The Kingdom of God is Within You

The Kingdom of God is Within You

April 28

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The Jesus Prayer, or any other prayer form, is meant to be a help to gently empty our minds from all that is not God, and offer all the room to him and him alone. But that is not all. Our prayer becomes a prayer of the heart when we have localized in the center of our inner being the empty space in which our God-filled mind can descend and vanish, and where the distinctions between thinking and feeling, knowing and experience, ideas and emotions are transcended, and where God can become our host. “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), Jesus said. The prayer of the heart takes these words seriously. When we empty our minds from all thoughts and our hearts from all experiences, we can prepare in the center of our innermost being the home for the God who wants to dwell in us. Then we can say with St. Paul, “I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Then we can affirm Luther’s words, “Grace is the experience of being delivered from experience.” And then we can realize that it is not we who pray, but the Spirit of God who prays in us.

Henri Nouwen

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