Prioritizing Prayer

This is a guest post by Jurell Sison, as he begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.To be quite honest, making time for prayer and meditation has always been one of my biggest struggles. For me it’s like exercising—I love the idea but it seems there is a force that keeps me glued to my couch or at my computer. It’s as if someone drugged me with fear, or even worse—the curse of being “too busy.” Yet every time I find a way out of this “curse” and into a gym, I discover more energy, more life, and more peace.

It might be embarrassing to admit this, but throughout this week of contemplation, I’ve discovered that I’m not where I want to be. There is a serious aching in my heart to know and encounter God, yet I continually find myself stuck. I’m so caught up in my work and the anxieties of life that the thought of meditation sometimes overwhelms me. I get paralyzed by the thought of how long my prayer will take, and I get tricked into thinking that I can just do it later.

The core of my prayer this week has been about spiritual freedom. Some of my most powerful moments came from contemplating David Fleming’s translation of the First Principle and Foundation. It reads, in part:

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God

insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.

But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,

they displace God

and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

This has been an incredible reminder that everything is a gift, presented to us so that we can know God. Yet the second that we become too attached or off-balance, we misuse the gifts that God has blessed us with.

So, as I make my way through these Spiritual Exercises, I pray that I might become more and more aware of the things that are taking over my life and place God back into the center of my aching heart. Most of all, I pray that I can fight through the curse of being busy. And in my endeavors to prioritize my prayer life, I hope to rediscover the God who energizes us with overwhelming love and peace.

But as it goes with all things—it is a work in progress.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Your first paragraph resonated with me.
    Then, your second paragraph resonated with me.
    Then…well, ALL of it resonated with me. This was brilliant and much needed and appreciated! Thank you.

  2. I love David Fleming’s translation of the Principle and Foundation — every time I pray with it, I hear a different shade. Today I was struck by the word “center” –and have been thinking about what centers me, and what drags me off center.
    Enjoy the adventure!

  3. Jurell, thank you so much for your post.
    Please know, that you are not alone!
    Thank you for naming what is in the hearts and souls of those of us “On The Road” with you.
    It seems that you have encountered Him along your journey and He has gently guided you back to your heart’s desire.
    A resounding “Amen” from cyberspace to you!

  4. There’s a lot of insight in this, Jason. I do the same thing…well, I suppose we all do. My latest excuse is to tell myself that I want to get all the distracting stuff done and out of the way so I can focus on God…and getting everyone out the door in the morning seems like a minimum. And yet, maybe I could awake just a bit earlier. Regardless, your post has inspired me to be just a bit more intentional about finding time for God before all other things…not just “in all things.” Blessings on your walk. Mary Adrienne

    • I agree. I feel like I’m tricked into thinking my to do list will go away if I start working on it right when I get up!! Yet, the list continues to grow. I’m hoping to find some true rest and comfort from Christ in these meditations.
      Prayers to you on your Ignatian adventure! Keep me updated!

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