How To Achieve Constant Prayer

Did you know that every part of our life is meant to be powered by prayer…everything!

Is that even possible?

Since “with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26) , the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

How?

Well it starts with what we call “finite prayer.”

A finite prayer is one that has a beginning and an end. It’s active prayer. Examples would the rosary, a litany, or any spontaneous prayer.

But while it has starting and a stopping points, finite, active prayer is meant to lead us to something deeper – habitual, or constant, prayer.

Constant prayer is the name of the game, the golden goose of the spiritual life.

Quoting the ancient monk Evagrius Ponticus, the Catechism states “we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing” (2742, italics mine).

Of course, we’re all familiar with St. Paul’s admonition to “pray constantly” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. As a kid I remember thinking, “Seriously, Paul? Not only are people going to think I’m nuts as I walk around muttering to myself, but multi-tasking is not natural to my gender.”

But before we knock Paul off of his high horse (again), let’s take a moment to see what we he means.

Constant prayer is not an act of prayer, so to speak. Otherwise we’d never be able to focus on our duties in life. It might even be dangerous! (Forget about texting, I’ve nearly wrecked my car on several occasions while attempting the rosary on the freeway.)

So what is Paul talking about?

He’s referring to a permanent attitude, one rooted in trustful surrender and merging of our will to God’s. It’s an inner peace that accepts whatever happens as God’s good will for our life.

Now don’t think he means we just sit back and do nothing. Rather, he means we have to develop an attitude of cheerful compliance founded on the knowledge that what God wants us to experience in life is best.

How do we attain this peaceful, permanent attitude of constant prayer? Again, primarily through finite prayer.

You see, constant prayer is fed by acts of finite prayer which operate on the “surface” of the soul.

Think of constant prayer as glowing embers down in your soul. They’re always hot, but not enflamed, so to speak.

Finite prayers are like little gusts of wind that come down, blowing across these embers, igniting a fire of love in our hearts that bursts into flame.

Finite prayers feed the flame so that we develop a life of constant prayer.

Of course, the reverse is also true.

Constant prayer feeds and fuels our acts of finite prayer so they become more focused and fruitful. And when we can establish a state of constant prayer, submitting ourselves gladly to God’s will, everything we do becomes an act of prayer.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. I’m leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Jim Caviezel, star of The Passion of the Christ!

We’ll also be joined by Fr. Don Calloway and John Michael Talbot! It’s going to be epic!

CLICK HERE for details!

 

 

P.P.S. If you’d rather go to Italy, I’m heading there on pilgrimage, too!

Join me in March 2019 for a time of deep spiritual renewal and amazing adventure in Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, LaVerna, and much, much more! CLICK HERE for details!

081: Kings, Prophets, & Popes

A Scriptural Response to the Church Crisis

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What should we do?

That’s the question that keeps coming up in my conversations and email exchanges.

What is the appropriate response of faithful Catholics to this ongoing crisis?

While some are leaving and others are all-out attacking, most of us are caught somewhere in the middle.

We’ve always thought of ourselves as faithful Catholics. We’ve always honored our priests and bishops. We’ve always been a bit awed by the papacy.

So we’re torn.

We want this all to be fixed, but don’t know what tools are really at our disposal. We’re not totally sure what attitude and posture should we take.

That’s what I want to address in this episode. And I’m going to do it with Sacred Scripture.

I think it gives us some pretty clear direction. So in this podcast we’ll discuss:

  • The Scriptural origins of the Catholic priesthood
  • Why it can never be “us” vs “them”
  • The role of the Holy Spirit in choosing a pope
  • Extremely important takeaways from the story of King Saul and David
  • The powerful tool used by the prophet Daniel
  • The end result we should all be praying for

Based on what’s going on, this is an important episode that will provide some rich food for thought as you discern and pray about your personal response to the crisis.

God bless you and keep the Faith always!

Matthew

 

P.S. HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

I’m leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Jim Caviezel, star of The Passion of the Christ!

We’ll also be joined by Fr. Don Calloway and John Michael Talbot!

CLICK HERE for details!

 

P.P.S. Pilgrimage to Catholic Italy!

Join me in March 2019 for a time of deep spiritual renewal and amazing adventure in Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, LaVerna, and much, much more!

CLICK HERE for details!

 

Grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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078: Unpacking the Our Father

The Inner Logic of the Most Famous of All Prayers

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Parts of it should actually scare you.

All of it should inspire you.

The Our Father is the most famous of all prayers, taught to us by God himself.

And while you’ve probably droned through it a few thousand times, have you ever really dug into what you’re saying?

For a long time, I hadn’t. And my guess is it’s the same for many of you.

So in celebration of the upcoming (at least in many countries) Father’s Day holiday, I thought I’d pay homage to the Our Father on the Art of Catholic podcast, by unveiling the inner logic of Christ’s own prayer.

Because this isn’t just a prayer, it’s a deep, rich teaching that provides a window into the very identities of both God and man, and our incredible relationship.

I have a chapter devoted to this deep and beautiful prayer in my book, “Prayer Works: Getting a  Grip on Catholic Spirituality.” So I thought I’d just do a kind of audio book reading of that chapter for you.

In it, we’ll cover things like:

  • The incredible power of words
  • The scariest petition ever
  • All the forms of prayer
  • The order in which we should ask for things from God
  • The meaning and theology underlying each petition of the Our Father

After listening to this episode, my guess is that you’ll never pray the Our Father the same way again.

Happy Our Father’s Day!

Matthew

P.S. I’m heading back to Italy! Join me in March 2019 for an amazing pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, LaVerna, and much, much more!

Check it out here!

 

 

 

 

 

Grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life!