Hello and welcome to Two Hearts True Healing. I am your host Jacinta Wick. This is Season Two Belonging, A Father’s Authority, Episode 11. You know what? Nothing is as peaceful as early in the morning (late at night for me) when the children are sleeping and I have blessed silence to reflect, ponder, study, and receive God’s Word or just to be with Him and talk. It is so peaceful with all the background noises of the house and just me and the Lord and perhaps a cup of tea or scripture. That reminds me of verse five in our passage (Sirach 39:1-22). He will set his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him, and will make supplication before the Most High; he will open his mouth in prayer and make supplication for his sins. Let’s keep going in the passage and then I will pull out the methods that God is asking us to use to talk with Him.

If the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding; he will pour forth words of wisdom and give thanks to the Lord in prayer. He will direct his counsel and knowledge rightly, and meditate on his secrets. He will reveal instruction in his teaching, and will glory in the law of the Lord’s covenant. Many will praise his understanding and it will never be blotted out; his memory will not disappear, and his name will live through all generations…ascribe majesty to his name and give thanks to him with praise, with songs on your lips, and with lyres; and this you shall say in thanksgiving.

  1. Words
  2. Understanding
  3. Thanksgiving
  4. Meditation/Study/Reflect
  5. Instruction/Direction
  6. Law/Revelation
  7. Live/dwell/Entering the presence (Contemplation)
  8. Covenant/promise (resolution)
  9. Memory
  10. Praise
  11. Ascribe majesty (adoration)
  12. Music

These are 12 forms of prayer that we can pull out of this passage. Notice the first sentence, If the great Lord is willing…That of course means it begins with God’s infusion and builds to our response to His invitation. All things are the works of the Lord, for they are very good, and whatever he commands will be done in his time. Some is our cooperative effort and the rest is God’s grace poured into us. It is a marriage of both. (Remember the Holy Spirit groans with inexpressible groanings within us in the last episode?) It is a work of both God and man. These twelve things happen in the process of prayer. It begins with either our words or God’s and is filled with a growing understanding. We thank Him for the knowledge He gives us and then we dig deeper and hash out all the details and put ourselves in the place we have been shown. A fancy word St. Ignatius uses for this is Composition of Place. That means if we are meditating on the woman at the well for instance, we would put ourselves there either as the woman or the townspeople or the apostles or just another onlooker present and build with our imagination and see what sticks out to us, a word or phrase or happening. We let it direct us. This is our work that brings us higher and closer to God. The next three are God’s action. Instruction/Direction, Revelation, and Contemplation. The fruit of what we have been doing is next. A resolution or action we promise to make that needs growth in our lives.

Memory is the next piece which is very important. That is where journaling comes in. When we write down what God has been showing us then we can start to see threads and themes and movements of where our hearts are. We actually begin to see what it is God is saying. But, most importantly, in hard times we can turn back and draw consolation from what God has said to us. It is a promise to us that grows hope. Spiritual amnesia is very dangerous for our souls and can separate us from God and make us dead. God is a God of the living. (See Episode Two of Season One for the scientific reasons of journaling with waking up the analytic left brain as all this imagining comes from the right brain.)

We close our time with praise and adoration. Music is a whole ‘nother category of prayer. In fact, St. Augustine says, “He who sings prays twice.” There are many forms of prayer music, (Liturgy of the Hours–chanting of psalms, Chant-like at Mass, hymns, songs, praise and worship, soaking music). These all have their rightful places and lead into the silence which grows the steps of prayer and back into praise and adoration. Music becomes a commentary on our prayer and feeds it and prayer becomes the mold of our music.

So prayer and our conversatio becomes beautiful over time. (verse 14) send forth fragrance like frankincense, and put forth blossoms like a lily. Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise;   Bless the Lord for all his works;… In order to do this, we have to do this daily. The fruits of prayer cannot all be felt at once. It is like meat in marinade that is slow roasted. No one can say, “What is this?” “Why is that?” for in God’s time all things will be sought after. At his word the waters stood in a heap, and the reservoirs of water at the word of his mouth. At his command whatever pleases him is done, and none can limit his saving power. So like springs of water, we are fed and this water quenches our thirst. It is both our action and God’s action in an intricate intimacy. God is VERY generous to us and cannot be outdone. His blessing covers the dry land like a river, and drenches it like a flood. The nations will incur his wrath, just as he turns fresh water into salt. So it rests on our response to His invitation. I don’t know about you, but I would like to stay on the side of mercy and not make myself known to His wrath. In life, there are consequences to decisions made and it is no different in prayer. We must start young and plant many seeds of prayer in our children. (Like from time to time saying a prayer out loud or giving them quality time or ordaining certain times of the day for silence with clear cut boundaries and consequences if they do not follow. We are doing them a favor when we give them clear guidelines in how to have rhythms. But best of all we teach by example.

