Choose a Time and a Place.
Make it a specific time dedicated only to prayer—a time when you are alert and clear. (Psalm 92:1-2) Make sure it’s a place where you are free from distraction and interruption. (Matthew 6:6)
Lay Aside All Other Concerns.
Examine your conscience and repent of your sins. (Psalm 130)
Let God’s mercy cleanse your conscience. (Romans 8:32)
Put aside anxieties, problems, and struggles. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Open Your Heart to the Gospel.
Consciously say “Yes” to these truths each day:
• God created me out of love and loves me always. (1 John 4:10)
• God sent Jesus to give us life. (John 3:16)
• By his death and resurrection, Jesus conquered sin and death. (John 5:24)
• Jesus promised to be with us and to send the Holy Spirit. (John 14:15-16,23)
•Jesus intercedes for us in heaven. (Hebrews 7:25)
• Jesus is coming again. ?(Matthew 16:27)
Express your love and gratitude to your heavenly Father, to his Son Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit. (Psalms 95; 136; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:9)
Worship God honestly and from your heart. (Matthew 6:7-8)
Dwell in the Presence of God.
Listen actively to God in your heart as you read scripture. (Isaiah 66:2)
Sit quietly in God’s presence and let his love touch your heart. (Psalm 131)
Intercede with Faith and Trust.
Pray for the world, for the church, for your family, your friends, and yourself. (Matthew 7:7-11)
Write in Your Journal.
What has God said to you?
What do you want to carry into the day to keep your mind fixed on Jesus?
What petitions will you keep close to your heart?
From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Prayer is the light of the spirit
Prayer and converse with God is a supreme good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by his infinite light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods but continuous throughout the day and night.
Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God and call him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it.
Prayer is the light of the spirit, true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man. The spirit, raised up to heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness; like a child crying tearfully for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides. It seeks the satisfaction of its own desires, and receives gifts outweighing the whole world of nature.
Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God’s grace. The apostle Paul says: We do not know how we are to pray but the Spirit himself pleads for us with inexpressible longings.
When the Lord gives this kind of prayer to a man, he gives him riches that cannot be taken away, heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. One who tastes this food is set on fire with an eternal longing for the Lord: his spirit burns as in a fire of utmost intensity.
Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive him as in a splendid palace, and through his grace you will already possess him, his image enthroned in the temple of your spirit.
From a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement, Pope (88-97AD)
Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.
If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God’s message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God’s forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not of God’s people.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God’s grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe himself spoke of repentance with an oath: As I live, says the Lord, I do not wish the death of the sinner but his repentance. He added this evidence of his goodness: House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell the sons of my people: If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to me with your whole heart and say, “Father,” and I will listen to you as a holy people.
In other words, God wanted all his beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and he confirmed this desire by his own almighty will. That is why we should obey his sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat his mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before him and turn to his compassion, rejecting empty works and quarrelling and jealousy which only lead to death.
Brothers, we should be humble in mind, putting aside all arrogance, pride and foolish anger. Rather, we should act in accordance with the Scriptures, as the Holy Spirit says: The wise man must not glory in his wisdom nor the strong man in his strength nor the rich man in his riches. Rather, let him who glories glory in the Lord by seeking him and doing what is right and just. Recall especially what the Lord Jesus said when he taught gentleness and forbearance. Be merciful, he said, so that you may have mercy shown to you. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you treat others, so you will be treated. As you give, so you will receive. As you judge, so you will be judged. As you are kind to others, so you will be treated kindly. The measure of your giving will be the measure of your receiving. Let these commandments and precepts strengthen us to live in humble obedience to his sacred words. As Scripture asks: Whom shall I look upon with favor except the humble, peaceful man who trembles at my words?
Sharing then in the heritage of so many vast and glorious achievements, let us hasten toward the goal of peace, set before us from the beginning. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Father and Creator of the whole universe, and hold fast to his splendid and transcendent gifts of peace and all his blessings.
"We are capable of adoring many idols because, in actuality, many things can be a source of our reliance. For example, our home can be an idol that we take care of as if it were a loved one. It can be decorating our homes, our clothes, our car or our school. It can be any job that we hold in such high regard as to think it worthy enough to burn out over or to die for." (God Alone Suffices, pg.13)
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