Brennan Manning, in his book, “The Wisdom of Tenderness”, shares this simple way of praying as a means of finding intimacy with Our Father God. He first shared it with a nun who was filled with hatred because of horrible childhood memories. He asked her to sit in a chair, close her eyes, upturn her palms, and pray this one phrase over and over: ‘Abba, I belong to you!’ Brennan continued, “At the outset, you’ll say it with your lips alone, because you’re mine becomes conscious of the meaning, will begin to push your head down into your heart and a figurative sense, so that ‘abba, I belong to you’ becomes what the French call ‘un cri de coeur’, a heartfelt cry from the depths of your being, establishing who you are, while you’re here, and where you’re going. It’s a prayer you can pray what working in the garden, listening to music, driving a car, etc.….When you pray it dozens and dozens of times each day, and It becomes syncopated with the rhythm of your heartbeat, you can, as Jesus says in Luke 18, pray all day long and never lose heart.” After 2 weeks, that nun experienced complete forgivenesses and an inner peace she had never known before. She then signed her note from: Daddy’s little girl.
This is another beautiful poem found in the book, “Shalom: Finding Intimacy Seeking Home”, by Margaret Westphal. “Dancing in the glory. Dancing in the Son. Your goodness flies in beams of light as Your kingdom comes. Dancing in the glory. Dancing in the Son. Light flashes from the Living Word, Who is our intercession. Dancing in the glory. Dancing in the Son. Who knows what darkness shatters before the Holy One. Dancing in the glory. Dancing in the Son. Who knows what seeds I scatter because we dance as one. Dancing in the glory. Dancing in the Son. Being with You is all that matters, Your love is all I want. Dancing in the glory. Dancing in the Son. You’re swirling, glowing, holding presence covers, hovers, dances on.”
I received a special book from a precious friend this Christmas. It’s called “Shalom” by Margaret Westphal. It contains several beautiful poems and I want to share the end of the one called “Shalom” because it describes the intimacy we feel when we are in union with our Bridegroom. “We can only experience and absorb the essence, the mystery of the oneness, the wonder of wholeness in union with Him. It feels like a cold and snow, sparkling shalom, tiny particles vibrate, and the swirling, pulsing dance of life and love and deep, deep peace. Extreme – excess – more than enough. Extravagant – explosive – exhilarating, royal, beauty – color, movement, sound. Energizing – lifting – soaring – triumphant, identity, absorbed. Loved, loved, loved. Creative joy, fulfilled – released, into peace, soft, still, listening, melting love. Golden snow, shalom.” The words “melting love” really touched me because God has been describing His awesome love, as this “melting love” that flows from His heart to ours to destroy any obstacle in its path. It’s this same magnificent love that then flows out of our heart to others. I find this image of this liquid, golden, melting love flowing from Daddy’s heart so powerful that I have been asking Him to concentrate that love in any part of me that especially needs it, (like a hurt or pain) since it literally obliterates any hindrance in its path.
