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How the Spirit Leads Us to a Deeper Experience of Prayer

The Spirit of God is the one in charge of our spiritual development. He does this to form the real Christ in us. He forms the real Christ in us by leading us to a deeper experience of prayer, to a personal, profound understanding of the written word of God, and to an attentive and obedient listening to vigorous, urgent, life-changing preaching.

How the Spirit leads us to a deeper experience of prayer is the topic of this blog.

Paradoxically the Spirit leads us to a deeper experience of prayer by allowing us to be ourselves and to do what we want. After a while we are no longer able to do what we want and we cry to God to help us do what we want. That is when we really pray.

Shallow Experiences of Prayer

You may ask me why do I write of a deeper experience of prayer. Is there a not so deep an experience of prayer? Is there a shallow experience of prayer? Unfortunately we go through lots of shallow experiences, and not so deep experiences, of prayer. This kind of prayer is not only useless but even harmful, deceiving. We think we are praying when we are not. We are just mumbling words or we are just reciting as we would recite a poem or another form of literature.

In Christian homes when we were children we were taught to pray, so they said. We were led to pronounce the text of the Our Father and memorize it. And then we used the text to pray. This is a very shallow experience of prayer. We were actually not praying. We recited a formula of prayer, not prayed.

In Sunday schools or catechism classes and in Bible study sessions we were led to make spontaneous prayer. And so we did pray spontaneously, so they said. We prayed for our needs, for our wants, for guidance, etc. This is prayer of some sort, if we really were serious. This is deep prayer, but not deeper experience of prayer. But if we did it because we were told to lead the prayer, or because it was expected of us to say something which began with “God” and ended with “in the name of Jesus”, then it was not praying. It was speaking in public about what we wanted to pray, but we did not really pray.

Deeper Experience of Prayer

Deeper experience of prayer is prayer from the heart, from the depths of our being. That is why it is called deeper, because it comes from our depths, not just from our lips, our tongue or our minds. It comes from where things matter most in our lives, from our inner selves.

How the Spirit Leads Us to Deeper Prayer

And the way the Spirit leads us to this kind of prayer is by allowing us to be ourselves and to do things our own way, until we are lost and get to the dead end. Then and only then do we turn up to him and ask for guidance to get us out of where we cannot get out by our own effort.

You see, all of us human beings are born with certain capacities: the capacity to move, to think, to speak, to write, to invent, to plan, etc. But all these capacities have limitations. We cannot move anywhere we want at the same time. We cannot think of all the ideas in the world at the same time. Most of the time we are not aware of these limitations. We are only aware of our capabilities.

And when we grow we undertake to actualize these capabilities. We move to school, we think of our lessons in class, we speak a distinct language, etc.

Then comes the big thing. We want to make something big in our life. Some of us want to be engineers, others want to be lawyers, still others want to be actors and actresses. Some of us succeed, others do not. In fact, most fail. Then they try and try again.

It is when we fail that some of us are led to prayer. It may be failure in the home, our parents separate and we are left alone as children. It may be failure in business when we file bankruptcy. It may be failure in love when we are rejected by the one who we thought loved us.

Not all failures lead us to prayer. Some failures lead us to try and try again. Some failures lead to suicide. The failure which the Spirit uses to lead us to prayer is the failure in which we see no more exit, no more way out of this failure, a dead end, no more alternative. There is only one way to go, the way up and within, the way of prayer. Where some people choose suicide as the way out, the Spirit gives prayer as the way in.

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