taking the words of Jesus seriously

I try to start each day by setting aside about twenty minutes for centering prayer.  I empty my mind of the hundred-and-one things that are apt to start spinning in my head the moment I wake up.  Then, focusing on Jesus, I let Him love me.  I wait to feel myself enveloped by His presence.  I silently yield to being saturated by His Spirit.

In my morning prayers, I say nothing to God and I hear no words from God.  But in these times of “waiting upon the Lord, ” my spiritual strength is renewed.

Secondly, at the end of each day I practice the Ignatian prayer of examen.  Lying in bed I reflect on all the good and God-honoring things that I did during the day, and thank God for allowing me to be an instrument of love and peace.  Following Philippians 4:8, I remember whatever I did that was “true… honorable… just… pure… pleasing…

commendable… any excellence and… anything worthy of praise.”  Only then, after such affirmation, am I then prepared to review the day a second time, recalling everything that I said that was hurtful to others and fell short of God’s will.  In accord with what I read in I John 1:9, I ask not only for God’s forgiveness, but also for God’s cleansing.  I ask Christ to reach out from Calvary, across time and space, and absorb out of me the sin and darkness that accumulated within me during the day.

I believe that because the Holy Spirit is holy, the Holy Spirit is frustrated coming to dwell in dirty temples.  Thus, Christ’s cleansing of my temple at the end of the day is a requisite for receiving the infilling of His Spirit during centering prayer the next morning.  Without His Spirit in me, I lose heart and lack the energy to do justice and evangelism.

About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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