Prayer Guide







Hildegard of Bingen
How has your week gone? I pray that by now you have experienced some success. If not, don’t be discouraged. If you are still having trouble I encourage you to seek someone who has experience praying this way and ask for their council. (If you don't know anyone personally feel free to email me, my address is to the side or below.)

I want to share some insight that I had while praying the Teresian style a while ago. I read John 3:22-36 “After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ  but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.  He must become greater; I must become less.1
While reading, verse 30 stood out to me. I read it over and over and that verse continued to stand out. So I focused on verse 30 He must become greater; I must become less. In reading this I realized God was speaking to me. In order for God to live in me, I must decrease. My flesh, my humanness (sinfulness) must decrease to make room for Christ. Then I’m reminded of Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…” 1 If my sinfulness rules me then I cannot serve God. This is easier said than done. If my flesh decreases where does it go? It must die! This is painful; this is why when I am tempted it hurts so much. The Spirit may be strong but the body is weak. My flesh does not want to die, so it fights back. This is why it hurts so much to deal with my suffering, but it is necessary in order for me to grow in faith, in order for Jesus to increase inside of me.

Then I saw it another way. My soul is a house. As a Christian I have received Christ just as I would receive a guest in my house. But I was also treating Jesus as a guest. I let him in the door and the living room, the room that was clean and ready for company, but the doors were shut to the rest of the house. In those rooms I had clutter (junk), the stuff I didn’t want or know what to do with, my problems, my pain, and my idols. But Christ is telling me that He did not come to just visit. He came to live in my house and help clean it. He wants to clean up my clutter. But He will not intrude, I must surrender control. This is hard, very hard, after all this is my house isn’t it? Or is it?

I can’t keep up with the clutter and no matter how hard I try it is never clean. But God reminds me when He cleans it is spick and span. Washed by the blood of the lamb and it sparkles.

Once I allowed Christ to start to clean my house and let go of my sin, the things that I was collecting and hanging on to, the clutter started disappearing and I was able to see the blessings He has given me. I am able to see Him calling me in the areas of my gifts that were once hidden from me because of the clutter.

Since this insight was given me I realized that when Jesus cleans, it isn’t a done deal. It isn’t a one time thing then He’s done. Just like the home we live in, we clutter that soul house daily. Stress at work, temptations throughout our day, whatever the case we continue to bring clutter back into our house. So like home the house has to be cleaned continually. We must surrender to Jesus every day no, every hour, in order to allow Jesus to clean our clutter. So here’s to a clean house.

I was reluctant to share this because I don’t want to discourage you if you aren’t receiving insight like this in prayer. This did not come while I was learning to pray nor did it come in the first year. I felt God wanted me to share this insight so that you can learn from it. This leads us to the next God direction:

Starting point: Middle of Nowhere

Destination: Middle of Somewhere

Directions: Let Jesus clean your house. Remember, you can’t do it all by yourself. Why is this so important? Because if you are feeling like a nobody, like you have no special talent that God wants to use, then the clutter has covered it up. We are all created special in God’s eyes. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” 2  We are so precious to God that the very hairs on our heads are all numbered. God did not create a nobody, He created a somebody. Let Him show you who you really are.

Let us read Colossians 1:13-16 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” 1  In these verses we are reminded of just how special we are. He rescued us from darkness. God sent his only son to take our place and in verse 15 we learn that “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Christ is the visual of the invisible. As humans we are visual creatures, this is even more evident today. Media and visuals are everywhere. This leads us to praying with icons and music. Icons are spiritual pictures of Christ and the Saints. They contain imagery in the forms of symbols. They were created to assist the viewer in focusing on God. Icons can be a very helpful tool in prayer. We should use icons only as a launching place for our prayers. They are to help focus our thoughts and imagination on God. Icons can help us picture Christ in us and around us.

Music is a form of imagery as well. The music aids us in feeling and picturing the words in our minds. We are told throughout scripture to sing and make music in praise to God. We hear about visions of all the saints and angels gathered around the throne of God and singing.
Prayer Time:
  1. The same guidelines to Lectio Divina apply.
  2. You can continue to use the examples that were supplied from last week or you could choose other verses in Scripture.
  3. Praying with icons and music is not an intellectual exercise. Let the image or music carry you. Loose yourself in it. Feel the words and the sounds; allow the imagery to envelope you.
  4. This will also work with nature. Just sit outside or by your window and loose yourself in what you see and hear. Listen during a thunder shower. Let the rumbles of thunder carry you to the throne of God. Listen to the rain fall, taking you to the streams of the cleansing water of God. Listen to the birds sing praises to God. Marvel at the landscape that God created. The flowers and the brilliant colors. Remember God spoke all into existence and He saw that it was good. While the fall into sin changed all that, there is still the Glory of God to be found in His creation.
  5. Do not force it. We will read slowly and listen and picture our best friend, God, direct us, resting in His presence when we feel the need.
  6. Remember we are not reading for speed or to reach a goal but at the pace of God. We will read slowly and deliberately, listening at each word and phrase.
  1. After selecting the Lectio Divina text (Lectio Divina Options) remind yourself that God is present with you as you begin prayer, now picture Christ before you (use an icon if possible, I have attached two for your convenience.)
  2. As before select a comfortable place to pray and begin your centering exercises and use of your Jesus Prayer, reminding yourself that God is in you praying with and for you, imagine Christ in you and before you.
  3. As you read through the text the first time imagine Christ physically present reading to you; ask yourself: What does He look like, how does He act and look at you, what is the quality of His voice? Note anything special about Him.
  4. Picture Christ as you recite or read the passage the second time;
  5. As you read the passage the second time think of specific situations which need the presence of Christ—ask yourself what you can do to bring Christ to it.
  6. End your prayer time as usual, but remind yourself that God is present with you even as you leave your time of prayer—do this throughout the day.
On different days this week try one or all of these exercises as a replacement for your normal prayer time.
  1. Envision yourself caught up into the very presence of God and His angels, allow His angels to take you to anyplace they desire; note the place in detail and try to determine what God may be saying to you through this exercise;
  2. On a different day select a piece of popular modern Christian music to pray with; play it and allow it to be your prayer to God this day—how does it make you feel and what does it make you think; on another day do the same thing with a piece of classical or ancient Christian music; make similar notes.3
  1. Just like before, you can’t force this. (Read previous pointers)
  2. Do not over think your prayer. You need to loose yourself in the moment. Feel your surroundings.
  3. This is an exercise of the imagination. Let God reveal Himself to you in real images, and sounds.
  4. When listening to the music, let the words be your words. Feel what is being sung
  5. I have included two icons of Jesus here. For other icons you can go to More icons or search the web for yourself. Christian book stores sometimes have icons framed.
  6. A great source of Contemporary Christian music here in East Central Missouri is Joy FM 99.1. If you can’t get it on the radio you can listen on line at if you are new to contemporary Christian music try listening to Wow worship CDs. These have many different artists and styles of worship music.
Practice this style of prayer for a full week. At the end of the week, move on to the next section.
1The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
2The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Mt 10:29). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
3As adapted from “Contemplative Prayer Study” Lesson 5 by Rev. Derek Cheek

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