
Please Lord, help me find a parking place; Please God help me get to the meeting on time; Please Lord, help me find the right gift for such and such. However, I do definitely need to take more time to listen. NOT just to the voice of God I sometimes hear in my Heart, but also to the voice of God through my friends and family. I need to pay more attention to the TUGS at my Heart.
Recently I went on a retreat for a whole weekend about prayer. It was divine. Literally. A Priest friend of mine gave the retreat, and he introduced us all to a book by Father Tim Gallagher called, Ignatian Introduction to Prayer . This was RIGHT up my alley. I have always had a great imagination, and I really enjoyed getting into the scripture. And I do mean GETTING INTO the scripture.
For almost two weeks after the retreat, I was reading Mark 10:46-52. I was imagining the scene outside the gates of Jerusalem and seeing myself finding a spot among the crowds right next to Bartimaeus. In fact, Bartimaeus and I got to be close friends through this meditation.
Everyday for two weeks I was dragging my mat right next to this blind beggar. Bartimaeus would hear me coming and make room next to him as we waited for Jesus to come by. I played this entire scene out each time, and each time I felt a twinge of guilt that I was calling to Jesus with as much passion and deparation as this old, poor, blind man next to me. In my imagination, Jesus looked directly at me when he passed by on the donkey. And in my imagination, Jesus called my name to come to him to be healed of my sins and cured of my illnesses. I would walk away from this meditation with a renewed sense of strength, and a feeling of completeness. I also a received a sense of gratitude that my Jesus was able to do the same for my friend Bartimeaus. It has been a powerful prayer, and it is only page one!
The name of the book is "An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer" and the Author is Father Timothy Gallagher. I highly recommend if you are looking for something new to do with your prayer time with your image of JESUS. In the mean time I will keep looking for new ways to spend with MINE!! (Bam chica bam bam.) (Is that inappropriate?!?!?!) This might be the start of another BLOG post. My slightly inappropriate relationship with Jesus.