Category Archives: Jesus Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer and Discipleship

MakeDisciplesLogoListen to this message (if you missed it or not in town) from Neil Botts, our Executive Pastor at Christ Church, on The Lord’s Prayer. Our current teaching series has a double focus: Learning what a disciple of Jesus is really ‘like;’ and learning from the Master how disciples are ‘made.’

Here is a helpful resource from Neil on developing a life of prayer:

Three Practical Ways to Use The Lord’s Prayer to Develop Your Prayer Life

  1. Make the Lord’s Prayer the framework for regular daily praying. Take each clause at a time, and, while holding each in turn in the back of your mind, call into the front of your mind the particular things you want to pray for as it were, under that heading. Under the clause ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, for example, include the peace of the world with some particular instances where conflict is raging, whether it be in Syria or your city or your family. The important thing is to let the heart of Jesus’ prayer encircle the people for whom you are praying, the situations about which you are concerned, so that you see them bathed in the healing light of the Lord’s love as expressed in the prayer.
  2. Use the Lord’s Prayer as a form of breath prayer. Repeat it slowly, again and again, in the rhythm of your breathing, so that it becomes almost second nature. Those of us who live busy or stressful lives may find a discipline like this very difficult; but, again, it may be precisely people like that who need the calming and nourishing medicine of this prayer to be woven into the fabric of their subconscious. Next time you make a car journey by yourself, leave the radio switched off, and try it. Yes, it takes times. What else would you expect?
  3. Take the clauses of the prayer one by one and make each in turn your ‘prayer for the day’. Sunday: Our Father. Monday: Thy Kingdom Come. Tuesday: Give us this day. Wednesday: Forgive us. Thursday: Lead us. Friday: Deliver us. Use the clause of each day into which you can step at any moment, through which you can pray for the people you meet, the things you’re doing, all that’s going on around you. This prayer then becomes the lens through which you see the world.

*There are dozens of other ways in which this prayer can be used. These are just suggestions to get started. The three listed above are adapted from The Lord and His Prayer by N.T. Wright.

Of Prayer and iPhones

raman-iphone-bowl-1After last week’s sermon stressing Paul’s injunction to “pray without ceasing,” (and the reminder that God is closer than “the Cloud!”) I got an email from friends who started to pray before and after using their smart phones for email or texts, etc. I added the thought of praying for the person involved with each message. Philip Yancey comments:

“Prayer consists of Attention,” wrote Simone Weil. “It is the orientation of all the attention of which the soul is capable toward God.” How do we pray “ without ceasing ” in Paul’s phrase? Our minds have the potential to attend to more than one thing at once, and I have found it possible to give God attention even while doing something else: to pray simultaneously as other activities are going on. I simply try to direct Godward the inner dialogue that is taking place all the time . To pray without ceasing taps into the mind’s multitasking ability. (Philip Yancey, Prayer)

A more focused use of the constant Jesus Prayer or other “prayer of one breath” is summarized by Richard Foster in his book on prayer:

The idea has its roots in the Psalms, where a repeated phrase reminds us of an entire Psalm, for example, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me” (Ps. 139:1). As a result, the concept arose of a short, simple prayer of petition that can be spoken in one breath, hence the name “breath prayer.” Gregory of Sinai says, “One’s love of God should run before breathing.”4 The most famous of the breath prayers is the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

As you can tell, this prayer is derived from Jesus’ parable on self-righteousness, in which the tax collector beat his chest and prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). It came together in its present form and was used extensively in the sixth century and then was revived in the Eastern Church in the fourteenth century. In the nineteenth century an anonymous Russian peasant tells the moving story of his search to pray without ceasing in The Way of a Pilgrim. Once he learned the Jesus Prayer, he prayed it continuously until the prayer moved from his mind into his heart and finally throughout his whole body—becoming so internalized that it was present with him at all times, whether he was awake or asleep.

