When we pray and meditate consistently on God’s Word there is emotional and spiritual space created in our hearts. The Holy Spirit fills this space (OUR INNER LIFE) for the purpose of creating a greater level communion with us. He seeks inward fellowship with us.
I was encouraged early in my ministry to read The Art of Prayer (Faber & Faber). The Art of Prayer is concerned in particular with the most frequently used and best loved of all Orthodox prayers – the Lord’s Prayer. It deals also with the general question ‘What is Prayer?’, with the different degrees of prayer from ordinary oral prayer to unceasing prayer of the heart, with the dangers of illusion and discouragement, and the need for seclusion and inner peace.
There is an excerpt that describes the holy need for developing our inner life through prayer and meditation. The excerpt reads, “There are many among you who have no knowledge of the inner work required of the man who would hold God in remembrance. Nor do such people even understand what remembrance of God means, or know anything about spiritual prayer, for they imagine that the only right way of praying is to use such prayers as are to be found in Church books. As for secret communion with God in the heart, they know nothing of this, nor of the profit that comes from it, nor do they ever taste its spiritual sweetness. Those who only hear about spiritual meditation and prayer and have no direct knowledge of it are like men blind from birth, who hear about the sunshine without ever knowing what it really is. Through this ignorance they lose many spiritual blessings, and are slow in arriving at the virtues which make for the fulfillment of God’s good pleasure.”
To develop inwardly and walk the path of spiritual growth, we must first be willing to grow in our devotional, relational and personal commitment to worship, prayer, study of the Word of God and to our relationship with the Holy Spirit. The initial steps to such growth happen naturally as we seek to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and stay committed to our own personal growth.
For we who want to go deeper in our personal growth need spiritual guidance from the Holy Spirit. He truly desires to lead us into an intimate and exciting realm of spiritual learning. Like attending any school, be it elementary or college, it is best to set a fixed time each day to worship, pray and study. It is best that during this time we allow no interruptions. If we remain committed and consistent in such disciplines, our spiritual life will become deeper and more glorious. The result will be a new found awareness of God’s Presence and power.
I encourage you to start with three mornings a week and then add a morning each week until every morning begins with Him. There are many of testimonies of people who chose to meet with the Lord each morning. This practice has resulted in the majority of them (from St. Francis to John Wesley to Billy Graham) experiencing marvelous spiritual experiences, including victories, miracles and great joy.
In my own life, I have found the continual development of my inner life to be encouraging, exhilarating, and very satisfying. I am reminded even now of the words to an old hymn. These words are the theme to the development of my own inner life. They are the goal to all I desire to become and I hope they inspire you as well.
“To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus. All I ask is to be like Him. All through life’s journey, from earth to glory, all I ask…to be like Him.”