God-Focused vs Me-Focused Prayer

Yet there too you shall seek the LORD, your God; and you shall indeed find him when you search after him with your whole heart and your whole soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

The powerful grow poor and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.  (Psalm 34:11)

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! (Psalm 105:3)

With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commands. (Psalm 118:10)

Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot. (Jeremiah 29:13,14)

All of us as Catholic men have our own areas of emptiness and disorder as fallen human beings. The question is: how should we deal with them? Where can we turn to fill that inner emptiness and disorder? To the Lord, of course, in prayer! Unfortunately, so often, our prayer revolves around us and our needs-healing, favor, release from patterns of sin, etc. These are all important things to ask for, but we also need to seek the Lord just for his own sake, and concentrate on his greatness.

The next time you pray, decide to put God’s agenda first. Find a time when you won’t be interrupted. Clear away as best you can all your worries and needs, and focus your heart and mind on your heavenly Father. You might try singing a worship song or listening to some sacred music-whatever draws you closer to God’s presence. One of my favorite songs has this verse in it: “It’s not about me. It’s all about you.”

During your prayer, consider reading a Scripture passage about his mercy, majesty, and power (see Psalm 23, 62, or Isaiah 43). Then just be with the Lord — sitting, standing, kneeling, even lying down, in whatever posture is comfortable and frees you from thinking about yourself.

The important point is to focus on God. It’s never time wasted, although it might be difficult at first to convince our production-oriented brains that seeking and listening to the Lord is doing something valuable. Whenever we approach the Lord like this, he will meet us and draw us more deeply into his life. He wants us to have a living, deepening relationship with him, so that we can become more like him. So let him make you his disciple-from the inside out!

“Lord Jesus, I seek you with all my heart and soul. I want to know you more. Pour more of your life into me today and change me. I want to be like you.”

Maurice Blumberg is on the Board of Directors of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.catholicmensresources.org//) and Chairmen of the Board of The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/).

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[Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]

Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men 

1. Take a few minutes to read and meditate on the Scriptures above on seeking the Lord. What do you think God is trying to say to you through them?

2. How would you characterize your times of prayer? Does it primarily focus on you and your needs or on seeking the Lord? What steps can you take to make your prayers more focused on the Lord?

3. How important is it to you to deepen your relationship with the Lord? What role can your times of prayer play in this?

4. In the article, we hear these words: “He wants us to have a living, deepening relationship with him, so that we can become more like him.” Why is this so?

By

Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at mblumberg@wau.org or mblumberg@aol.com.

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  • liturgylover

    “When you turn back to Him with all your heart, to do what is right before Him, then He will turn back to you, and no longer hide His face from you. So now consider what He has done for you and praise Him with full voice. (Tobit 13:6)

    Second only perhaps to the Perpetual Adoration chapel, where I do not go often enough, the swing on my front porch, from about 5:15am – 7:00am, is where I’ve found true intimacy with the Father. I’ve decided to give Him this time before the beginning of my day. Through the growth of this discipline, my day becomes His day.

    As difficult as it may be, for as many times as I’ve failed to put God absolutely first in my life, for the times I’ve decided to “sleep-in” rather than to spend time with my beloved, my heart aches at the loss of not being there to hear His voice, to hear what He wanted to tell me, to share with me. When I realize, if I’m called to judgement before the turn of the hour, tomorrow may be too late. In as much as I turn to Him and recognize Him throughout the day, I am not at peace until I return to Him on my porch in the stillness of the dawn, in the heat of the summer and now in the coolness of the fall.

    In Christ,

    Don

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