When you identify yourself in Jesus’ place at his baptism the heavens open to you and God’s love floods down to you.
This is the heart of prayer, according to Henri Nouwen. In Spiritual Direction he defines prayer as listening to the voice of God that calls you the Beloved (p. 34).
What the Father says to Jesus at his baptism he says to you: “You are my beloved daughter and I delight in you.” “You are my beloved son and I am pleased with you.” (Matt. 3:17 paraphrased)
Jesus listened to his Father’s affirmation and he kept going back by praying in solitude (Luke 5:16). For instance, after being persecuted and threatened by a crowd he withdrew to the site of his baptism at the Jordan river and re-immersed himself in his experience as the Beloved of the Father (John 10:40).
We need to keep going back to our First Love to wash away the judgments and shame that threaten us. We need to strengthen our core identity as coheirs with Christ Jesus.
This is especially true for us who are ministry leaders and helpers. If we’re not very careful our service for God will erode our intimacy with God.
A healthy soul that can sustain a thriving ministry begins with listening to God in prayer.
“Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved,” Nouwen writes, “you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched fertile ground, you want to dig deeper. This digging and searching for an underground stream is the discipline of prayer” (p. 34).
The Beloved Prayer helps us drink in the soul-nourishing waters:
- Jesus, you are the Beloved
- Jesus, I am the Beloved
- Jesus, we are the Beloved (p. 36)
Let’s take a minute or two to pray now:
- Set your affections on Jesus as you praise him over and over, “Jesus, you are the Beloved…”
- Drink in God’s favor as you repeat, “Jesus, I am the Beloved…”
- Pray for people who come to mind, “Jesus, ________ is the Beloved…”
In Journey of the Soul, we help you experience being the Beloved of Jesus and the Father. As you walk through the six CHRIST stages of faith, including The Wall in the middle, you’ll deepen your identity in Christ and grow in emotional and spiritual health.
There is no intimacy with God or fruitful ministry to others without empathy.
Soul Shepherding has a team of Sr. Spiritual Directors who are available to give you the empathy, guidance, and prayer you need. They’ve been personally trained in our model of spiritual direction that’s Christ-centered and psychologically informed. You can learn more and schedule a time to connect here
Listen to this week’s Soul Talks podcast: “Lectio Divina in Spiritual Direction.” The spiritual practice of Lectio Divina can nourish and deepen your connection with Jesus. This way of engaging Scripture creates space for God to transform us and train us in the way of life in God’s kingdom. Hear how Lectio Divina and processing that experience with someone else, especially a Spiritual Director, can increase your intimacy with Jesus and with others.