This particular book has had an influence upon Christians far beyond the borders of the Eastern Church. But the Jesus Prayer is only one example. It is also possible to discover your own individual breath prayer. One evening some years ago I was out jogging, when a dozen or more breath prayers poured forth from my lips. Here are a few of those prayers that came tumbling out that summer evening: “O Lord, baptize me with love”; “Teach me gentleness, Father”; “Jesus, let me receive your grace”; “Gracious Master, remove my fear”; “Reveal my sin, O Holy Spirit”; “Lord Jesus, help me feel loved.” Notice the brevity of each of the prayers—seldom more than seven or eight syllables. Also, note the sense of nearness and intimacy: God is addressed in a close, personal way. See too how the person praying expresses dependence, docility, trust—the opposite of self-reliance. Then notice that the prayers are all requests. This is self-focused prayer in the sense that we are asking something to be done in us or to us. But it is not self-centered prayer, for the requests of breath prayer are seasoned reflections on the will and ways of God.

Again, I recommend The Jesus Prayer, by F.M. Green for more detail on this “prayer of the heart.”  See my earlier posts also.

 

 

 

 

Prayer: What Difference Does It Make?

prayer_screenOur summer series at Christ Church asks some hard and honest questions about Prayer and our practice of it. Today we explored the relationship of God’s Spirit and continual prayer. God invites us into a love relationship that is intended to push back the lesser and competing loves that cry for our allegiance. [Sunday’s sermon audio is here.]

Some suggested resources on growing in prayer:

Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference.

Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.

Jerry Sittser (author of A Grace Disguised), When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer.

Frederica Mathewes-Green,  The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God.

We prepared for Holy Communion this morning with a poem from George Herbert: Love III

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

 

 

Day 9, Pierced!

sinai iconOn my retreat this week , we began with a lengthy time of silence. I went to a small chapel and knelt down and just gazed at an icon of Christ, the type of which always has the hand raised in blessing and holding the Scriptures. The icon here is called Christ of Sinai, ‘written’ in the sixth century and preserved in the remote monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai desert.

This word from God in Hebrews flooded into my mind:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:12-13)

I felt lovingly “pierced” by the discerning Word of God. I left known and still loved! Jesus and the Scriptures do that.

Scriptures to pray with today:
Psalm 51 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”
Hebrews 4:11-16 – “With confidence, draw near.”
John 3:16-36 – “God so loved the world…”

Response:
“Search me and know my heart…”

A Prayer for the road:
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

[Join us for these 40 days of “Spiritual Spring Training,” as we journey through Lent. You can visit the blog each day. You can also follow me on Twitter which will have the links as well. I will post each day leading to Easter, except Sundays.]

Day 4 – Fasting from ‘Religion’

Jesus eating w the nationsIsaiah and Jesus took fasting to a whole other level! God calls Isaiah to fast  from sin – from oppression, pointing the finger of false accusation, malicious speech, and lack of compassion. The people of God are to feed the hungry and care for the homeless and outsider. The promise is wonderful: “You will be like a spring of water; you will be guided continually and be called repairers of breaches and restorers of streets to dwell in.”

Jesus broke all the religious insider codes by “eating with tax collectors and sinners.” “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” We’ve missed the point, if we don’t join Jesus to tear  down the “closed country club for the ‘healthy'” and build instead an “always-open hospital for the ailing and weak – which is just about all of us.” (Richard Rohr, in God for Us, p.22)

Scriptures to pray with:
Psalm 86:1-11 – “Gladden the soul of your servant.”
Isaiah 58:9b-14 – “you shall raise up the foundations of many generations!”
Luke 5:27-32 – “O Physician of every soul…!”

Response:
Will our churches be “always-open hospitals for the ailing and weak?” Begin with me.

A Prayer for the road:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

 

[Join us for these 40 days of “Spiritual Spring Training,” as we journey through Lent. You can visit the blog each day. You can also follow me on Twitter which will have the links as well. I will post each day leading to Easter (April 20th) except Sundays.]

