Prayer Fills Us With God’s Presence

Today’s reading is a poem written by Augustine of Hippo as a prayer to the Holy Spirit. He is asking for the Holy Spirit to be present in him, to act in him, draw his heart, strengthen and guard him, all to be more holy himself. This is a great prayer for us to pray as well. I found something he also said about prayer from this website.

Here is what I thought was good and true:

St. Augustine on Prayer

According to St. Augustine, we need not pray for what we need because God already knows what we need before we even ask. Instead, we ought to pray, he suggests, to increase our desire for God, and so that we might be able to receive what He is preparing to give us.

“The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive the gift, which is very great indeed. …. The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruits. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing (1 Thes5:16), he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him alone who is able to give it.”
(Letter 130)

Trail to the Tree

The scripture reading is about when Jesus was on the cross and He was in total separation from God and asked, ” Why have You forsaken Me?”

Ann says: Today, repent. Name the ugly sins that crucified Him. Write down your idols and angry heart, your lies, your gossip, your envy and pride. See what caused His stripes. Nail the paper to a tree. Die to the old you. Feel His wounds. Touch His pain. Be washed in His blood.

Are you prepared to be crucified with Christ?

When I was first saved I watched Jesus of Nazareth, The Gospel of John and The Passion of The Christ many times even after my salvation experience with The Gospel of John. I wanted to understand everything Jesus said and did so much. One thing that hit me during one of the times watching was the darkness that fell when He was on the cross. I didn’t understand His words for awhile but one day I heard Him say, ” Why have You forsaken Me?” and I realized God was away from Him for the first time in His life. The darkness was what Jesus felt because He was dying for all the sins of humanity. God being sinless cannot be in the presence of sin.  Jesus was experiencing what it’s like to be out of God’s presence. He knows the hell that comes from the absence of God. Anyone who has not received Jesus’ sacrifice is in this “hell”. I was there, I know what it’s like. I described it in my journal as a long dark tunnel and at the time I only saw glimmers of light. I felt hell in my mind. It’s hard to explain unless you have experienced it but when I saw Jesus on the cross in darkness, I knew God left Him. I knew Jesus felt what we feel. He is a Savior who can relate to our sufferings as it says in Hebrews 2:18,  Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.

This is why prayer is so important. It connects us to God. When we aren’t connecting we feel a sadness, an emptiness inside, we feel forsaken. We think it’s a void to be filled with things but I have learned true fufillment is in God’s presence. I have also learned something else the past couple days about prayer. The Holy Spirit has revealed to me that when I pray for something like protection, I have been saying, protect me in this car, protect my kids at school. These are 2 examples that He has shown me where the prayers are fearful, they aren’t based in trust. I realized this when I read in my Jesus Calling book to trust Jesus deeply. I also paid attention to how I feel when I say, ” Protect us in this car.” There is a level of fear there. But when I say,” I trust You, Jesus. Thank you for getting us there safe.” Even before we have arrived if I pray this, I’m trusting Jesus to do what He said He would do. He said He would never leave us. When I say this prayer I feel a sense of relief and comfort. The first prayer is living in darkness, the second prayer is living in the light. God is pleased with our faith and trust. He knows we really believe when our prayer reflects this to Him. I pray for the Holy Spirit to show me when my prayers are fearful and to help me change them into trust, Amen.

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