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Archive for the ‘Studies’ Category

Once in a hundred years we have a 7-7-7 day, that also means every hundred years we have the less popular 6-6-6 day. Take it for what you will.

I have had a wonderful day so far. I met at the church for our monthly men’s prayer breakfast and it was really nice to commune with your family. We talked about how nice it would be if women had a bigger role in church service, I didn’t say anything but it made me think that some things are so engraved in our lives that we would buck God Himself if He came down and told us we had some things wrong. Noreen will lead prayer for us as a family sometimes. One reason is I love to hear her prayers, and another reason is I think that it is important to show the kids that it is okay.

We also talked about prayers. It’s funny how there are so many views on prayer. Should we ask God that our house should sell? Should we ask God for the little things or just the big things? I guess I never had a problem with that, so I never thought of these things. We know that we all have a longing to talk to God, the more prayer time we have the more we will see the answer. God wants us to come to Him, He sees our hearts and He knows what will help our walk and what is selfish desire. When Paul prayed that his infliction would be taken away, God let Him know that His grace was sufficient. Not that God did not answer his prayer, He already had answered that prayer. If someone gives you a set of weights to work out with, and with it a modest bench that allowed you to do everything to achieve your goal, but then you decide that maybe something a little more updated is needed and you ask that person for a Smith Machine for your bench presses, that person would probably say no, you have what is needed.

We get caught up in what we think we need, even if it is for someone not to be taken away from us, but God takes them. Be it a child or someone that has lived a fruitful life, we do not want to say good-bye, but they are spared this world for a better life. Who are we to stand in their way? There is a song by Craig Morgan that talks about a man saving another persons life, and the person he saved was upset with him. He felt the comfort, now he was back in the world. My best friend came down from S. Carolina to visit, his experience with church has not always been the best, but he continues to grow and search. He told me, ‘Who am I to say what God can and cannot do? I mean, He’s God, He knows the outcome.’ He continued with, ‘Not that I don’t have questions, but God knows more then I do.’ I probably butchered that quote, so Mr. Nemec if you want to correct any of that please do. But I thought that was insightful, it is what we need. In her book, ‘Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith’ Anne Lamott tells of a friend whose prayer each morning is, (more…)

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I got that from Donna’s comment, when I answered it I think that my head was in a different spot, so now I want to delve into it a little more. I think that sometimes we are hindered because of what we are taught about prayer, and the structure of it. I pray all the time, some might even say that it is overkill. I pray when I hear an ambulance, I pray right after someone tells me of their problems, I pray when I watch the news, I pray when thoughts of my children come to mind, I pray after I drop someone off from running errands..I think you get the idea. These are not formal prayers at all, if I am driving I don’t pull over to the side of the road to bow my head, if it is in the house I don’t get up and go into a private room to pray, in fact if you were looking at me while I was doing it you might not even know.

I am not saying that I treat God in a passive manner, I know that He understands and sees where true concerns lie. We should always treat God with respect and praise, and when we do fall to our knees in despair, adoration, and praise then we know that He is truly worthy of this and so much more, but there are times that we need to pray and we are unable to go through the outward mechanics, so it shows in our hearts where men does not see but God knows.

One of my favorite scripture is Rom. 8:26-27 which says: ‘ Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. 27) And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.’ Isn’t that comforting? Out of all of my jumbled, clumsy attempts to come to God, the Spirit is already searching my heart and giving it to God in a way that He understands my needs.

We are taught the Lord’s prayer over and over and see the example of prayer, and so at times we don’t realize that God wants us to approach Him, and since He sees our hearts, there isn’t a cut and dry formula to prayer. We know we should praise God, and He is the great provider. He longs to be talked to. 

So why are there times that God might answer a prayer concerning one thing, and does not answer another? I will try and talk about that in my next post. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions on this post or the upcoming one please let me know.

I would like to leave with a prayer from the Psalmist. ‘Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.’ – Psalm 143:8

God bless,

D.

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O lord, You hear my voice in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.-Psalm 5:3

Thank you Donna for your question on the last post. Prayer stems from our dependence on God, and daily prayer teaches us that. He knows our daily struggles and our more loftier ones. Need brings us to God, and that need can grow into something deeper in our lives. We pray in times of need and once we are in His presence we are open to whatever He may do or show us.

Michael Allen shares with us an example in his book, ‘This Time, This Place’,  Michael tells a story of betrayal by his best friend, out of anger Michael pleaded with God to destroy his friend. After realizing the power of God and the haste of his prayer, he tasted his anger. It was bitter to him, he felt hurt that his friend had betrayed him, he cried and asked God to give him his friend back.

As a friend told me, a child is always dependent on her mother for shelter, food, protection the mother loves the child and the child loves the mother but the child could not rely on her own for survival. Need drives us to prayer, and God welcomes us, not that it should be our only time we turn to Him in prayer, we cannot survive without coming to Him in our time of need. We need daily prayer even in our mundane moments it does not have to be a major crises. God knows about our smaller problems that can consume us, and our conversation with God can and should embrace these things. George McDonald said, ‘Anything large enough for a wish to light upon is large enough to hang a prayer on.’

Sometimes we might be shown difficult times because God knows that we will come to Him then. That is biblical right? It is shown to us in the Old Testament and the New. Though we cannot say definitely what God has wrought and what He hasn’t, we still know that we can turn to Him. When we come into His presence with no particular path, it subtly becomes directed by something we were not awake to before. We cannot see this if we do not come to Him with our desires and needs.