A New ‘Jesus Prayer’ (complements of NT Wright)

For many years I’ve commended The Jesus Prayer as a form of learning continuous prayer. In my time away this week I was reminded of a beautiful modification by N. T. Wright emphasizing the Trinity. I’ll post the main part of it here:

I want, in this brief epilogue, to suggest one form of prayer in particular that seems to me to encapsulate all that I have been trying to say.  It grows out of several concerns and backgrounds, and I believe it may be helpful to some who are wrestling with these issues and seeking to do so in a Christian way, that is, not by mere intellectual effort alone, but through prayer, meditation, and a settled and steady seeking of God’s will and way.  I am aware that prayer and temperament are intertwined, and there may well be some who, for perfectly good reasons, will find my suggestions incomprehensible or unnecessary.  I trust that they will excuse this short chapter, and leave it for those who may find something in it to their profit.

A word, first, about the traditions of prayer upon which this form seeks to draw.  The Jews, at least as early as Jesus and probably much earlier, used various prayers on a regular basis.  One such may well have been that in which, in Isaiah’s great vision in chapter 6, the angels were chanting: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  Another, which formed the basis of regular Jewish daily prayer, was the Shema, which starts: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4).  This might strike us as something of an odd “prayer”; it looks more like a credal formula followed by a command.  (The rest of the Shema, which continues to verse 9, and then adds Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41, includes still more commands.)  But by Jesus’ day it had already sunk deep into the consciousness of the Jewish people, not only as a formula to be repeated three times a day but as a badge of loyalty, an agenda to be followed, a statement of faith that set the compass for another day, another hour, another minute of following the true God wherever he might lead.  The noble old Rabbi Akiba, one of those who stood against the Emperor Hadrian’s anti-semitic legislation and died horribly at the hands of his torturers, went on reciting the Shema quietly until he could do so no more.  Like the angels ceaselessly chanting “Holy, holy, holy,” the Shema had become, for Akiba, as habitual, and as vital, as breathing.

A different tradition is that of the Eastern Orthodox church, which I mentioned in chapter 12.  There the “Jesus prayer” has been rightly popular: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  (There are variations, but this is perhaps the best known.)  This, like the Jewish Shema, is designed to be said over and over again, until it becomes part of the act of breathing, embedding a sense of the love of Jesus deep within the personality.  This prayer, again like the Shema, begins with a confession of faith, but here it is a form of address.  And instead of commandments to keep, it focuses on the mercy that the living God extends through his Son to all who will seek it.  This prayer has been much beloved by many in the Orthodox and other traditions, who have found that when they did not know what else to pray, this prayer would rise, by habit, to their mind and heart, providing a vehicle and focus for whatever concern they wished to bring into the Father’s presence.
 
I have a great admiration for this tradition, but I have always felt a certain uneasiness about it.  For a start, it seems to me inadequate to address Jesus only.  The Orthodox, of course, have cherished the trinitarian faith, and it has stood them in good stead over the course of many difficult years.  It is true that the prayer contains an implicit doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is invoked as the Son of the living God, and Christians believe that prayer addressed to this God is itself called forth by the Spirit.  But the prayer does not seem to me to embody a fully trinitarian theology as clearly as it might.  In addition, although people more familiar than I with the use of this prayer have spoken of its unfolding to embrace the whole world, in its actual words it is focused very clearly on the person praying, as an individual.  Vital though that is, as the private core of the Christian faith without which all else is more or less worthless, it seems to me urgent that our praying should also reflect, more explicitly, the wider concerns with which we have been dealing.
 
I therefore suggest that we might use a prayer that, though keeping a similar form to that of the Orthodox Jesus Prayer, expands it into a trinitarian mode:
 
 
Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth:  Set up your kingdom in our midst.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God:  Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Holy Spirit, breath of the living God: Renew me and all the world.
 
