Fr. Michael on Personal Prayer
“The problem for most of us who live in the urban environment is that we have no way of daily escaping into the natural world which was the spiritual respite and renewal of the Celtic fathers. They drew on the divine origin and indwelling of all creation. To them there was no strict division between the divine world and the material world, it was all divine creation. God was in some degree to be discened in everything .
Yes, we may have a local park, and it even may be quiet, but we commute to and from work each day and there is no time to go there. Our lives are totally encircled by work, commuting, family.
Christ told us to go into your closet and pray. He did not say to wait until we went to church on Sunday, because Sunday was to be a bit different. Real prayer, conversation with God was an individual thing.
In one suburban house I lived in, there was an enormous cupboard that had at one time contained the boiler. I found that I could get a chair and a small table in there with an icon it and room enough between the two to kneel – so I literally had my closet, a mini chapel. You may have to clear out and adapt a garden shed or the back of the garage or a space in the loft. It is important to have that space that cannot be invaded…
The point about quiet, individual time with God is that this is the time of hearing. The temptation is always to pour out our problems, worries, etc., to God. God, however already knows all that, He doesn’t need telling. This is the time to simply sit in front of an icon of Christ and listen.Try to empty oneself of thoughts about troubles, try to calm oneself, use the Jesus prayer for a bit, but achieve quiet and calm and attune yourself to sensibility. This will eventually allow God’s communication to come through. Concentrate on that icon of Christ to drown out distracting intrusions. God can and occasionally does come through quite clearly, usually before we have actually framed the question. At other times the answer seems to seep in and we feel certain that this is the answer. And most of the time there is no immediate answer, but subsequently a door will open inviting us to see a new direction or a new answer.”
– ‘frmichael.uk blog’
***Now and then we include a particularly thought provoking or inspiring excerpt not from one of our regular ‘Elders’***