Cover image for 189 ways to contact God
Title:
189 ways to contact God
Author:
Halpin, Marlene.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : Loyola Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xi, 290 pages ; 16 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780829413656
Format :
Book

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BV210.2 .H3516 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

"This work hearkens back to the spiritual classics that say much with few words, in a way that is relevant for today."
nbsp;nbsp;--John Michael Talbot, Franciscan, folk recording artist nbsp; "Helpful, concrete suggestions on how to pray when life graces us with joyous, ecstatic moments--and when it dishes out the other stuff."
nbsp;nbsp;--Carl Fisher, Publishing Director, Catechist magazine nbsp; "I have always believed that the only proof for faith is experiential. . . .nbsp; In this book one finds ways of contacting God, and thus having the experience on which faith is based."nbsp; --John Powell, S.J., author of The Challenge of Faith nbsp; " 189 Ways to Contact God is a wonderful blessing--heartfelt, wise, practical, and bursting with light."
nbsp;nbsp;--Carol Hegedus, Spirituality in the Workplace Consultant nbsp; There are as many ways to pray as there are people. Whether you have never prayed before or have been praying regularly for years, this book of inspiring suggestions can jump-start your prayer life. The creative, practical tips in 189 Ways to Contact God will help you stop thinking about prayer and start praying--right now! nbsp; Marlene Halpin, O.P., a teacher, spiritual director, and lecturer, is director of the ministry formation program in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has spent many years praying with both children and adults.


Author Notes

Marlene Halpin is a teacher, spiritual director, Dominican sister, author, lecturer, and director of the ministry formation program in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She teaches both children and adults how to pray, which gives her a range of people who willingly answer her question, "How do you pray?" 189 Ways to Contact God is a result of the many responses she has collected through the years.