“God has planted in your heart His very own love – the love that never fails. Give over to that love and let it flow. Strength in your spirit by feeding on what God’s Word says about love. The Word will come alive in you and help you stick with your decision to walk in love. Then when you get fed up with someone, instead of giving him a piece of your mind, you’ll give him the love of God! He’ll be blessed. God will be pleased. And you’ll have the victory! Ephesians 5:2 says, ‘Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.'” ——An excerpt from the “Pursuit of His Presence Calendar” by Gloria Copeland
“Love necessarily flows from contemplation. A man must have gazed long at the face of incarnate, crucified Love and pondered deeply on Love’s actions if, when it comes to the point, he can speak of his own failing love in these terms: love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). In such love, however, contemplation comes to blossom in the truth of a human life; it shows whether the person has really been contemplating in the Christian sense or not. It shows whether he has really acted so as to allow God’s Word to be paramount in his life, God’s truth and love to triumph over his untruth and egotism. This is what is meant by worshipping in spirit and in truth; it also involves renouncing ‘ultimate knowledge’ for the sake of ‘ultimate love’. Far ‘as for knowledge, it will pass away… But love never ends’ (1Corinthians 13:8). The love which surpasses knowledge can only be ‘known’ (Ephesians 3:19) in something more-than-knowledge, which is in fact love itself, a loving together with God and from God, just as God’s truth is one with His life of love which pours forth in a threefold stream.” —–An excerpt from “Prayer” by Hans Urs Von Balthasar
“Hope, a striking painting by Frederick Watts, hangs in the Tate Gallery in London. A beautiful, blindfolded woman is sitting on top of a globe. In her hand she holds a lute. All but one of the strings are broken. She touches the one string with her finger and bends forward, listening. She is filled with hope – believing the best in the worst possible circumstances. As long as hope is alive, life cannot get us down; we will not snap under the weight of our problems or afflictions. God is able to turn the worst situations around. Where hope exists, no night can be completely dark. Hope fills our hearts with joy even when ournhearts are breaking. It is hope that gives us an invincible spirit. This sinful world only knows about a hopeless end; the Christian knows an endless hope!” —– An excerpt from “Walking With God” by Solly Ozrovech
The name of God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, But “the hand of God lives behind every event. A He is there, I’m saying, I mentioned, yet working all things together and turning every event around to fulfill His purposes. Esther is the Book of the Unmentioned God. And the Book of the Unmentioned God is a most holy book. It’s the book that speaks of all the times you don’t feel the presence of God, when you don’t hear His voice, when you don’t see His hand, when there’s no sign of His love or purpose, and when He .seems far away or not there at all. So when all you see is darkness, that is the time of the Book of the Unmentioned God. And it’s telling you this: Even though you don’t feel His presence, it is there still. Even though you don’t see his hand, it is still moving. Even when you don’t hear His voice, He is still speaking, even in the silence. Even when you feel abandoned and alone, still His love is there. And even when He seems hopelessly far away from you, He is still right there beside you, working every detail in your life but for His purposes and your redemption. And in the end, the light will break the darkness, the good will prevail, and you will know that you were never alone. He was with you all along. And it was holy. It was the time of your Book of the Unmentioned God.” —–An excerpt from “The Book of Mysteries” by Jonathan Cahn
After stating yesterday how prayer is a simple conversation with God, I found this verse in the Mirror Bible. It’s Ephesians 6:18. “Prayer is an ongoing conversation; Praying in the spirit includes every form of prayer, whether it be a prayer request or a prayer of thanksgiving or worship or interceding for all to realize their saintly innocence. Oh, and remember, you do not have to do all the talking! Always be attentive to the voice of the Spirit. (Prayer is so much more than a one-way conversation.)”
Brennan Manning never ceases to amaze me with his beautiful stories. This one is found in his book, “Abba’s Child”. It’s about a dying old man who tells the priest who came to give him the Last Rites about how he learned to pray. For years, he didn’t know how to pray till his friend suggested this. Since prayer is just a matter of conversation with Jesus, he told him to sit down on the chair, place an empty chair in front of him, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. “It’s not spooky because He promised, I’ll be with you all days. Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.” He tried it and he liked it so much that he continued to do it a couple of hours each day. The priest was deeply moved by the story. Two days later his daughter informed the priest of her father’s death. She told the priest that when she found him dead, there was something strange, even weird. She said, “Apparently just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside his bed”. Previously, Brennan was writing about John, the disciple that Jesus loved, who laid his head on Jesus’ breast and heard the heartbeat of the Rabbi.
In Brennan Manning’s book, “Abba Child”, he wrote that John, “the disciple Jesus loved”, did not believe that Jesus was the most important thing, he believed that Jesus was the only thing. Then I read a sentence from the book, “Prayer”, by Hans Urs von Balthasar, that just stood out to me like it was lit up with flashing lights. To me it just said exactly what I, and probably many others seeking the Lord, wants this brand new year, just this one beautiful awesome request. “LOVE DESIRES TO DWELL AT PEACE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE BELOVED.” WOW! That says it all. It also could be the subtitle of the picture, “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt. It truly is one of my favorites because it reminds me of the Bridegroom embracing His bride. It so aptly decribes the verse in Song of Solomon 2:6, “His left hand is under my head, and His right hand embraces me.” (You can find it on the Internet.)