Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prayer: Communion with the Holy Spirit

     For years, I have struggled to learn to pray in such a way that I felt a spiritual connection rather than just a fulfillment of duty.  From the time that I was a small child, I've been taught that "God is waiting for us to say 'Goodnight'" and that the door to Godly inspiration is there if only we will open it.  Sadly, for me, it seemed that though I tried with all my might, the door would never open and I found myself spouting words that only seemed to bounce back.  I've also been taught that we need to pray for God's will and not our own - hmmm, another great stumbling block.  How could I know the will of the Lord in advance?  Is this prayer thing just a great guessing game in which I will always be a competitor and never receive the prize?
     Finally, a breakthrough has come.  As I recently read a talk given by a great spiritual teacher, I was reminded that the Holy Spirit most often speaks through feelings and impressions and that through prayer, we can come to know the will of the Lord in our lives.  Eureka!!!  Prayer is not intended to be the dutiful mutterings or haphazard guesswork that I had imagined but rather, it is the opportunity to approach Deity in an attitude of finding out what we need to ask for to live our lives in a way that will bring us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
     Now, when I kneel to pray, I try to think about what I should be grateful for and I listen for those feelings and impressions from the Spirit to enlighten my understanding before I utter my expressions.  Rather than asking for the things that I think I need and want in my life, I have begun to wait for inspiration to know what He would have me ask for so that I might become more like Him.
     What a difference it has made!  The Holy Spirit is truly there, even for me, a lowly, imperfect ,"wannabe" spiritual being.  The door is open for all of us to come unto Christ and finally I have the found the way to open it.  While I don't think that I have found the formula for spiritual communion for every one - (afterall, don't all of us have different needs?) - I can say that my faith has been greatly strengthened as I have come to know that when we seek diligently, we will find Him.  God is real, Jesus Christ lives, and we only need to listen for direction in our lives to know which paths we should travel.