Hey there! I know, I missed all last week. Sorry! Too busy, all sorts of things going on, no free time to write and blah, blah, blah. I’m baaa-aaack! So, grab a glass of tea (it’s been in the 90’s with 90% humidity here. Think, ‘I walked outside into a sauna!’) and find a cool spot to sit and relax a minute. I just returned from a weekend retreat at a beautiful place northwest of here. They have 120 acres, secluded cabins, trails, and the teaching on prayer was excellent. Let me share a bit of the weekend with you!
We were there to learn about various types of prayer and to have time to ‘practice’ in the chapel there. I needed a couple of days away to hear from the Lord on an issue or two. What I received was so much more!
I’d never been to this particular place before, although it is less than an hour away and has been recommended heartily by a couple of people I know, including our pastor. It was a very small group, only four retreat guests and the director. We discovered that two of us attended the same large parish church, the youngest in the group was 55, and we all approached prayer differently. We had various backgrounds and experiences. But we all shared a love of the Lord and the desire to grow deeper in our prayer life and closer to Him.
We talked about vocal prayer, where one speaks the words. We talked about Liturgical prayer, like a church service or the Mass. We talked about the Liturgy of the Hours, the worldwide prayer of the church that is happening at any given hour of the day someplace around the globe. Even if we are not in a community like a monastery, we may still join in the communal prayer by virtue of being part of the body of Christ joining with the rest of the body in prayer. We talked about meditative or discursive prayer, where we study a piece of Scripture and meditate on it, becoming part of the scene. We talked about contemplative prayer, where we are silently present with the Lord. We talked about moving between the several methods of prayer and how there is no right or wrong if you’re truly seeking God.
Our director was talking about some Scripture to use to get into prayer, and mentioned the Song of Songs. Using the Bride of Christ metaphor, it’s easy to use the Song of Songs to experience an increased love for Jesus. While the Gospels are the primary source to connect with Him, to learn His character and His personality, other passages can help us express our deep love and longing for Him. Song of Songs is one of those books.
Let’s take a look at a few phrases. Now, gentlemen, don’t get all hung up on gender here. Every believer is part of the “Bride” of Christ, so this applies to you, too!
1:1,4 Your love is better than wine. Think of the intoxicating nature of a fine wine. Think of its bouquet, its color, it’s flavor, it’s richness and depth. I like to picture a deep red wine, sweet and full bodied. It has color, aroma, substance. It can make the heart quite joyful and calm anxieties. His love can do all these things for us – it’s overwhelming to contemplate how much He loves us, and to simply sit and experience that love pouring over us and through us. Fear and anxiety melt away as we enter into His presence so deliberately and completely.
1:4 Draw me after You… Simply longing for Him is a prayer in itself. Have you ever desired to be with Him so much that nothing else mattered? Have you ever longed for Him so deeply it was almost an ache? Ask Him to draw you and He will. I promise He will draw you deeper and deeper into Himself. Just let yourself sink deeper and deeper into His presence. You’ll be amazed!
1:15 – Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. Yes, He will tell us we are beautiful. We are aware of our sinfulness, our shortcomings, our failures, our rebellions. But if we are truly repentant, He sees our efforts, our faith, our desire to love Him with our entire being, our single gaze – the gaze of the dove.
What are some of your favorite verses? How can you turn them into prayer? Find a verse that stretches you. Let it take you deeper than you’re used to going. Then let Him draw you deeper in love with Him.