But, how do we move deeper into this relationship with God we so desperately long to have? How do we settle our hearts in God? How do we focus on the giver and not just become greedy for his gifts? Where did Mother Teresa find the strength and the ability to continue to serve in such a life-giving way for so many years? How did she develop her heart and love for the poor?
Praying: Finding our Way through Duty to Delight
And where did her strength of character and passion for service come from? The answers are found in the actions of her daily life, particularly in her regular devotion to prayer and entering into the presence of God by practices of the faith, most remarkably silence. Mother Teresa had a deeply intimate relationship with Jesus that was fostered by silence throughout her life. Her practice of silence created room for prayer and space for her relationship with God to grow. For Mother Teresa, silence was a prerequisite to prayer and the ability to meet with God.
Prayer, through the means of silence, took upon itself to form the deep intimacy with God and with Jesus. Many view these words as the secret to her success in ministry and care for the poor. Through sacrifice and endurance, Mother Teresa reminds Christians and those of other faiths that God is the God of love.
She is a profound example of how the love of Christ for all people compels us to respond to the deeply troubling needs of humanity and walk alongside the poor. As you go about your daily life today, when so many things are vying for your attention, may you have the time and space to enter into silence. Silence is a gift waiting to be opened and explored.
But, how do we combine our intimacy, our familiarity, and our tenderness in approaching God as our Abba while still honoring his holiness and reverencing his name? One way, a way we have found helpful is an ancient way practiced in the Old Testament and in the prayer life of Jesus and his early disciples. This way involves praying in different postures — bowing, kneeling, lying prostrate before God, reaching out and opening our hands to God, looking toward the heavens, raising our hands, and expressing our emotions openly before God.
These postures of reverence and respect may have gone out of regular use in the lives of many today. Hopefully, however, the image of Megan and the welcome of her daddy home should remind us of what joyful and dependent love, with tenderness and respect, will lead a childlike heart to do! As you pray to God each day this week, make one of your prayer times a time to wait in silence for God. Settle into an attitude of waiting and welcome.
Then, let the Holy Spirit stir you, nudge you, move you, motivate you, to try one of the postures mentioned above as you settle into your prayer time in silence. Kneel in silence. Bow in reverent waiting. Lift your face and hands to the heavens in joyful anticipation. Lie prostrate and wait, settling your heart before the Almighty, and intercede for someone in need of healing, hope, or salvation. You must also have special and extraordinary seasons of prayer, as Daniel had, over and above his daily habit of prayer.
Special and extraordinary; original and unparalleled seasons of prayer, when you literally do nothing else day nor night but pray.
Prayers to unlock your destiny
Now, it is plain that you cannot teach a lifetime of experiment and attainment like that to any chance man; and, especially, you cannot teach it to a man who still detests the very thought of such prayer. It was his yoke in his youth that first taught Daniel to pray. And Babylon taught Daniel and his three friends all to pray, and to pray together in their chambers as we read. To be arrested in their father's houses by Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers; to have Babylonian chains put on their hands and their feet; to see the towers of Zion for the last time: to be asked to sing some of the songs of Zion to amuse their masters as they toiled over the Assyrian sands — you would have been experts yourselves in a school of prayer like that Jeremiah, a great authority on why some men pray, and why other men never pray, has this about you in his book: "Moab hath been at his ease from his youth up; he hath settled on his lees; he hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel: neither hath he gone into captivity; and, therefore, his taste remaineth in him, and his scent is not changed.
It is delightful with a delight that is not known to neophytes. It is positively delightful to see the old prophet allying in his chamber and spelling out the book of the prophet Jeremiah, the first copy of which has just been smuggled across the wilderness from Jerusalem to Babylon. We sit over and spell out old authors in literature and religion, if they are sufficiently old; but it would not pay to make a contraband trade of the authors and the preachers of to-day to the authors of to-day or to the preachers either. We exploit and plagiarise the great preachers of the great past, but we do not find much to repay us in the pulpit of our day.
Only Daniel studied Jeremiah as much as if Jeremiah had been Moses himself, and more. And he not only studied a prophet whom we would call his contemporary, and his colleague, but, old prophet and old priest as he himself was, he took a new start in fasting, and in sackcloth, and in ashes, and in prayer of all kinds as he sat over Jeremiah's now book, and felt on the floor of his chamber holding the book to his heart. Had we been in Daniel's place, I will wager what we would have said as we read that seventy years' passage on the new parchment: "The Lord's ways — if this is indeed the Lord — His ways are not equal," we would have said.
Surely I was the man that needed it, and had earned it. Why Jeremiah?
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How to Pray for Your Daily Bread
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Prayers to unlock your destiny
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