Free & Fit NYC - Personal Experiences of Spiritual Direction

Free & Fit NYC - Personal Experiences of Spiritual Direction 

As a Spiritual Director or Directee the most common method of communication I use to speak to God is through prayer. Before, during and after Spiritual Direction sessions I am able to centre, focus and become expectant for the Holy Spirit to come into our conversation through prayer. However, as noted by Henri Nouwen Prayer is not something that always comes naturally or easily (Nouwen, 2004). Despite the obvious difficulties of prayer I still insist on it during times of struggle. Whilst in despair I often find myself crying out in anguish to God seeking to receive a fresh revelation of the Holy Spirit. Through direct dialogue with God I often expect an open doorway in response to my prayers that I can just walk through. However, God does not always answer our prayers this way. Sometimes its yes, sometimes is maybe and sometimes it’s nothing it all. The founder of 24-7 Prayer Pete Grieg, wrote a book about “God on Mute”, at a time during in his life when he experienced severe personal loss, near fatal illness to his wife and a real crises in his faith. Grieg states that he ran out into his back garden one day and yelled out to God like David in the Psalms in anguish, despair and without hope. Yet Grieg states that despite his lack of faith he still insisted on doing it. Crying out to God. Seeking for him to take all the pain away. Even when we have sinned, fallen short or we are far away from God we come back to him in our darkest moments seeking him for comfort, reconciliation and answers. Fundamentally our prayers are not just dialogue, but they represent our questions, petitions and requests. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us that we are to pray without ceasing.We need to pray at all times, even when we are busy, when we are down or when we are up. Prayer restores us, sustains us and maintains our faith. Henri Nouwen states that one way to seek after the presence of God is through meditation using the Jesus prayer. Based on Luke 18 when Jesus tells the story about the Pharisee and the tax collector’s prayer he says “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.” This is practiced in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the “Jesus Prayer (Nouwen, 2004).” Nouwen suggests praying this prayer in contemplation in any location, seeking to speak to God. Whilst praying specifically to Jesus, reciting these words “Lord have mercy on me a sinner: and seeking a response even in his presence, in his absence, in his questions and in his answers. This can be done before sleeping, eating, walking, driving or like when I pray to whilst running (Nouwen, 2004). The link between Jesus, Prayer and Sport is a large part of how Sports