Enter His Presence: Rediscover the Joy of Approaching God

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The dove is the most common symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, it was a dove that signaled the end of the flood Gen When Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove Mt ; Mk ; Lk ; Jn The head of the dove is often surrounded by a nimbus or round halo-like sphere which may be solid, which represents holiness, or inlaid with three rays which indicates that the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

A Tongue of Fire or a Flame. Fire is an age-old symbol for God, whether it be God making the covenant with Abraham in a burning torch Gen , speaking to Moses from the burning bush Ex , guiding the Israelites with a column of fire Ex , or sending down fire to consume the holocaust offered by Elijah 1 Kgs Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire Lk The tongue is a metaphor for speech, and those who receive the Holy Spirit are to use their tongues to proclaim Christ and speak words of kindness.

The Wind. This symbol is very difficult to show artistically, but one of the key ways that Luke uses to describe the presence of the Holy Spirit Acts The Holy Spirit is present in the whispering wind 1 Kgs A Lamp. The Holy Spirit is the source of our inspiration, insight, mental illumination, revelation, guidance, and direction.

Rays of Light. It is love which is the voice of the heart. Love God and you will always be speaking to Him. The seed of love is growth in prayer.

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Ask God to open your heart and kindle in it a spark of His love and then you will begin to understand what praying means. If it is the heart that prays, it is evident that sometimes, and even continuously, it can pray by itself without any help from words, spoken or conceived. Here is something which few people understand and which some even entirely deny. They insist that there must be definite and formal acts. They are mistaken, and God has not yet taught them how the heart prays.

It is true that the thoughts are formed in the mind before they are clothed in words. The proof of this is that we often search for the right word and reject one after another until we find the right one which expresses our thoughts accurately. We need words to make ourselves intelligible to other people but not to the Spirit. It is the same with the feelings of the heart.

The heart conceives feelings and adopts them without any need of resorting to words, unless it wishes to communicate them to others or to make them clear to itself. For God reads the secrets of the heart. God reads its most intimate feelings, even those which we are not aware of.

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It is not necessary to make use of formal acts to make ourselves heard by God. Imagine a soul so closely united to God that it has no need for outward acts to remain attentive to the inward prayer. In these moments of silence and peace, when it pays no heed to what is happening within itself, it prays and prays excellently with a simple and direct prayer that God will understand perfectly by the action of grace. The heart will be full of aspirations towards God without any clear expression. Though they may elude our own consciousness, they will not escape the consciousness of God.

This prayer, so empty of all images and perceptions… apparently so passive and yet so active, is—as far as the limitations of this life allow—pure adoration in spirit and in truth. It is 36 The Road to True Intimacy adoration fully worthy of God in which the soul is united to Him as its ground, the created intelligence to the uncreated, without anything but very simple attention of the mind and as equally simple application of the will.

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This is what is called the prayer of silence, or quiet, or of bare faith. Another name for this kind of communion is contemplative prayer. Because of some superficial similarities it bears to certain occultic and New Age practices, it is extremely important that we have a crystal clear understanding of what contemplative prayer is—and what it is not. We will deal with that in the next chapter.

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Father, lead us into these forgotten ways. Silence the inner ragings of voices contending for our attention. Quiet our souls that we may know You and Your precious Son, Jesus. Holy Spirit, take Your liberty to write these laws on our hearts. Lord, we want to know You! What can be obstacles to greater intimacy with God? In your life, what are the hindrances to greater intimacy with God?

What does true communion with God require?

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Ibid, p. Arthur, ed. Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, , pp. Guyon, Experiencing God Through Prayer, pp. Henri J. Ibid, pp.

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Jude Jean Nicholas Grou, How to Pray. But you must meet some requirements in order to proceed farther into His presence and truly waste your life on Jesus.


John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, laid his head on the chest of Jesus. What did Lydia of Thyatira do?

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. She poured out her life on her newfound Lord and apparently consecrated her home for house church meetings. Although in practice it goes far beyond formulas, techniques, and methodologies, at heart it is really quite simple and basic.

Contemplative prayer is about our setting apart regular time specifically and exclusively for meeting the Lord. Contemplative prayer takes time, patience, discipline, and careful cultivation, not because God is elusive or distant, but because we have so many negative and unhealthy mental habits to unlearn. Many Christians today, although desperately hungry for intimacy with God, get nervous at the mention of words like contemplation, meditation, centering, and quietness, not to mention the ugly word discipline!

For 42 Understanding Contemplative Prayer this reason, many believers shy away from any involvement in the contemplative aspects of faith.

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This is unfortunate because all of these words relate to practices which, used rightly, are thoroughly biblical and are time-honored methods of drawing near to God. The problem is that for centuries the mainstream of the Christian Church has ignored and neglected them until they are virtually a lost art among believers today.

Once we understand what contemplative prayer is not, we can then delve deeply into what it is, as well as discover the benefits it can bring into our lives. It is not a para-psychological phenomenon. Christian contemplative prayer is not a New Age approach to selfimprovement, or an attempt to blank our minds and empty our heads.

Despite superficial appearances of similarity, there are significant differences between Christian contemplative prayer and Eastern meditation. Eastern traditions put the greater emphasis upon what self can do. Christian tradition recognizes that our unique individuality was created by God and for God as a vehicle for His expression in the world. Contemplative prayer presupposes a personal relationship with God, and it encompasses a voluntary desire to get in touch with our spiritual nature.

Eastern methods focus on what a person can do through focused concentration. Contemplative prayer focuses on surrendering to what only God can do. Contemplative prayer is not a relaxation exercise such as breathing techniques or yoga. It is a faith relationship where we open ourselves up to our living, personal, loving Father-God. Simply stated, Eastern meditation is man-centered while Christian contemplative prayer is thoroughly God-centered. That makes all the difference in the world. Here are some of their comments.

This age has allegedly replaced the age of Pisces, which represents the Christian era pisces—fish —Christian symbol.