I would like to say a number of things about this composite prayer by way of explanation.  First, as to its emphases.  Its opening echoes that of the Lord’s Prayer itself, which catches up Israel’s longing that her God should bring in his kingdom of justice and peace, and extends these petitions, in the light of Jesus’ whole work, to the whole world.  Paul does much the same in Ephesians 1, turning older Jewish prayer formulae to new use with a focus on Jesus, meditating on and exulting in God’s work in Christ until, with the mention of the Spirit, the trinitarian picture is complete.  In the same way, in the prayer I am suggesting, we invoke the one Creator of the whole universe, the one who alone is the source of all things, the one parodied by so much paganism.  As we do so, and pray for the coming of his kingdom, we enfold within that prayer our hopes and longings for justice and peace, for the hungry to be satisfied, for the poor to have their needs supplied.  This prayer can be used wherever one faces a situation that cries out for God to come and reign as King.  In particular, of course, it can be used in what we call evangelism.  To present Jesus as the Lord who claims the allegiance of men and women is to seek to bring the kingdom of God to bear on their lives.

By itself, this first clause could become triumphalistic.  It could lead us to imagine that we knew exactly what the kingdom would involve, and that we were merely enlisting the Creator of the world as the necessary power to achieve the program we had mapped out.  How wrong such prayer would be.  Indeed, it is as we pray the heartfelt prayer for the kingdom that we are faced, if we are honest, with the deep realization of our own confusion, inadequacy for the task, rebellion, distortion of God’s will, and frank, no-nonsense, old-fashioned sin.  It is therefore vital that we keep the middle segment of the prayer much as the Orthodox use it.  If, by itself, this part could become self-centered, without it we could become hollow.  No Christian can afford to lose the daily and hourly sense of dependence on the free mercy and love of God, mediated through the extraordinary love and grace of Jesus.  This prayer, too, can of course be used in the context of particular penitence for particular sin.  God knows we will have enough need of it.

But we cannot stop there.  Once we have been grasped afresh by the love of God in Jesus liberating us from our own idolatries so that our work for the kingdom may be free from distortions of our own making, then we must lift our eyes to the world around and see the new work that awaits us.  Faced with this, we can and must pray to the Spirit, as Ezekiel was commanded to call fo
r the wind that would come and make the dry bones live.  We must pray to the Spirit who alone can give life not only to us but to all the world. And with that prayer we are praying at least three things.  We are praying that we ourselves may be healed and renewed, in and from the depths of our own beings, with a healing that will culminate in the Resurrection, but which may be anticipated in all kinds of ways during the present life.  We are praying, secondly, that others may come to abandon their idolatries and find the truth about the world and its Creator in worshiping the God revealed in Jesus.  And we are praying, as we must, that the whole creation, nonhuman as well as human, may find the full rejuvenated life for which it was made.  We are praying, that is, for the final coming of the kingdom, only this time seen in terms of the living God flooding his creation, by his Spirit, so that it becomes as a whole what the temple in Jerusalem was supposed to be: the place where he is present, where he is worshiped, where he meets his human creatures in love and grace, the place from which there flow rivers of living and healing water.  This is the reality, glimpsed in hope in the gospel, which is parodied in pagan pantheism.  This prayer would be as appropriate in ecological as in evangelistic work.  It would be appropriate as part of a healing ministry, and would be equally at home in the context of the quest for personal or communal renewal and revitalization.

Second, a word about the use of this prayer as a whole.  Obviously anyone is free to use it as he or she wishes, but two ways in particular have commended themselves to me.

