Planted in darkness

All I wanted was the light,

but all I could see was darkness.

In every direction, I searched and

discovered more soil and worms.

So I shifted my attention away from the world around me

and turned inward.

I focused on the only good thing I could think of:

my desire for the light,

and my longing for it grew.

It continually expanded

until I suddenly found myself

bursting through a surface I didn’t know existed,

into a greater radiance than I’d ever imagined.

Within me, all around me …

everything shined with love.

All of creation encouraged me to bloom.

I wouldn’t trade my experience underground for anything.

How else would I have discovered what I’m made of?

How else could I realize how powerful I am?

I’ll spend the rest of my life planting seeds of light

and watching them grow.

Keep praying

You’re not wasting time …

You’re not living in a fantasy…

You’re not leaving the real work for someone else.

When you open your heart in prayer,

you enter an invisible battlefield not everyone knows about.

It takes courage to stand in faith against the darkness –

I hope you persevere in the light.

Your efforts may be invisible,

but the outcome will impact everything we see.

Planted in darkness

All I wanted was the light,

but all I could see was darkness.

In every direction, I searched and

discovered more soil and worms.

So I shifted my attention away from the world around me

and turned inward.

I focused on the only good thing I could think of:

my desire for the light,

and my longing for it grew.

It continually expanded

until I suddenly found myself

bursting through a surface I didn’t know existed,

into a greater radiance than I’d ever imagined.

Within me, all around me …

everything shined with love.

All of creation encouraged me to bloom.

I wouldn’t trade my experience of darkness for anything –

how else would I have discovered what I’m made of?

How else could I realize know how powerful I am?

I’ll spend the rest of my life planting seeds of light for others.

 

The problem with contemplative prayer

When we spend time in silence contemplating God’s powerful unconditional love for us, He pours the perfection of His Spirit into us. It’s a beautiful thing.

James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” 

Contemplative prayer gives our Heavenly Father an opportunity to pour His miraculous gifts into us. God is the source of everything good that we could ever possibly want in our lives including joy, love, healing, power, peace and so much more.

The problem with contemplative prayer is not with God: It’s with us. 

The more time we allow Him to pour divine love into us, the more we discover all the the clogged places in us, which prevent His Love from flowing freely through us into the world. Resentments, fears, limiting beliefs and unhealed emotional wounds are a few examples of the guck we unconsciously hold onto, which block us from experiencing healing and miracles.

Often, when we enter into contemplative prayer and start to notice our own negativity instead of the mystical revelations from God we’d hoped for, we decide we’re not good at prayer and run for the hills.  Though that is understandable because it’s scary to realize how far we are from perfect unity with God …

I’m here to tell you: Don’t quit.

If you continue to retreat into the silence of contemplation of God’s infinite goodness, He can liberate you from everything holding you back from fully experiencing His love and pouring it into the world, which so desperately needs it. 

Thomas Merton said “We are able to decide whether we ourselves, and that portion of the world which is ours, shall become aware of His presence, consecrated by it, and transfigured by it’s light.”

The question is: will you persevere in prayer through the obstacles or not? 

I encourage you to educate yourself about the power of faith and prioritize taking time to meditate on God’s infinite love for you. Invite Christ’s love, mercy, forgiveness and healing power into the darker parts of yourself, and never give up until you’re free of them and experiencing the fullness of life in Christ.

Unity with God is a lifelong process, but perseverence in prayer pays off in the short run too.  Even just one encounter with God’s love for you will change your life in the best possible way.

Prayer

God, please inspire anyone reading this to step away from the frenetic pace of modern life to spend some time in silence focusing on Your goodness and love. Infuse them with the grace of motivation to persevere in prayer, even when it requires them to confront parts of themselves they’d rather not see. Fill them with Your Spirit, and give them a life changing encounter with Your Love, along with the grace to persevere through all inner healing and trials they encounter until they rest secure in perfect unity with You. Amen.

Action step 

Set aside some time each day (even just 15 minutes in the morning before the household wakes up) to allow God to pour the richess of His love into You. Try saying an Our Father or a simple invocation for God to fill You with the Holy Spirit, then rest in His love for you. Just keep returning your thoughts to God and patiently work through any distractions until you learn to “be still and know that I am God.” Another option is to read a scripture verse and ask God to fill you with the Spirit to understand it.

 

 

Do you really believe in the power of prayer?

“The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give it.” – E.M. Bounds

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer because I’ve experienced it.

After years of hoping, longing and praying for healing of a beloved family member, who was suffering with physical and mental illness, I was devestated when my baby was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

It felt like a continuation of the same old pain. Was it my destiny to suffer helplessly alongside yet another loved one? When would this pattern of heartache end in my life?

God decided it was time to step in and took me on an adventure of faith, which forever changed my life.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When I told a friend from church about my son’s diagnosis, she told me we had a local priest, who was known for having the gift of healing. I took my son to visit that priest at his retirement home, where he layed hands on us and prayed in tongues. I’d never heard anyone do this before and thought it sounded like the elivish language from Lord of the Rings. It was a sweet and positive experience for us.

