Tending the Heart: Entering

Advocate. You who never leave me.

Holy Spirit. You who lead me in all truth.

I seek You. I receive You.

I know You because you live with me and in me.

Spirit of God, make me aware of my sin;

Lead me to Jesus.

Spirit of Truth, Guide me;

Speak what you hear from Jesus.

Bring glory to Jesus.

Groan for me when I don't know how to pray.

Set my gaze on Jesus.

Several years ago I wrote this prayer--based on John 14-16-- as a way to tune my heart and prepare myself to enter into God's presence.

Ignatius of Loyola taught a practice of entering into the presence of God based on his experience in the Spanish court. In the 16th century, the way one entered into the presence of the Spanish ruling class was through a set of "intermediaries" who each presented you to the next person up the authority chain. This emphasized the honor and authority of the ruling dignitary. Though Ignatius also taught people to "talk with Jesus as a friend"- a very revolutionary idea in his day- he also emphasized the Holiness and Authority of God through a very humble way of initially approaching God in prayer. He would literally take his hat off and bow as he requested an audience with God. For Ignatius, a catholic reformer, his starting point was to request of Mary an audience with Jesus. And then, of Jesus he would request an audience of the Father.

I love this concept for entering into God's presence and honoring his power and authority. As a non-catholic, however, beginning with Mary doesn't make a whole lot of sense theologically to me. What does make sense is beginning with the Holy Spirit! Indeed, this is one of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit: to dwell with us, turning our hearts and eyes to Jesus.

And Jesus tells us that to see him is to see the Father. So following a brief moment of conversation in prayer with Jesus I then request of Jesus an audience with the Father.

I have found this to be a practical and spiritually impactful way to engage the totality (Father, Son and Spirit) of God's nearness to me in a way that honors the Holiness of God and the Intimacy we are invited to share.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes! I would also love to know some of the ways you tune your heart and approach God as you enter into prayer.

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