The first is its use within a litany.  The first line of each part can be used as a versicle, and the second as a response.  Put together, the three sections cover so many of the areas that the church should be praying for that it would make sense to group different areas of petition under the three heads, repeating each phrase as often as necessary to effect a good rhythm and balance in the whole.  The singular “me” in the second and third clauses could of course become “us.”  And the prayer, thus used, could include praise and confession as well as petition.  There are many possibilities here that could be explored, which could help a congregation to turn the concerns of the present book into serious corporate prayer.
The second relates to more personal use.  I have spoken of the way in which, in the Jewish and Orthodox traditions, some prayers have become, as it were, embedded in the personality by constant use.  I appreciate that some Christians might initially be alarmed by this, for reasons discussed in chapter 13.  Personally, I can see no reason for anxiety, and every reason for welcoming such a practice.  If the angels constantly repeat their “Holy, holy, holy,” I cannot see why Christians should not repeat words about the threefold and glorious God.  It is vain repetitions that we are called to forswear.  I suggest that, for some Christians at least, a prayer such as the one I have suggested can become, by constant repetition, the very center of their human existence.
This is in part because it builds on two features that are common to humans in general.  The first of these concerns human breathing.  In Genesis 2:7, it is said that God breathed into human nostrils the breath of life, so that Adam became a living being.  There is a strange truth here which we do not usually grasp.  If we even think about the act of breathing, we probably regard it as a purely “natural” or “scientific” phenomenon. Genesis regards it as part of the gift, to humans, of God’s own life.  Breathing sets up a rhythm that quietly gets on with the job of enlivening and energizing us.
This habit of prayer, with phrases such as I have suggested, takes up this fact and builds on it.  The first clause of each couplet can be said in the mind while breathing in. We are drawing in God’s breath. God’s gift of life:
 
Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth . . .
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God . . .
 and particularly, of course,
Holy Spirit, breath of the living . . .
 

Then, having in each case, as it were, “inhaled” the truth and life of God himself, the miracle occurs.  God’s own life becomes ours. Just as God’s breath becomes our breath, so the prayer that has invoked the living God becomes prayer that is both God’s own prayer, part of the constant, loving, and joyful prayer of the Trinity, and our own prayer.  As John 14 makes clear, the closer we come to understanding the threeness of God, the more we are summoned to fully Christian prayer.  We respond, exhaling the breath that has become our own:

Set up your kingdom in our midst.
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Renew me and all the world.

If we thus capture the God-given rhythm of breathing itself, a new wholeness results.  It is as though breath becomes more fully what it already is by becoming prayer, and as though prayer becomes more fully what it already is by becoming breath.

The second feature upon which such a practice can build concerns the human semi-conscious mind.  Most humans, most of the time, have comparatively empty minds, which fill themselves from moment to moment with vague snatches of memory, of odd words and phrases, odd hopes and fears, odd snatches of songs or music.  Indeed, it can be a thorough nuisance to have something, as we say, “in the head” and not to be able to get rid of it.  The use I have suggested for this prayer gently takes this fact about our humanness, this habit of the mind to be continually murmuring on to itself, and woos it with the gospel.  It takes responsibility for the times when the mind is “in neutral.”  It replaces the casual, irrelevant, involuntary mental chatter with a quiet, glad repetition of words whose content is incalculably challenging and at the same time incalculably consoling.
Such a manner of praying is not acquired overnight.  Indeed, for many people, such a habit might well be inappropriate.  For such, there will be other prayers, or other methods of praying this one.  But it could, I suspect, be of help to many more than have at present tried anything of the sort.  Paul, after all, tells us to “pray constantly,” and though he may simply have meant “morning, noon, and night,” the regular times of Jewish prayer, he may also have had in mind the sort of praying I am describing.
The important thing is to start.  Perhaps the best way is to use the phrases one at a time: either the first during the morning, the second during the afternoon, and the third during the evening; or possibly the first one day, the second the next, and the third the next.  There are no rules.  Having begun, perhaps during a regular time of prayer, one can return to the prayer, quietly drawing strength from God in the process, during the busyness and the idleness of the time that follows.  Gradually, if we persevere, we shall discover that the prayer rises unbidden to the mind and the heart.  It has become part of who we are.  And the potential results of such a gradual and quiet change are incalculable, both for oneself, for the church, and for the world!
 

sabbath reflection on the paradox of prayer

Sea Gull Monastery  (3-19-12)

Sabbath time at Jamestown dock
void of boats
just lonely posts;

Seagull sentinels
perch like stylite
desert monks

Doing nothing apparent.
What purpose, this unnoticed sitting
so still and tranquil

Alive to no one
but themselves and their Maker
and me?