He sent me home with a stack of books about Catholic healing prayer and particularly steered me toward a book about intergenerational healing, which illustrates how Jesus is the Divine Physician, who can heal family patterns when we address them in prayer. I had never heard this concept before but was struck by the powerful energy I felt, while reading the prayers because I’d never experienced anything like it.

As often as I could, I absorbed myself into the healing prayers he gave me. Every night, when I rocked my baby to sleep, I layed hands on him and prayed like the healing priest and began to have increasingly powerful and undeniable experiences of the Holy Spirit, while I prayed. It was like electricity, and before long it was like I could sense a dark cloud lifting off of my son. As strange as it may sound depending on what your experiences with the Holy Spirit have been, it felt as natural as breathing even though I’d never experienced it before.

Through prayer, I gradually shifted from having hope that God would heal my baby to having complete faith that God was healing him through prayer. Though I followed all of his nephrologist’s orders about medications during that time, I spent all my extra time absorbing scripture about Jesus’s miracles, praying and reading other people’s testimonies about miraculous healings.

Looking back, I see clearly how God filled me with the grace of faith during that time until one day in prayer I was given the strongest and most complete certainty not that my baby would be healed but that he had been one hundred percent healed by God.

I was so sure he had been healed that I called his doctor to ask if there would be negative effects from staying on his medication even though he’d been miraculously healed. The nurse probably thought I was crazy and told me to keep him on his meds, which I did to be responsible. But within weeks scans proved that what was supposed to be a chronic, lifelong condition had been miraculously healed in my son. His doctors were as thrilled as I was and open to hearing my side of the story since they didn’t have a medical explanation for his healing.

I went from someone, who had hoped and prayed for miracles for a very long time to someone, who was filled with a deep knowing of the power of God to heal.

Basically since that time, I have reordered my entire life around following Christ to the best of my abilities.

I’ve shared this story at church retreats, and it was published in a book called I Believe in Healing by Cecil Murphy. I hope and pray that sharing this story can help others believe in God’s miraculous healing power and experience more of it in their own lives.

I find I continually have more to learn about a life of faith and prayer, and I am happy to continue to absorb myself into learning and experiencing as much as I can about healing prayer, the spiritual journey, mysticism and contemplative prayer. I’m currently taking master’s level classes on the Theology of Spirituality at The Avila Institute because I want to continue drawing closer to the Lord and gaining wisdom to help others on their own faith journeys. 

It turns out the priest who prayed over my son was known for more than a gift of healing. He was a nationally reknowned champion of social justice, whose dying wish was for his groundbreaking work in our community to carry on. Social justice is a passion of mine as well, so  I’m also in the Marvin Mottet Leadership training academy throughout this year and hoping to carry on in his tradition of healing prayer, faith and seeking equality and justice for all with my words and actions, however God calls me to.

I’m not sure how that all will pan out, but that same “still small voice” that told me my son was healed is telling me it’s time to share my faith through writing. So I pray for the grace to do more of that in the coming year. Please pray for God to work through my words to increase faith and miracles in the world.

Do you have a miracle story to share? Witness is a powerful thing. Please share in the comments to help build the faith of this community.

Do you need a miracle? Please feel free to list prayer requests, and I’ll be happy to lift you up in prayer or provide any guidance I can. 

God, please unleash an outpouring of Your Spirit of Truth, Love, Peace and Healing on anyone, who reads these words, and bless them in the way they most need right now. Thank You Jesus and praise You forever! 

The Power of Mothers who Pray

Do you believe in the power of a mother's prayers?

Is there anything more powerful than a mother who prays?
She doesn’t look like much, I know …
on bended knee, alone
But isn’t there something about a woman who opens her heart to the Lord?
Who is brave enough to realize her own vulnerability in loving these children so much?
Who is strong enough to admit she can’t raise them alone?

Is there anything more powerful than a mother who puts her trust in the Lord?
She seems a little crazy, I know.
Pouring her heart out to a man, who is invisible.
But isn’t there something about a woman, who is wise enough to let go of her illusions of control?
Who is brave enough to admit that even Her love for them isn’t enough?
Who is strong enough to believe a sacred truth she can feel deep in her soul?

What about a group of mothers who pray together?
Busy women, who take time out of their schedules to meet each week,
entrusting each other and God with their concerns?

What about the mothers, who are brave enough
to unite in faith and friendship,
lifting each other up and praying
as passionately for the needs of each other’s children as their own?

What about a group of women,
who open their hearts to lift up the needs of a larger family,
a school?
an entire community?
children they may never know?
How powerful can they be?

I’m not kidding myself.
I know that even together, we don’t have the power to move mountains or part seas.
But I also know the deeper truth that
United in prayer as mothers,
we can expect to see God do even greater things.
I pray He gives us the eyes to see His miraculous love all around us.

Reflection: Are you a praying mama? If not, how can you incorporate more prayer into your busy life? 

Prayer: God bless women to be inspired to turn to you and entrust their children to You. Help increase faith and trust in You! 

Action Step: Get up 15 minutes early to spend time in contemplative prayer! Have you tried lectio Divina? Grab some girlfriends and meet weekly to pray together!