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Opening Your Heart to God As a Facilitator
Learning to Pray as a Facilitator
Bill Huebsch
1.
Prayer is often called a "dialogue" between God and us.

But, in prayer, while we usually speak words toward God, whether oral or silent, God does not, ordinarily, speak words back to us.

We don't normally hear voices in the tabernacle, visions in the night, or the skies opening and God speaking.

We often pray for things: a favor, a gift such as wisdom, a direction in life, forgiveness and reconciliation, praise and honor of Godself, the well being of a loved one, victory in a ball game, or whatever...

But do we simply end our prayer with the words, or does God respond to us somehow?

In what way does God ordinarily speak to a person in prayer?

2.
How God Speaks to Us in Prayer
God, we would say, "speaks" not many words to us, but rather a single word. The word divinely spoken is nothing less than the life of the one who prays that life as continually being filled with God's love.

We are the ones who are ďspoken.Ē We hear God speaking within us and among us: in the inner voices which make us sure and insistent.

We hear God in the intuitions, imaginings, and ideas which seem to come from nowhere.

We find the Word of God present and spoken, in our inner voices of conscience, in our inner sense of right, in our inner place of silence.

We hear it at worship and liturgical prayer in the words of the Scriptures and the words of the Church.

We hear it echo in our hearts and bodies as we receive communion: the Body of Christ for the body of Christ.

3.
But we are impeded in this listening when we look at, stay with, or listen to ourselves apart from this being drawn toward God. We then get stuck in our own selves and world.

We are equally impeded if we leave out of our prayer some essential part of ourselves, denying who we are: a memory, a hurt, a desire, a feeling.

Such denial blocks our ability to hear God's voice being spoken in our own depths.

4.
We are so unaccustomed to listening that we often don't hear when God speaks in our everyday lives.

We wait, hoping to hear from the clouds, or seeking a sign.

But the reign of God, we know, is within us.

Why do we stand around looking into the sky when the signs of God's presence are all around us?

© Bill Huebsch, A New Look At Prayer , 1997

A Method for Everyday Private Prayer
First, become comfortable and quiet, sitting, walking, or driving, kneeling in preparation for Mass, folding the laundry or standing at the kitchen window gazing at your garden.

Second, pause deeply and allow yourself to relax and rest: dropping the shoulders and jaw, settling your mind, breathing profoundly.

Third, bring to mind that for which you wish to pray: your beloved, a friend soon to visit, someone you have wronged, a challenging moment, a want or need, your own sense of well-being, a problem to solve, your sense of God's presence today. Bring it to mind gently, slowly, willingly, and let it linger in the shadows of your consciousness, almost at the back of your mind.

Fourth, watch and listen to the scene you see and hear. Pay attention to your own feelings, ideas, and imagination. Be present to the Divine Lover, the Sacred One. If you sense resistance, check that, for in it you will find what blocks you. If you sense light, follow it gladly. If you sense darkness, a hollow feeling, chaos and great void, you are near sin. If you sense consolation, that deep sense of rightness and well-being, you are very close to the heart of the Lord. It may be necessary for you to speak of what you hear with a guide in order to discern whether it is God's own voice or your own that you hear.

Fifth, after a while, begin to take in what you hear and see: begin to consolidate your thinking, begin to mentally record your experience. Try putting words on it, letting it gel, and even writing it down a little, at least some notes about it.

Sixth, become grateful for the gifts you have received and know them to have God as their Source. Bask in gratitude for a moment, not coming away from your prayer until you are ready. Let your heart swell with praise, the kind of wordless, speechless awe you feel in the face of beauty, love, and generosity. For you have just seen beauty, love, and divine, endless generosity.

  © Bill Huebsch, 1997

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