Excerpts

Excerpts

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK First, let me explain what this book is not. It's not a book on why we should pray. We already know that we need to pray. Neither is it a book about where to pray, although some good suggestions come up. This is not a collection of prayers. There are books and books of those already. This book is about how to pray. The expectation is that you will recognize yourself on some of the pages or that you will find some ways to get started. I also expect that you will grow far beyond these methods to wherever the Holy Spirit leads you. And I hope that you will find great satisfaction in your growing relationship with God. Second, let me say some words about communication. Often the quality of a relationship relies on the quality of communication between two people. How communication happens is as varied, as personal, as idiosyncratic as each of us is and as we are together. So it is between our God and us. Prayer is about communication. Communication experts tend to list levels of communication in the following ways: ~ the "good morning, how are you, have a nice day" kind of thing you might say in passing; ~ the "hope my team wins, wish we'd see some sun for a change, can't wait for deer-hunting season" sort of weather and sports talk; ~ the gossipy "did you see what she's wearing? know what I heard he did last night? where do you think they went on vacation?" prattle about other people; ~ the "I feel (hurt, baffled, frightened, delirious with joy, vindicated, hateful, glad, sorry)" declaration from the heart about situations or happenings in your life; ~ the kind of communication that happens from knowing and loving the other person and the other person knowing and loving you. There is a genuine and deep comfort, trust, union--perhaps even synergy and communion--between you. Here is the joy of a truly good friend. Probably each of us can name people in our lives who fit on this or that level. Now for the hard part. Forget about what you desire or intend to do. In cold reality, consider: ~ In my everyday living, honestly and truthfully, on what level is my communication with God? ~ In my everyday living, honestly and truthfully, what is the depth of my relationship with God? These questions can be answered best, and with greatest honesty, in the loving presence of God, in the depths of your soul. Although the self-assessment might leave you dissatisfied, the joy of it is this: ~ God is with us. ~ God invites us to closer union. ~ God's grace makes it possible. All that is needed is for us, individually, to say yes to God. Jesus reveals how to do this. Jesus promises that if we ask, we shall receive the living water, the Holy Spirit. Let us recognize our need, ask, and consent to God's action in our lives, in God's way. It is not always easy. But it is simple. It is most fulfilling and deeply peaceful, because it is what God wants for us. These prayer suggestions provide various ways to start--or to continue--to abide in God. May God, who begins this good work in us, bring it to a happy conclusion.   PRAYER FROM THE FAMILIAR 1 The Sign of the Cross 3 2 "Peace be with you" 5 3 "I confess" 6 4 "Lord, have mercy" 8 5 "The Lord, the giver of life" 10 6 "The Lord be with you" 12 7 "Lift up your hearts" 13 8 "Holy, holy, holy" 14 9 "We thank you for counting us worthy" 16 10 "A living sacrifice of praise" 18 11 "Deliver us, Lord" 20 12 "Look not" 22 13 "Let us offer each other the sign of peace" 24 14 "Lamb of God" 26 15 "This is my body. . . . This is my blood" 27 16 "Lord, I am not worthy" 28 17 Receiving Communion 30 18 "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord" 32 19 A Prayer for All Situations 34 People need to worship God, not only in private, but also as a people, publicly. For that we are offered ritual and ceremony, means of satisfying the human spirit. The greatest public worship in the Catholic Church is the celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Some of the prayers are fixed and always prayed with formality and with eloquence. Other prayers change according to the season and the feast being celebrated. During the cycle of a year, we are reminded of the birth, life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus; of the necessity of forgiving and asking for forgiveness; of the call to receive God's loving mercy; and of the incessant plea for unity among us. Sometimes (often, I hope) a word, a phrase, or a prayer strikes your heart with its meaning or precipitates an insight that affects you. That experience is best followed up in private prayer or conversation. Pursue it; pray from it. The pages in this section are examples of what struck some worshipers during their participation in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. May you be ever more conscious of how these prayers might affect you. Let them make your life more abundant.   1 THE SIGN OF THE CROSS In some Christian denominations, religious ceremonies and times of prayer are begun and ended with a gesture and prayer called the Sign of the Cross. Most commonly it is made by placing the left hand on the heart, gesturing with the right hand from forehead to breast, to left shoulder, to right shoulder, then bringing the hands together. While making the Sign of the Cross, remember that it brings to mind our triune God. You may want to meditate while making it: "In the name of the Father," your creating God who brings all into being and keeps all in being, whose splendid love makes all good. As you touch your forehead, dedicate to God your knowledge, your thoughts, your plans, and your obligations. "and of the Son," your redeeming God who gives us Jesus. As you touch your breast, bring to God your loves, your affections, and your desires. "and of the Holy Spirit," your sanctifying God whose love makes you holy if you allow it. As you touch your shoulders, bring to God your going and your coming back, with all the people and events of those movements and your concerns about them. "Amen." So be it, to the best of your ability, safe in God's care.   2 "PEACE BE WITH YOU" Peace be with you." "And also with you." These words are exchanged at every liturgy. Sometimes they are followed by a gesture as people wish each other peace. What about your peace--the peace, or lack of it, within yourself? The classical definition of peace is "the tranquillity of order." When this prayer is said for you--first by the celebrant, then by your neighbors--might you look at your heart and ask, Where, among my relationships, is there not peace? Where is there not tranquillity because something offensive, something not forgiven, blocks it? When that prayer is said for you, examine your heart. Bring to God's presence someone with whom you are not at peace. Pray for that person. Forgive that person, if you can. Ask for help to forgive that person if you cannot yet do it. And let peace be ever more deeply yours.   3 "I CONFESS" Right at the beginning of the liturgy, the most sacred of the community's prayers, you prepare yourself. Before entering into the sacredness of the ceremony and celebrating the mysteries of your salvation, you take steps to come as worthily as you can--but not alone. After the greeting, you look at what in your life needs attention. And so you begin: "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned." Do you ever notice that you do not, in this particular prayer, call God "you"? You say, "to almighty God" and "to you, my brothers and sisters" and go on about sin, in thought and in word, in what was done and in what was not done. The community can pray this, honestly, together. The particulars of your sins you might attend to with God privately.At the end, you ask for help. From whom? "Blessed Mary, . . . / the angels and saints, / and you, my brothers and sisters." Stop a moment and think. What a magnificent family! What an array of people on whom you can call for help! God's mother, the angels and saints (all those who are in God's eternal presence), and all of the rest of us (our brothers and sisters) who are still struggling. What a support group! And the other side of it is that everyone at church is asking for your help. So you pray in and with the strength of all the other praying people present. What do you want to say to God about that?   4 "LORD, HAVE MERCY" At the beginning of the liturgy you pray, "Lord, have mercy," then "Christ, have mercy." Do you believe mercy will be given to you? People tend to think, at times, that God wouldn't forgive this or couldn't forgive that. That they aren't worth God's bother. So they pray these words "have mercy" routinely, not really believing them. In your prayer you might want to let these words, with their meaning, seep into your consciousness, into your very being. "Lord, have mercy." "But," you might protest, "isn't the Lord also just?" Yes. But consider this: Mercy flows from love. God is love. Love is God's very being. Take a few moments to let that understanding fill you. Then take a few more to remind yourself that God loves you--unconditionally. God is just. Why is justice required? Because of the wrongdoing of God's creatures, us. Now let yourself ponder this: Justice is needed because of a creature's sin. Mercy comes from God's being (love). What's greater, God, or a creature's wrongdoing? What's more important? The next time you pray, "Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy," let your heart and soul be full of the gratitude and joy that are God's gifts to you.   5 "THE LORD, THE GIVER OF LIFE" When you pray the Nicene Creed, either in private or during public worship, you might want to reflect on the different parts of it. The creeds are the result of a great deal of study, prayer, and reflection, all aimed at saying briefly and clearly what Christians truly believe. At the moment the question is, do you believe this? If you do, what difference does it make to you? How does it affect the way you live? What makes you want to get up in the morning; what gives satisfaction and gladness to your day? For instance (any phrase will do; pick your own), try this one on for size: "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life." The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love, the Spirit of Jesus, the One Jesus sends to complete his own mission: I have come to bring life and life in abundance (see John 10:10). Is your life one of abundance? If so, give thanks! If not, and if you do "believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life," ask for help. Sometimes not asking for help is what impoverishes your life. Sometimes not asking for help for the down-deep things is what makes life look bleak and hardly worth living. "The Lord, the giver of life," is there, ever ready and most eager to help. Ask! Be willing to receive what God wants to give you. Excerpted from 189 Ways to Contact God by Marlene Halpin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.