Questions about a deeper relationship with God

I would like a deeper relationship with God and I have a couple of questions.

First is prayer. I find that Lectio Divina, the rosary and other forms of structured prayer are very helpful. In a lot of ways my protestant friends seem to have a closer relationship with God, and pray only extemporaneously. When I try to do this, my mind wanders, unless I’m talking out loud. But it does seem like a close relationship would involve informal conversation, as well as silence, so I don’t know if my mind isn’t disciplined or if there’s something I need to do differently or is some “wool gathering” inevitable.

Second question is about confession. I go to confession once a month. I try to do an examination of conscience at the end of the day, and I’ve looked at many examination lists online, but I usually can’t come up with much. I’m sure there is stuff I’m doing/not doing that displeases God, but I’m just not aware of it, like a fish isn’t aware of their water. If I go to confession frequently and I’m confessing only venial sins, can I just say I’m prideful and selfish, but I’m not exactly sure how? That seems like a waste of the priest’s time. If you go to confession frequently, like once a week, what do you do, and how did you become more aware of your sin?

Third question is about thankfulness. How can I be more aware of all my blessings and worship God more in this way? I try to tell God thank you frequently. I have so much, but I want to appreciate it more, and especially for spiritual blessings, like heaven, if I make it.

Also, any other tips you have about a deeper relationship with God is appreciated. Thanks.

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For the first: the type of unstructed prayer most beneficial is short immediate prayers when you need help or guidance throughout the day. If you are about to cook say: “God help me so this goes well and it will taste good,” if you are about to go outside say “God protect me through the blood of Jesus and keep me safe” when you return say “Thank you Lord for protecting me.” Things like this. It allows you to draw closer to God and see how you truly rely on Him for all you do and all the gifts you have and anything. This thankfulness and constant prayer will draw you closer to Him by increasing your love to Him. This type of prayer was recommended by St. Alphonsus in many places:

When you begin any work or study, say: Lord! I offer Thee this work. When you eat: My God, bless this food and me, that I may commit no fault about it; and may all be for Thy glory. After having eaten: I thank Thee, Lord! for having done good to one who was Thy enemy. When the clock strikes: My Jesus! I love Thee: never permit me to offend Thee again, and let me never be separated from Thee. In adverse circumstances: Lord, since Thou hast so willed it, I will it also. In time of temptation often repeat: Jesus and Mary! When you know or doubt of some fault or sin you have committed, say immediately: My God! I repent of having offended Thee, O Infinite Goodness! I will do so no more. And if it was a grievous sin, confess it at once.

Think of it as the mortar that goes between the bricks of your formal structured prayers. Many Saints have become perfected by this.

Second question: if you can not find things you have done maybe it is simply that you do not commit mortal sin and are in habitual grace, and only have venial sins. Or maybe it is that you do not recognize your sins, if that is the case, this article may help you and reveal to you some things you do: http://www.chastitysf.com/confession.htm#EG Also remember sins of omission. Think of any good you could’ve done but didn’t do, and start confessing that.

For thankfulness this is sort of answered by my first response, but in more detail: thank God in those short little prayers more often at times when you use the computer, thank Him for it, when you run water thank Him for that, and so on. You will begin to see that without the smallest gifts of God you would perish, and gratitude will fill your soul. This article also goes into 10+ ways in which you can nurture gratitude in your daily life: http://www.chastitysf.com/gratitude.htm

Just do these things and you will find yourself closer to our Beautiful Lord (and in my experience within the week of beginning). God bless you

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I don’t know how exactly one feels or does to have a deeper relationship with God but I feel that I do have a “deeper” relationship with God than before because, my whole perspective or the way of viewing of life and humanity has changed so much that I call it the “work of God” .

Whether I’m happy or sad, I pray. A lot of “talking” is involved (like you would with your best friend but God is more than that). I do tend to forget the many blessings I’ve received and so, i whine. But I quickly recover from my foolery and then just pray, pray and pray ( with confessions of course). Praying for others makes me happiest. Confessions un-burden my soul and asking for guidance relieves me. I can feel the inner peace spreading within me.

