Author Topic: Listening during Prayer  (Read 3378 times)

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Offline Marat

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Listening during Prayer
« on: June 16, 2009, 10:22:51 PM »
Hey All

I would like to get some input from you regarding something with which I'm struggling. There are some matters which I've been praying about and I don't really know what I'm doing. I ask for wisdom and guidance to know God's will but I have absolutely no idea of how to listen for an answer. Sitting in silence doesn't seem to do anything. I'm afraid of being misled by emotions which is what led me to my time in the Mormon Church. I asked my priest (Catholic) about this and he didn't help much. He told me it differs from person to person and try to remain in silence during prayer until I learned how to hear. I try but since I don't know what I'm doing it is very frustrating. Do you have suggestions? Something that has helped in your own life or a website or book to read? I'm willing to try whatever. It seems my prayers are only me talking and I want very much for it to be more like a conversation. You get to know someone by communicating WITH them, not talking at them. Is prayer life not the same? How can I learn to communicate with God through prayer when it ends up as only me talking?

I feel rather embarrassed asking this. It seems like I'm the only one who struggles with this, which I know can't be true.

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Listening during Prayer
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 11:43:02 PM »
I can only recount recent experiences from my life.

Recently I too was struggiling as to what decisions to make, where to go, where to turn. I was paralyzed by fear, and couldn't move. I didn't know which direction to turn.

In speaking with my Spiritual Father, I lamented how I was waiting for God to show His plan to me. I explained how I had this image in my head of Wile E. Coyote, and the blue print he had to capture the Road Runner.

My Spiritual Father responded, "Yes, he had the blueprint, and what happened to him? An anvil fell on his head, the power went out. Things never worked for him. So stop waiting and start LIVING or an anvil will fall on your head!"  :laugh:

After that talk I was able to make the first step, which led to another, which led to another...

« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 11:44:17 PM by HandmaidenofGod »
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Listening during Prayer
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 12:02:56 AM »

I sympathize with your situation.  However, I would be hard pressed to find any of the great ascetics and monks who would regard prayer as "conversation" with God.  I could be wrong though and I will invite correction.  Your situation does seem to dictate that there is an emptiness when you pray, a sense of a void. 
This could be because you are young in your prayer/spiritual life and that is nothing to be embarassed about or ashamed of as we are all there at one time or another and, for me,  a lot of times.

My advice:  Keep things simple.  The prayers of the Church are priceless treasures.  I so wrapped myself in them because the words of these prayers expressed what I had so long wish to express with my own heart but didn't have the ability to do so.  ANd it was only by constant immersion and adopting a consistent rule of prayer that I was able to come out of the dark.  But, I didn't just start using all of them--I worked into them.  I 'd recommend you do the same.  Keep the same hours of prayer, as you rise and as you are about to go to bed.  Then add more prayers and see what happens there.  Many others have icons in their prayer corners, some incense, candles burner, some may even play Orthodox chants in the background (that's a little much for me).  The point is you want to make sure that your prayer is totally undistracted which is really tough to do.  Just I advise my students to have a special place for them to study so you should also have a special place for you to pray.

You say your Catholic priest was not able to help you.  Have you considered asking an Orthodox priest for his advice.  I don't know if you are interested in converting.  But you may wish to seek out an Orthodox priest and see what he thinks.  If you are interested in some resources on prayer, I would recommend The ARt of Prayer:  An Orthodox Anthology which has a lot of gems from mainly Russian saints and ascetics like St. Theophan the Recluse, St. Dimitri of Rostov, etc.  But I would only undertake this work under the guidance of a father confessor. 

One more thing--give yourself a break.  It is impossible for one to ascend the Cross on Golgotha and not fall, but that is why it is all the more important for you to pick yourself up and try again.  In the spritual life and warfare, it is way to easy to get frustrated and, as a result, try to make up for it as if we are appeasing some wrathful God.  It's easy to fall into that trap.  But don't let yourself especially as our God is merciful and compassionate who has mercy on sinners. 

Good luck with your endeavours.
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Marat

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Re: Listening during Prayer
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2009, 12:17:37 AM »
Thank you for your responses. I didn't mean to come across as wishing for a full blown running dialogue. I meant only that it seems I'm talking and that is the end of it. I'm not looking for thunderbolts and booming voices of instruction. I want instead some confirmation of some kind to let me know I'm on the right (or wrong) path. As far as interest in converting, it is funny you mention that because that is one of the two areas of which I am seeking guidance. Maybe I'll ask the priest at the Orthodox parish next time I attend, which will probably be this weekend. It seems I'm spinning my wheels and never making any spiritual progress. It is frustrating.

Offline GammaRay

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Re: Listening during Prayer
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2009, 08:55:57 AM »
Don't worry that much. The fact that you're still seeking God means that it's just a temporary test.
That's what I think.
Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.

Offline Lauren_Elisse

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Re: Listening during Prayer
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2010, 01:42:18 AM »
Before you pray try listening to calming music, I usually listen to Orthodox chants, they give me a sense of peace and warmth. But zone out to those and after a while you will feel the Holy Spirit.
When you feel this, say the Jesus Prayer
"Oh Lord, Jesus Christ, the son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner"
use this throughout the day and before you sleep and when ever things are bad.
and feel every single bit of repentance that you can and you will feel his love.
I have never really been one to see a prayer as a literal face to face conversation with Christ. Even though that is what it is.
Don't jump, baby steps are good.
Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.