Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

question-mark-1019820_960_720It takes a long time to master the art of dialogue in fiction writing. The actual keying in of quotation marks and placement of other punctuation can be daunting and interfere with the flow of conversation. But if we keep practicing, we will eventually get the hang of it. It will become second nature.

It takes a long time to master the art of dialoguing with God. Sometimes I catch myself thinking of the Lord as a genie in the sky, waiting to grant me my requests. Other times I talk at God as if prayer were a monologue. It isn’t meant to be one-sided or difficult. It’s meant as the communication link between Creator and creature. A lifeline, really.prayer-1269776_960_720

Prayer is and will continue to be an enigmatic issue for me. I love the Lord, I praise His name and His greatness, I realize His power, and maybe because of all this, I don’t know how to address Him properly.

But God says, “Talk with me.” He created us for communion, and that is not one-sided.

As we craft our fictional dialogues, let’s remind ourselves to take time to practice our spiritual conversation as well. One great benefit is that with prayer, we don’t have to worry about punctuation placement.

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I re-read this little volume one day in the first week of this New Year: The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of Holy Life by Brother Lawrence (1605-1691). It impressed me in its simplicity, profoundness and encouragement.Practice of the Presence of God

I’d like to share of few of Brother Lawrence’s insights over the next weeks, written so many years ago in the form of conversations and letters to friends. I’m not a philosopher or a theologian; the following are my simple understandings of Brother Lawrence’s writings. I welcome your insights and comments.



First Conversation:

Concept: We need to be satisfied in God’s presence, always aware of Him and never ceasing to pray to Him. If we truly believe in His absolute greatness and love, we should be filled with trust in Him and His ways, no matter what comes to us in this life. Brother Lawrence believed that we need to rid ourselves of trivial thoughts and worries and focus on God’s presence, His greatness, His plan for us, and to accept both “suffering and consolation, for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned.”

Our Response: First off, I think if we are to be satisfied in God’s presence, we need to know Him. This, of course, is something that will take a lifetime and an eternity and still not be complete, but we can learn to know God better through daily reading and meditating on His Word, and praying that God’s Spirit will enlighten us and show us who it is we worship. And, I think, in obedience to Him. I believe that as we obey the voice of God, we will begin to recognize it more readily. It’s an ongoing response.

Personally, I find it difficult to cleanse my mind of the trivial. I must still be concerned about my family, my home, my work, making meals, keeping commitments. But these will need to find a balance, a sense of being turned over to God. It’s a daily decision.

I like the idea of accepting both good and bad “as equal to a soul truly resigned” to God’s will in the knowledge of His love for us, but this too will take a lot of faith and practice. Moment by moment, day by day.

Today, I commit to listening for God’s voice as I read His word, pray to Him, listen for His voice, obey Him, and continue to practice the presence of God.


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I slog.

I thought I had coined the word, but apparently Miriam Webster got there first. The definition, however, fits precisely: “to plod heavily.” Yes, I am a slogger.

Why do I continue to plod heavily every morning? Firstly, I believe any kind of physical exercise has more health benefits than, say, sitting in an armchair drinking coffee to wake up. To sit at my computer day after day without exercise, to deny myself the healing elements of fresh air and sunshine, to ignore the need for the discipline to drive myself beyond my perceived limits—these things are not positive. I believe exercise can be a preventative to seizing up entirely or consuming inordinate amounts of medication for an increasing variety of aches and pains. To quote some wise soul, “It ain’t pretty, but it works.”

Secondly, I am blessed to live in the country, so I’m free to slog at my pleasure without offending unsuspecting passersby. Besides the aforementioned reasons for slogging, motivation for my pathetic presentation includes age, asthma and inherited lack of athletic agility. I think slogging can slow the unalterable effects of aging, exercise asthmatic lungs and keep my body limber, if not agile.

So it is in many areas of our lives. I continue to pray, in spite of the fact that my efforts are often lame and crippled. “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day,” no matter how pathetic my efforts seem.

I continue to sing, although some unknown malady causes my vocal cords to slog out of tune at times without warning.

I continue to write in asthmatic attempts to communicate my thoughts to readers. I don’t wish my gifts, however limited, to be wasted because they are not perfect. “Mistakes are made, I’ll not deny, but only made by those who try.” I can’t tell you who said that, but the quote is easy to remember and worth repeating.

Advice for the day: keep slogging. It’s better than seizing up, and you never know how many people you might encourage, entertain or inspire.

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Why is it so difficult to do a thing we love, a thing we are good at, even? Why would we—okay, why would I—rather do laundry or clean the toilet or even dust baseboards, than sit at the computer to write?

This problem—call it writer’s block if you wish—has nagged at me all of last year, culminating in a December filled with home renovations, house guests and Christmas celebrations, thus offering as many legitimate excuses as needed to keep me from my writing.

Come the new year, I knew I needed to buckle down, but it wasn’t happening. Friends and acquaintances kept asking what I was working on and I would whine about being stymied, uncertain, afraid of what it might take to move ahead. My heart was not in it.

I “prayed about it,” since I believe in the power of prayer and the One to whom I offer said prayers, but how does one hear from God? I have never heard his audible voice. Have never seen his writing on the wall or in the clouds. When God tries to break through my fear or cynicism or apathy, he sometimes nudges, or gives me the proverbial kick-in-the-pants. But there had been nothing, no matter how hard I looked for it.

After weeks and months of frustration, I was about to hear from Him…

Last evening my dear hubby gave me a pep talk, pointing out that I had not let the fear of new things stop me before, so why was I hiding behind it now? Hmm, a nudge.

This morning, my husband and I shared a devotional thought focused on James 5:16, you know the one about the fervent prayer of a righteous man availing much. Did I qualify? In my helplessness I had prayed about my problem, if not fervently, then at least sincerely. I’m nowhere near perfect, but as a redeemed sinner, I have received Christ’s righteousness. Yes. Another nudge, this one scripturally based.

Then I checked my Facebook, because that’s one of the easiest ways to procrastinate, and a writer friend had posted something like this: “The world needs your gifts, not your excuses.” (Quote by Jeff Goins, my translation.) Okay, that was the kick-in-the-pants I needed.

This morning’s devotional had included the words of Ole Hallesby: “Prayer and helplessness are inseparable. Only those who are helpless can truly pray…your helplessness is your prayer.” In my helplessness, the Lord reached down to whisper, “Hey Kid, I love you just as you are, I care about you and about what I want you to do, and I’ll help you make it happen. Trust me.” How amazing is that? Really!

So here we go, Lord. Moving forward to write, to create, to learn, to ask, to risk. To give back to you what you’ve given me.

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