Ignatius practiced an active spirituality.
How to Experience Intimacy with God through Prayer
He understood that people were actively engaged with work in the world. They had dealings with each other. They shared life with each other. This active sharing of grace and gifts and talents eventually became the how for his evangelistic ministry.
Ignatius describes his ministry by the simple Spanish word conversar. Ignatius must have been a master of this kind of conversation. He seems to have had an extraordinary gift for friendship. The first Jesuits were a group of men who were initially bound together by their affection and love for Ignatius Loyola.
Conversar has broader meanings as well. In the Ignatian scheme of things, to converse is one of our ways of loving. It is based on conversation with God in prayer. It is expressed in conversation as ministry—sharing the gospel with others. All three conversations are embodied in the Spiritual Exercises.
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The retreatant is guided through the exercises by conversation with a spiritual director who cultivates the conversation with God. The exercises nurture a conversation with God. The goal of the Exercises is to help the person get involved in a more fruitful conversation with others in ministry. In fact, the Exercises themselves are the product of years of conversation.
Ignatius developed them from his experience as a spiritual director of men and women seeking a deeper relationship with God. He would suggest ways to pray, scripture passages to meditate on, scenes to imagine, ideas to ponder. Then he and his friends would talk about what happened in prayer. Together they would discern how God seemed to be leading. The Spiritual Exercises are structured around the developing relationship between the retreatant and Jesus Christ.
They urge us to see ourselves as God sees us—as his sons and daughters, members of his family. It is not something mysterious or esoteric or something that we learn how to do in school. Televangelists hear a word from God about their supporters giving to the ministry and it just seems like an obvious scheme to rake in the bucks.
See a Problem?
A pastor in church has a word from God which gives a new direction for the church and you wonder whether he is just using God to push his plan. The phrase "God told me" is something of a conversation stopper. The sense is that it is a phrase that cannot be argued against. On the other hand, there are some who insist that God can only speak through His Word, the Bible. Anyone who believes otherwise is wrong.
Dallas Willard provides a good middle way in his book "Hearing God. The first half of the book is mostly a defense of the idea that God continues to speak to His people. The second half of the book is a practical guide to hearing God. I still have questions about how God speaks to us today and am still somewhat wary because of the many abuses of hearing God that happen in evangelicalism, but this book was a gentle guide that helped me crack open the door to what has already been a rewarding aspect of my life with God. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.
This is the first of this author's books that I have read though I've heard him quoted by many authors that I respect. Yet, he dies it in a way that makes it seem very simple and straightforward. I have been enjoying a conversational relationship with God that comes and goes in bursts. This had puzzled me until now. If you are not a disciple of Jesus Christ this book will not make much sense. If you are and you are a student of the Bible this book will form an intense calling to you to find the life that God wants with you. I didn't complete the whole book yet but only most.
The book can be a bit confusing, difficult to read at times, and not even the most engaging. It is not for the person who wants a simple, easy read.
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It will take attention, care, time, and practice. If you are looking for a simple "How to" book, this isn't it. I have to give it credit in the sense that it is good enough that even though I frequently go to other books, I keep on coming back to this one, starting again where I left off. He offers really good pointers on how to listen to God's voice that I find very helpful. The more I think about this book the higher the rating goes. I wanted to give it a two or three stars. Now I realize it deserves 4 or 5.
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My only suggestion would be to look at the chapters you want to read and read them. Don't try to read the whole thing in order. If you are like me, you will either get frustrated, bored, or wonder what the heck his point is wondering what point he made in that chapter. In a world where quick fixes and writers and preachers make a mess of "hearing God" Dallas Willard brings a lot of depth and deep thinking, as well as very practical suggestions to notice how God is in conversation with us, daily.
Willard bridges the gap between faith and everyday life, which is not easy to do in a western secular mindset and culture. Willard used his experienced to try and figure out what are the questions people ask when they wrestle with hearing God, and brought this in a very logic way to the reader. It is not a book to scan through quickly - its recommended to read it patiently for a month with a scribble book close by, as there are so many questions asked for reflection and self observation.
I have grown in a lot of wisdom through this book. Recommended for spiritual directors, coaches, ministers, christian counselors or every one who wants to grow and learn more about listening to God, conversation with God and what discernment could look like. I wish I had read this years ago.
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Willard's book is a wonderful help on a subject so many of us are needlessly confused about. I've never been a cessationist myself, but I have gone round and round thinking I'm doomed if God wants me to do one thing and I deviate from that thing! I've been tossed about by the wind playing games to hear his voice, this book brings clarity and Christ centered wisdom to the matter and encourages all believers to live a life talking with God.
Boring and Condesending. Does this kind of prayer also work with families, and children in particular? Indeed, it does. Actually, nothing could be better suited to children than learning to pray conversationally. At your dinner table, everyone enters into conversation, right? I am reminded of Gordon Cooper, the first American astronaut in space, who wrote out a prayer which he intended to read, but when he saw the glory and splendor of what God had created, he abandoned his written prayer and just let the thoughts flow out of his heart.
That is what real prayer is all about. Praying this way will change your relationship with God for the better. By Dr.
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