So we come to God with need knowing He can provide and comfort. We come to Him as a child to a parents lap, seeking, questioning, and resting. He is awesome, powerful, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, ruler over everything. But He is also our Father who cares and loves us, He longs for us to turn to Him in times of need, and just to share in His presence.

There is a way to enjoy His presence without asking anything. You have to find a quite time for this though, and it might not be for everyone. But if you get a chance I strongly suggest you try. Sit down, clear your head, I usually like to begin with a prayer that God will quite my thoughts during this time. Close your eyes, if thoughts come in, hand them to God, you can get them back later. To some people it is easier to keep your eyes open, whichever is best for you, and just enjoy your time with God. Sometimes it is hard to fight off thoughts, or worries from the day, but don’t give up. Continue and eventually they will go away, if not, pay attention to what keeps popping up it might be God directing you to change.

I hope that might have answered your question, on the next post I will continue with other ways to pray and to enter into His presence. As we look further into prayer I hope that our perception of God continues to change and grow.

D.

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“You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” -St. Augustine Confessions

In ‘The Art of Prayer’ Jones states that there are different questions that hinder our prayer. Is God really approachable? Did God care enough to listen when we speak? What do I say when I pray? I used to feel closer to God, can I get that back? Will God actually respond to our prayers? Is there such a thing as unanswered prayers?

Before I go further let me explain the collective unconscious a little better. We know that we all share a collective unconscious, and since it is unconscious content that can only be guessed, because it is unknown, we use symbols for the longing inside. Jung tells us that in primitive lore all esoteric teaching seek to apprehend the unseen happenings in the psyche. It’s true in even higher degree of the ruling worlds religions. They contain a revealed knowledge that was originally hidden, and they set forth the secrets of the soul in glorious images. Their temples and their sacred writings proclaim in image and word the doctrine hallowed from of old, making it accessible to every believing heart, every sensitive vision, every farthest range of thought. He goes on to explain that with how the symbolism became more complex it brought in an unbearably sophisticated I-You relationship, falling more into magic and novel images of the Eastern symbols. 

Basically this is the feeling that we have, it is God in all hearts, how the personal unconscious reacts with the collective is how we shape our views. Of course we have the word of God to lean on, but without the longing and faith it would just be another book. Our questions come from knowing that God is Holy, God is bigger then us, and so on. But we also know that God longs for us to talk to Him, He longs to help us. We know that we need not fear the proper words because they are translated to Him, and since He knows us better then we know ourselves, He also knows our needs. So why is it that we focus on God being so awesome, and unapproachable, and then we do not focus on His longing for us to turn to Him?

Most of the time prayer is born from distress, when we have no where else to go we plead to God. Both Jones and Jung state this, and we know this also. We need to learn more of ourselves and how we learn more about ourselves is through prayer. Going to God in times of need is a nice starting point but it has to expand. In any relationship if you just came to the other person in time of need, you will never be able to cement a true relationship with that person.

Next one will not be such a heavy read, I tend to go long with what others can sum up easier. I think that this is a start, we have to look at ourselves, and understand our fears on approaching God. To feed the longing that God has put in us and not let our worldly experience hinder our relationship with God.

We will continue the next one looking at some of the questions that were stated at the top of the post. If you have a different understanding then what I do, or if I scrambled everything beyond comprehension please let me know. As I said in my last post I want to grow in understanding and having a closer walk with God.

 God bless,

D.

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I have been looking at my prayer life, even-though I find myself in prayer most of the time I often wonder if I am just throwing words up in the air and see if they stick, or if I am truly honoring God and allowing Him to work in me. Sometimes I feel that it is a my will be done, not His sort of thing. So I am looking, searching, striving for a closer walk with Him. As odd as it sounds Jung tells us that this is something that we all carry. I have been reading ‘The Art of Prayer’ by Timothy Jones and ‘The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious’ by C.G. Jung. I have just started both books but I see a correlation to both. I already studied some of Jung’s thoughts on the unconscious and dreams, but did so just for a casual study, not looking any further to see anything comparable in my spiritual life.

Now I have just started both books, so please be patient with me if you have studied either, but I wanted to share my studies so far. I have seen others struggling with prayer and the importance of it, some struggle with the casualness of it, some feel that it is such a Holy practice that they do not feel worthy enough, and some feel that it is a thing we need to do in reserve, meaning that only when a body of believers gather, or not for ourselves but for others only in time of need.  My struggle is questioning if I am too flippant sometimes in my prayers.

This brings me to my post I want to do a study on prayer, this will be too long for one post so I am going to split it up. I wanted to share this with you so that we can walk in this together, my hope is that you will help with comments and a true study in what I believe will be a needed journey and growth in a closer walk with our Father. I tend to sum things up in my understandings not leaving it open as I should, I ask that even if I do this please tell me your understandings knowing that I might learn something also.

I will end this post with the beginning of the study. Jung tells us of two types of unconscious: the personal, the contents of this is known as the feeling-toned complexes. And the collective unconscious, the contents of this is known as archetypes. The personal is repressed contents that are our own, things that we experienced on a personal level, this unconscious rests on a larger section, the collective unconscious, which we all share and is found in every individual. I should note that we will be dealing with the archetype, and though it sounds that this will be extremely boring I think that you will find it interesting how this weaves into our relationship with God and prayer. I will intertwine the two books and hopefully tap into a deeper understanding.

D.

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