Time to Get Personal
By Michelle Duppong
If someone asked you to describe your relationship with God, what would you say?
If I had been approached with this question seven years ago, I would have felt very uncomfortable, caught off guard, and said that I loved God and knew He was working in my life and those around me. But I would not have been able to go into detail about how Jesus was moving in my heart. I wouldn’t have said anything about a personal experience of His love.
I was committed to living out my Catholic faith my whole life (I strived to participate in Mass daily, confession monthly, charitable works, etc.) but when it came to prayer, I found it difficult to feel close to God. It always seemed to be dry.
I realized a few years ago that when I was going to prayer I wasn’t really sharing my heart with God. I was coming to Him as I thought I ought to—to sum it up, telling Him what I thought He wanted to hear rather than the state I was actually in. Through the guidance of a spiritual director, I began to concretely ask Jesus for a real experience of His love for me and I started opening my heart to Him, sharing the good, bad, and the ugly—and I was transformed by the way He answered this prayer!
If you can relate to this, I want to assure you that God has much more in store for each of us. Here are a couple of steps (ARRR) to follow when praying to help cultivate a personal experience of Jesus’ love:
God’s unconditional love for us never stops. Run to this love with reckless abandonment daily!
- Acknowledge God’s presence: When we pray, we are entering into a conversation with a real, live Person—He’s the creator of the universe, but each person of the Trinity is real. Realize you’re not crying out blindly hoping that God may be listening. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit love you into being at every moment. God is very interested in your life.
- Relate your heart to God: What is on your heart or mind today? Tell God all about it. What do you want Him to do for you? God can’t forgive/heal/comfort/free us if we do not ask Him to. God loves us, therefore, He does not force Himself upon us. He allows us to freely accept or reject Him. Even though He knows what you need at this moment, He won’t make you choose it. Come to God as you are honestly and consistently—and know that He delights in everything about you.
- Receive from God: Ask each person of the Trinity what He is doing now in your life. What does He want to give you? How is He loving you in the midst of what you are going through? Stop and listen. God speaks in the silence.
- Respond: What does God want you to do today in response to this gift of His love? What grace does He want you to ask of Him today? Make a concrete resolution from your prayer to carry with you throughout the day.