What difference do they make?
What difference
does prayer make?

Learning to Pray ‘with Rhythm’

The people of God have always had a balance of praying at set times and places as well as “praying without ceasing.” We all need a Rule of Life (or Game Plan) to be disciplined and intentional in our growth as followers of Jesus.  Prayer is no exception.

I’d like to list some resources from previous Ruminations postings and books that can supplement the teaching and discussions we are having about prayer.

Praying with the Church is Scot McKnight’s excellent survey of the order and set ways believers in biblical and church history prayed.

Martin Luther’s letter to his barber on praying gives practical advice on the use of the Bible and specifically the Lord’s Prayer.

For the Jesus Prayer, I recommend listening to a modern Orthodox teacher, Kallistos Ware, who I had the privilege to meet at a North Park University talk. Available at Ancient Faith Radio here.

The Jesus Prayer is a recent book on the prayer and so much more by Frederica Mathewes-Green that I reviewed previously. There is now a shorter booklet available, in ebook form or packages of 5 from Paraclete Press called Praying the Jesus Prayer.

A Praying Life, by Paul E. Miller is a recent book on prayer that is one of the most honest and practical I know of.

Remember, if we don’t pray somewhere – sometime, we will probably not pray everywhere – all of the time!

Pray without ceasing – the goal of continual communion

The Apostle Paul’s “All – Trilogy” (1 Thes. 5:16-18)  has been deeply impacting us.

ALways rejoice;
ALL the time (without ceasing) pray;
In ALL circumstances, give thanks,
for this (all 3!)  is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

The Greek text puts the “ALL” constructs at the beginning for emphasis. In the teaching on Pray without Ceasing (all sermons  available here on the website) points to God’s goal of our constant communion with Him. Our cell phone, social media world provides an analogy of continual connection that we might not have thought possible a few years ago.  (Sure, we often are more known for what one of my sons called “texting without ceasing”  but it removes our excuse for thinking we can’t continually be in prayer!  (Someone reminded me recently that technology CAN also be used to enhance continual -and prompt- prayer for people all around the world.)

To truly make sense of giving thanks in all circumstances, we need to embrace the will of God, as stated in 1 Thes. 4, as our sanctification or holiness.  The ultimate purpose of God for us is our transformation into the image of Christ! God is in it all – in everything that we experience!  Romans 8:29 in The Message captures the big picture well:

…we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. 

If you would like to listen to the North Park lecture on PRAYER by  Bishop Kallistos Ware that I referenced, it is available on the Ancient Faith Radio site here.

Guard Your Heart! It’s really that important…

Preaching on the parables this summer – the recurring theme has been watchfulness, self-examination, and last week, the priority of what’s in that spiritual center of all we are and do…called the Heart.  (sermon on Mat. 15) Described hundreds of times and in dozens of ways (go ahead – search for ‘heart’ in Bible Gateway), the heart needs our utmost attention.

Let me again highlight the vital importance with 2 verses and a quote from  the ‘Church Fathers.’

Above all else, guard your heart, 
   for everything you do flows from it.
(Proverbs 4:23)

Our holy fathers have renounced all other spiritual work and concentrated wholly on this one doing, that is, on guarding the heart, convinced that, through this practice, they would easily attain every other virtue, whereas without it not a single virtue can be firmly established.   (St. Symeon the New Theologian, 10th cent.)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

So the first two things we can say: Guarding our Hearts is not an option for the Christian Disciple. And continual prayerful communion with God is the  best starting point.

What is the Lord teaching YOU about Guarding your Heart?  Share a comment.