Holy Spirit Interactive is very pleased to present the serialization of Fr. Jack McArdle's book "It's Me Again, Lord ...". Fr. Jack, for those who aren't familiar with the name, is a priest who works out of Dublin. He is the author of numerous bestselling books of spirituality including Come 'ere till I tell you and A Word in Your Ear. A popular speaker and retreat-leader, he has also presented a series of Spirit Level on RTE Radio 1. We will be presenting more from Fr. Jack in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy this.
This is not a prayer-book, in the normal understanding of that concept. It is a book of prayers, of course, but, I hope, it will prove to be much more than that. I wouldn't dare tell others what words they should use, how they should speak to God, how they should relate to God. The inspiration and the generation of all this comes from God himself, through the presence and work of his Spirit in our hearts.
Prayer has had many definitions over the years, and we are now approaching the possibility of accepting the simple fact that defining exactly what prayer is, is something beyond our grasp. Communication is, at least, two-way, or not at all. Prayer is both listening to, and speaking to God, and words are not an essential part of either. When I decide to use words, I don't have to choose words. Coming before God is like opening out the full canvas of my life in his presence. When Adam and Eve sinned, we are told that they hid, because they were afraid. The road back to the Garden involves coming out of hiding, into the truth, and into the freedom that truth brings.
In this book I have prayed for the guidance of the Spirit, reached down into my heart, and written the words that came from there. I know very well that only those who are depressed, bereaved, lonely, or afraid, are qualified to put words on how they feel. I have stepped out in faith in trying to capture some of those feelings, and I trust the good Lord, and the understanding of the reader, to fill in the many gaps that must surely be there. These prayers are intended to help, and they can help best if used in the most helpful way. For example, it is possible that only one or two prayers speak directly to the situation in which a particular person lives. It would not surprise me, indeed, if, at some later date, these prayers appeared on separate leaflets. I will give that some thought in the not-too-distant future.
Of necessity, there is a certain level of artificiality about these prayers, in that each is divided into two separate monologues. I am very conscious of this, but, I am also hopeful, that, when used for the umpteenth time, as I speak, I will also hear God's response at the very same time. What is offered here is nothing more than a kick-start on a journey, and, I have helped you only when you don't need the words in this book to open your heart of God, or to get to know the heart of God.
The final chapters are much more than just 'fillers'. A life without reflection is not worth living. What I offer is intended to stir up reflection, to give food for thought, and to supply the spiritual chewing-gum for the day. The idle mind is the devil's workshop, and the inner spirit can be a Third World, right within my own heart. It is important to become familiar with God. By that, I don't mean to know all about Him, or to have some inside track to His attention. I mean being aware of his presence, and being at ease in his presence. One serious question for you now: What image of God do you work out of? If you have an Irish Catholic male God, you are sure to have problems with the relationship, because He will be watching you all the time, you will do everything within your power to keep him happy, you will be burdened with guilt, and, after all that, you'll be terrifed to die! There is only one God, and Jesus told us to call Him Abba, Daddy, Father.........
PRAYER BEFORE ALL PRAYERS
(It is suggested that you might develop the habit of saying these, or similar prayers, at the very beginning of all your prayer-times).
Holy Spirit, breath and power of God, please be in my heart now, as a Spirit of Truth, so that I may be sincere and genuine in what I am about. I know that I can say prayers, but I certainly cannot pray. Prayer is something sacred, because it brings me face to face with the Almighty God, and, therefore, it is something that only you can do through me, with me, and for me. Please be in my words to turn them into prayer. I trust you in my heart, so that I can pour out my heart, and be sure that I am in the presence of God.
Mary, my Mother, caretaker of my heart, please continue to supervise the miracle of Incarnation within. You did in a perfect way what I'm struggling towards. Your basic prayer was YES, and everything that happened after that was the work of God. Please continue to pray in me, with me, and for me. Go to Jesus on my behalf again and again, so that my heart may become a prayer room, a Pentecost place, a place of the Spirit, an Upper Room. Thank you for being with me; in makes all the difference in the world. Please teach me to pray with a grateful heart. Thank you.