BREATH PRAYER: FATHER, transform my heart in this ordinary time.
Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with silence. Set a timer for 1, 3, or 5 minutes so you can be free to rest and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read the centering verse above slowly (aloud or silently).
- Pause for a few moments of silence, then pray this week’s breath prayer.
At any time in our lives, we are in a season where we are either making a challenging decision, or we are in a situation where we need the guidance of another. Discernment is the practice of opening ourselves up the God’s voice and direction in our lives for these instances. It may be tempting to believe that discernment is reserved only for super-Christians who are extremely spiritually mature. The good news is that belief is not really supported by scripture:
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
In your journal write out the decision that you are making or the situation in which you need God’s guidance.
Ask yourself this question: Am I willing, as St. Ignatius said, to “trust that what God wants for me is my deepest happiness?”
- If the answer to that question is “yes,” then rest for a moment in His love for you.
- If you struggle with that question, do not be discouraged. You have just identified an important need for your Heavenly Father to address. Feel free to camp out on this question for as long as you need. Inviting the Father to lead you to this level of trust may be the only thing that He would have you do today with this practice, and that is perfectly fine.
Ask the Spirit to reveal to you any self-imposed filters on your decision making. These filters could include attachments to things such as comfort, approval, pleasure, etc. They could also include past hurts, personal agendas, as so on. You may even want to pray a prayer of indifference such as Lord, please make me indifferent to anything but Your will. Again, feel free to camp out on this as long as you need. This may be all He wants you to do today.
Now take your question/situation to the Lord. Ask Him to reveal His thoughts and His will to you. Be willing to wait for the answer. As Jesus said in John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Write down what comes to mind in your journal.
Once you feel you have an answer, test it.
- Does this answer line up with scripture that you know?
- Does this answer bring you consolation (peace, patience, joy, and other life-giving feelings of the Spirit) or desolation (fear, anxiety, confusion, frustration)?
- Pray back through the answer and ask for the Lord’s clarity.
Lastly, in the words of Adele Calhoun, “Offer your choice to God. Pray for wisdom and the freedom of the Spirit to blow through you. Wait. Ask God to bring to your heart and head and spirit into agreement. Do they all confirm this course of action?”
Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.
Closing: Jesus, transform my heart in this ordinary time.
If you are unsure how to begin listening for God’s voice and leading in your life, listen to this message by Larry Green, given at the Parish. Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com for more information or help with these practices.