There is great significance in water. Let’s take a look at what the catechism says on prayer. Start with paragraph #2560 “If you knew the gift of God!” (John 4:10 remember when I mentioned the woman at the well earlier?) The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him. (St. Augustine)

#2561 “You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns that can hold no water!” (Jerimiah 2:13) Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God. End of quote. We will talk about this separate theme of intercession and petition in the next episode.

The CCC then lists two functions of prayer and it is here that we will end. 

  1. Prayer as a Covenant
  2. Prayer as Communion

#2562 Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or spirit but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.

#2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation; it is the place of covenant.

You read CCC 2564 where it talks about both the work of God and man in prayer.

The paragraph we just finished brings us to a paragraph on relationship in #2699. This talks of three forms of prayer: vocal, meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This then leads us to #1696 How we live. So it goes back to our action as the fruit of prayer. See the cycle?

Let’s turn to the New Testament passage to begin looking at Prayer as Communion. Matthew 16:13-19 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philipi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” At first glance, this may not seem like a passage on prayer. But who do we pray to? God the Father? Well yes, but isn’t there another two persons in the Trinity? Yes. It seems it needs to be established who Jesus is. Do we have general knowledge of Him? Jesus doesn’t stop there though does He. He wants to take us a step deeper. “Who do you say that I am?” Now that is very up close and personal. We can’t stop at head knowledge. Prayer is not a completely intellectual intercourse, though, we do use our intellect for prayer. Is it a dry list of vocal mutterings? No. That’s just empty garbage.

The key is in the next part of the passage. Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Hmmm. Flesh and Blood. Revelation. Death and Resurrection.. (Bar-Jona) Our human spirit can only go so far. The rest is God the Father’s revelation to us through Jesus. And Jesus bestows headship and guardianship to Peter because of his openness to hear. Belonging needs to have boundaries. These boundaries come from listening with an open heart and responding in faith. There is a definite headship in the kingdom starting with the Pope and down through the bishops and their ministers the priests who in turn pass it on to the heads of families. Patriarchal.

It is personal and it is communal. For we relate singly and as a body. And this body has a head and heart and many members. Each with their own function. Living Stones with Christ Jesus as the capstone. As I said, authority is given to the head and this head is given the authority to bind and loose and by nature of our baptism we share in this. We cannot be willy-nilly though we can have popcorn prayers throughout the day. We pray when we are called to pray. And out of this fullness we give. Our service and our love come from this relationship. And this is at the heart of belonging. That personal knowledge of God. Yes it starts with the intellect but it needs to make the 12 foot drop from head to heart. Nothing else matters but in resting firmly on the Rock and staying united with the community. What affects one affects all. We walk together and carry many souls on our back who would be nowhere without us and our response to God’s Mercy and His call. 

The Psalm really frames this episode very well. Do not fret because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and be nourished in safety. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your vindication as the light, and your right as the noonday. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him…(Psalm 37:1-7a)  Please take the rest of this psalm as a lesson in how to form your heart in prayer and just soak in it.

I want to close our time with a quote from a famous person who was a huge light in her time and is still affecting people but somehow is beginning to lose popularity in this present time becoming veiled and hidden. We need to go back to our roots so history doesn’t repeat itself. It would be a shame to lose what was given to us by those before us. Corrie ten Boom says to us, “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.”

Your homework for this episode is to take your catechism and read paragraph #2565-2568 and use the cross references to deepen your knowledge of what we are discussing. If you have a hard time with the book a handy little app is the Ascension App which has the bible and the catechism and the daily readings and lots of other little tidbits with both the bible in a year and the Catechism in a year along with many questions and answers. (I am not affiliated with them or sponsored in this episode).
If something touched you in this episode, share it with a friend and bring them on board. I can only bring God’s message as far as you bring it and rely on you to help me pass the torch. I also would love to hear from you in how you are doing in your walk and support you in any way I can in your journey. You can always reach me at twoheartstruehealing@outlook.com or www.twoheartstruehealing.com in the contact section. Know I am praying for you and holding you up. Until next time! God Bless!

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