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Sanctuary of the Soul
Stepping into Meditative Prayer – Part2
SANCTUARY OF THE SOUL
Based on the book:Sanctuary of the Soul: Journeyinto Meditative Prayer by Richard Foster,InterVarsityPress, 2011.
Opening PrayerDag Hammarskjold’s Prayer
Giveme a pure heart—that I may see Thee,Ahumble heart—that I may hear Thee,Aheart of love—that I may serve Thee,Aheart of faith—that I may abide in Thee.
Second Step of Meditative Prayer
Foster calls this step “beholding the Lord”Beholding the Lord speaks of an inward steady gaze of the heart upon God, the divine Center. We bask in the warmth of God’s presence. We soak in God’s love and care. The soul, ushered into the Holy Place, is transfixed by what she sees.(p. 69)RichardRolle(1290-1349), the hermit ofHampoleexperienced this warming of the heartIfelt within me a merry and unknown heat...I was expert it was not from a creature but from my Maker, as it grew hotter and more glad.RichardRolle
Madame JeanneGuyon
French widow who became a mysticSpent some years following her spiritual director Father Lacombe, and in trying to spread her concept of dwelling continuously in the presence of GodFrancois Fenelon became her student after they were introduced by the Duchess de Bethune-CharrostHer quietist ideas led to her arrestSpent 7 years in the Bastille
Guyon’sMethod of Meditation
Read a portion of scripture and pauseDuring the pause, turn your mind to the Spirit of ChristMain focus should be turning ourselves toward the things of GodAcquiring knowledge is not the primary goal for reading scripture in this wayAs you become aware of God’s presence, lift up your heartSpend time waiting on God while turning your attention to your spirit where the Lord has promised to dwellHere you will meet GodThere in God’s presence we will be fed with the scripture we’ve readThen we are to “swallow what we have tasted”
Some Simple Suggestions
Foster suggests 3 simple ways to step into the experience of “beholding the Lord”While in nature, take in the reflected glory of God that remains even in a fallen world (Romans 1:20)Find music that gently leads you into the presence of GodConsider simple silenceAllow the Spirit of God to intercede “with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26)Rest in God’s embrace
Inward Attentiveness
Be silent, and listen to God. Let your heart be in such a state of preparation that his Spirit may impress upon you such virtues as will please him. Let all within you listen to him. This silence of all outward and earthly affection and of human thoughts within us is essential if we are to hear his voice.FrancoisFenelonListening is the third step of meditative prayerA time when our physical activity, plans and emotions stand still while “our spirit is on tiptoe, alert and listening”God’s command during the Transfiguration was to listen to Jesus (Matthew 17:5)
Recognizing God’s Voice
How do we distinguish between the voice of God & our own thoughtsMost frequent advice is to consider scripture, circumstances, and inner promptings in combinationThis is helpful, but seems incompleteDallasWilliardinHearing GodThe quality of the voice of GodHas a certain weight, persistence, and authorityThe Spirit of the voice of God (James 3:17)Full of peacefulness, joy, and treats others with loving-kindnessHas continuity with the Spirit of JesusThe content of the voice of GodWill be coherent with the God we know from Bible and tradition
Effects of Listening to/for the Voice of God
We will not always be able to comprehend and interpret God’s voice correctlyWe will become more willing to be taught by the Spirit of GodWith this willing and obedient heart, God will lead us into a life of abundance (Is 1:19)Voice of God is quietGod will speak in a way that is particularly suited for each individualGod’s voice will often lead us act in service for our neighbor (to meet the specific need of someone)
A Life of Prayer
Brother Lawrence experienced this prayer life as his entire lifeThe time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in a great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.Brother Lawrence

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Sanctuary of the Soul - stjohnadulted.org