Some of you may be wondering what I meant when I said you should use your imaginations when you pray. If you think about how you live your life, you use your imagination constantly. For instance, if you want to think about someone you love, you imagine them, or you may picture a past event clearly in your mind, While you may think of that as a memory, which it may be, you can only re-create it by using your mind and imagination. Your mind may recall the memory but it is your imagination which allows you to "see" what is happening. Obviously the person is not with you at that moment or the event is not happening in real time, so whatever you find yourself absorbed is in in part, due to your imagination.
Similarly when you think about the possiblity of future events, your "imagine" them in your mind. You use your imagination to create thoughts of pleasant things happening; a vacation, a night alone with your spouse or child or a time when you can relax and read a book or go for a walk. You may also find yourself imagining things which you find fearful. You may find yourself thinking about something negative occuring resulting from a bad choice you may have made or you may imagine something terrible happening to someone you love. With those thoughts come vivid images; some peaceful, pleasant and exciting while others may be troublesome and anxiety producing.
The point is, whether or not we are aware of it, we are constantly using our imaginations to think, process things and make decisions. Why should we expect our imaginations to leave us when we pray?
If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, you have to allow yourself to use your mind and imagination in order to feel His presence. While you can not "see" Him physically, he is present with you. Just as thoughts of someone you love can provide you with an immediate sense of calm, thoughts of Jesus will begin to produce the same sense of calm in your life. Over time you will begin to sense not only His presense but His direction and His deep love for you.
Allowing yourself to spend time with Jesus and patiently waiting for Him to "speak" to you takes practice, time and patience. For many of you, this will be a new experience which may make you feel awkward or simply uncomfortable. As you begin this new way to pray, do not get discouraged and do not get mad at yourself when you find it hard to concentrate or when you get distracted. You WILL get distracted!!
Next post we will talk about different ways to get started with this type of prayer. In the meantime, if you feel comfortable, try to take a little time at the end of your prayer time and just quietly sit and perhaps ask God if He has anything He wants to let you know. For now, just see what happens.
I can assure you of one thing. Even if you think nothing happens, SOMETHING is happening, because at that moment, you are telling God you have enough faith in Him to know He is there with you. By your requests and patience you are showing Him it is important for you to reach out to Him in order to experience this real relationship you keep hearing about. Believe me, THAT is pleasing to our Lord!
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I believe there is nothing in this world which can more positively impact or change our lives than a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
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