God gets real with us in Scripture. In fact, he is downright blunt. Could he be any clearer when he says, “With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you” (Jer 31:3), or “With everlasting love I will have compassion on you” (Is 54:8), or in Psalm 136 when he tells us about a million times that his love is everlasting.
We get it, God! You love us unconditionally forever, even though we still face self-inflicted consequences if we reject your love. We get that – until we forget it. So how to keep our friendship with God strong and our awareness of his mercy on the front burner?
The answer is prayer.
Easy way to pray
If you have trouble focusing or settling your mind when you pray, try reading scripture very slowly. Pick a passage that you think will speak to you or that you need to hear. If we leave space between the words, God will whisper to us in those spaces. It’s an easy and nourishing way to invite God in, sit back, and listen.
Everlasting love – that’s good news. Slow scripture reading lets that love soak into our hearts. And with God, even the bad news is good news: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (2 Cor 6:9-10).
Did I say blunt?
Okay, God’s been real with us; how can we get real with him − real enough to open our hearts to everything he wants to heal in us?
How do I fit into this?
If we pay attention – if we slowly read just that passage from 2 Corinthians, we can ask ourselves: what idols do we overlook in our life, that is, when do we ignore God’s way and do it our way? What greediness remains that we have not asked God to heal; and what lack of trust in God causes our fearful greediness? Have we said anything against anyone lately? Have we “robbed” anyone’s dignity by not treating them with the respect they deserve?
Whatever we answer “yes” to, that’s a time when we’ve rejected his everlasting love and made a little wound in our soul, which affects our friendship with God. Because of his promise: “I have kept my mercy toward you,” we can count on that mercy the second we reach out for it, and receive healing in Confession.
Spiritual nourishment for the taking
Pondering scripture is the key to drawing the spiritual food God wants to give us today. Sometimes other kinds of prayer can be hard – we get so distracted. But reading? Yeah, we can do that. And if we do it slowly, leaving space…..between…..the…..words, we let God get a word in edgewise!
A great musician said that the real music happens in between the notes. The greatest value of scripture in personal prayer is what happens between the words.
Heavenly food for saints and beginners
Slow, thoughtful reading of scripture is one of the oldest ways to connect with God. When we let the Father speak to us personally through Jesus the Divine Word, the Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts and minds to the everlasting love and the mercy of the Father. And to the times we may have rejected that mercy.
Prayerful reading of scripture rewards us – even those who aren’t quite sure how to pray – with a rich conversation with God. And for those who have a solid prayer life, it opens the riches of God’s heart when our dry, distracted heart can’t find inspiration anywhere else.
Ven. Aloysius Schwartz wrote:
“We should find our joy, our consolation, and our strength in the word of God. What is more, whenever we read it with faith and meditate upon it with love, we come into intimate personal contact with the living Christ. His heart speaks to my heart, and these two hearts become one.”
Do we want to accept God’s invitation to show us his love and to accept his gentle (ok, blunt) guidance on how to be more like him? Prayer and the Sacraments are the foundation of virtue and of salvation itself.
No spiritual treading water
There is no staying in one place in the spiritual life. Either we are growing closer to God or we are drifting from him. When you can’t find your prayer mojo anywhere, open the Bible to a place that speaks to you or open it at random in the book of psalms because there’s something in the psalms for every condition of the human heart.
Want a little more help?
I’m just finishing up the pilot group for my new course “Revive Your Catholic Prayer Life.” Students call it “spot on” and tell me it’s helped them get more out of their prayer. As Deacon Dan put it, the course would benefit “beginners through priests.”
Constanza called the course videos “little gems” that “clarify how to pray and why I’m praying – and will help me teach others to pray.”
Anna Marie said, “Prayer can become automatic if you’ve done it for a long time. It can get to where you don’t really think about what you’re doing, you’re just doing. The videos made me stop and think, ‘This is a good thing and this is what the prayer time is about!’ It makes me feel better about where I am. Awesome course.”
Kathleen said, “Your videos are short, clear, and get right to the point. Perfect!”
I’m offering the pilot modules at a discount while I prepare the final videos (the content in both will be the same; final videos will just be more polished).
So, if this is what you need, now’s the time to jump on it. When you purchase the companion book, an offer to add the course to your order will pop up – both book and course are 50% off: this will give you unlimited access to the series of 14 ten-minute (approx.) videos – watch them at your own pace and watch your prayer life take on new life.
Plus, bonus resources and audio meditations are yours, too. And I’ll be adding more bonuses soon, such as inspiration from the saints to help you keep your prayer life vital.
I’ve put my heart and soul, my own experience with success and failure in prayer, and the advice of scripture and lots of saints into this short, useful course that will make you happy at prayer again. Grab the book + course at 50% off: Revive Your Catholic Prayer Life book + course
P.S. I’m considering offering bonus live group coaching for those who purchase the book and course — to help you get the very most out of it. Let me know if you’re interested!