That said, I’ve still thousands of miles to go to actually consider myself to be in a relationship with God because occasionally, I turn away from Him in despair. Haha. How bad is that? Thankfully, the Holy Spirit guides me back.

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Fr Dubay’s book “Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer” was a game changer for me.

I usually go twice a month for devotional reasons. Sometimes one time, sometimes three times.

My life has gotten very staid and I’m old. I don’t commit many of the sins on the list. The ones I do commit tend to be the same ones over and over, like I got impatient with someone for their driving or for giving poor service or arguing with me, or I felt envious of someone who was getting more attention than myself, etc.

I sometimes feel like I should have more sins to report, but now that I spend my time seeking after God I’m not so inclined to commit sins related to sex, money, material goods, drinking etc that I once did. Also, I take seriously trying to avoid sin. Perhaps you are in the same position.

Nevertheless, I hardly think we are wasting the priest’s time. Such confessions generally take 5 minutes and it’s usually the only 5 minutes I get with a priest till the next confession rolls around. Also, if one does First Saturdays, then Mother Mary told us to go at least once a month. Finally, we must remember that it’s entirely possible that going frequently to confession helps keep us out of sin. We gain grace by going, and we are always thinking “if I sin I will have to mention that in Confession” and sometimes it makes me stop and not sin.

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As a former evangelical, I completely understand what you’re saying here. I was taught that ‘rote’ prayers were what Jesus spoke against…but apparently the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is acceptable?! I was terrible at free form prayer, but learned to ‘speak the language’ and managed okay if called to pray in a group. The idea of contemplative prayer–the chaplet of Divine Mercy, the rosary–revolutionised prayer for me. The rote prayers marking time whilst my deeper mind contemplated the mysteries… this is where it is for me. The formal informality of evangelical prayer was formulaic and empty to me (not saying it’s not good, just that it isn’t for me). ’ Dear Heavenly Father’ followed by the ACTS model (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). As far as my daily life, I have an awareness of God in everything, which for me is communion. When I stand at the edge of the ocean, when my husband holds me, when my children and I laugh together, when I see the owl out back…there is always this awareness that ‘oh my God, YOU did this. You made this for Yourself and for us. YOU gave me this man as a life partner, YOUR face looks at me when I look at my children, YOU make the body desperate for a sip of water whilst also gathering the waters together to form the most mighty force on the planet, YOU, YOU, YOU.’ It’s just acknowledging Him in everything. This is an excellent and very brief book/lecture that helped me to realise I didn’t need to do great and showy things for God, but that even washing the dishes was working for Him (don’t let the term ‘women’s work’ deter you–it is an excellent book).

…continued…

…continuation:

I feel the same about confession. When we converted to Catholicism, confession was a new experience for me. As an evangelical I thought the idea of confessing to a priest was ludicrous–that’s why you have ‘accountability partners’. But it’s a huge blessing. Every single time, without fail, I am near tears for shame when I close the confessional door, and without fail, I walk out with an enormous burden lifted. Knowing there is confession serves as a deterrent for most obvious sins. I rarely have ‘big’ sins like ‘I stole this’ or ‘I lied about x’. (Plus having battled cancer for years, I am not tempted to sin as much–‘whoever suffers in the body is done with sin’–I Peter 4:1). But I know I am innately weak and sinful, even if I’m not aware of overt acts of blatant sin, and I often tell the priest this. Also, my confession often includes confessing my fears and lack of strength given my station/situation in life.

I think I covered that mostly in my answer to your first question above. Just being aware of God in all things automatically generates gratitude when you experience life.

I really love that you started this thread. I think you clearly have a deep soul that yearns for God–only a person of depth could ask the questions you’ve raised. I hope to have more conversations with you.

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Try writing them down in a notebook

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I love this scripture. I’ll have to look this passage up. Yes, this is how I feel and was kind of where I was going with this. I know we we have to say kind and number if it’s a serious sin but I didn’t know if I can just generally talk about character issues and stuff like that, even though there’s nothing specific I can think of that’s overtly sinful

Thanks for the encouragement. I hope to see you around the forums. :slight_smile:

Thanks, I will check this out.

Thanks, I will see if I can get a copy

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I would just add to all the good replys; Mathew 25.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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