In a recent webinar hosted by Divine Mercy’s Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, Fr. Robert Presutti, of the SDC Program, spoke on how spiritual direction can help us deepen our prayer and encounter God.
Beginning with the example of driver’s ed, he explained how the rule to “keeping your eyes on the road” applies to all of life, but especially prayer. Just as we drive toward what we look at, we tend to move toward what holds our attention. And when something holds our attention, it tends to have more importance for us.
This helps us to understand the absolute and vital necessity of prayer. If our path and our purpose is a relationship with the living God, then this should be the forefront of our attention. Without God as our focal point, our relationship with him falls by the wayside.
Deepening our Prayer Life
Our prayer life is not fixed, but always a dynamic movement towards or away from God. To journey towards the Lord, even with the ups and downs of discernment, is to continually move forward spiritually.
Additionally, to pray involves reading reality according to God’s Providence. Prayer allows us to recognize that each present moment is a revelation of God, who is always reaching out to us in an utterly personal way, leading us to deeper freedom. Prayer helps us unpack the moments of our lives in which God is reaching us and to enter into deeper dialogue with Him.
Just like how God communicates to humanity in real, historical events communicated in Scripture, our own spiritual lives are rooted in historic events. Our relationship with God happens in the concrete moments of life, in which He reveals himself. Prayer teaches us to move from the events themselves to discover how God is communicating to us through these events. We begin to read the events of our lives differently because of prayer.
Five Key Points
Fr. Presutti then explained five key points to prayer and how spiritual direction can help us deepen our prayer lives.
He prefaced these points by emphasizing that prayer is not something we do or things we say. It is a relationship we live.
The Absolute Necessity of Prayer
The Catechism teaches us that to live as Christians, we must pray. Jesus’ life is constant prayer with the Father and in fact, his whole being is relationship to the Father. We are called to imitate Christ by continually receiving life from the Lord in prayer.
According to St. Teresa of Avila, “Prayer is an intimate sharing between friends.” It is a place in which one can be herself. Prayer is a safe place where God awaits us, to come before him and share the depths of our interior life.
My Role and God’s Role
Though there is a familiarity with God, we are reminded that while God is there, we are not him. The distinction between God and the believer is what allows prayer to truly be a dialogue. In prayer, we have to take on our role and let God have his role. In order for God to truly be a friend to us, this “letting God be God” allows the space for Him to accompany us in a profound way.
Entering the mystery
While we may understand our need for prayer, it is still a mystery. We can open our hearts and ask the Lord to speak to us, but how He works within us always remains shrouded in a mystery.
Necessity of spiritual direction
Finally, because prayer is so essential to our growth, spiritual direction becomes necessary to advance. Spiritual direction is to be a servant to prayer, understood as our relationship with the living God. Anyone who seeks to live a solid Christian life should seek the accompaniment of a spiritual director who can aid us in our journey with the Lord.
Fr. Presutti ended the webinar inviting listeners to ask themselves if they may be called to accompany others spiritually as a spiritual director. To learn more, The Spiritual Direction Certification Program provides the knowledge, skills, and supervision for future spiritual directors.