Fiachra’s Oratory

This page is dedicated to exploring what it means to be hospitable toward God.

An oratory is a place of prayer, often in the form of a chapel. In this case, it is a virtual space where you can participate in guided prayer and reflection on Scripture. In this holy space, you are welcomed by God who is the only Person capable of true hospitality. He welcomes us into His presence, just as we are. He listens to whatever we say, whether sublime or ridiculous, and allows us to be changed by His gentle, powerful presence. Perhaps, in time, we will learn to be more like Him, no longer coming to prayer only with our selfish demands, but coming to Him with welcoming hearts and a desire for life-transforming conversation. Perhaps then we will stop seeing God as some sort of cosmic vending machine and begin to discover Him to be our Friend.

The prayers at Fiachra’s Hollow (see PRAY WITH US) are built around the ancient practice of prayerful reading (Lectio Divina). You will find in each session prayers woven together with the reading of Scripture intended to promote communion with God and to increase knowledge of His word. It is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, listen, and then pray in response to God and His communication to you. Some might find it helpful to focus on one passage for an entire week, expecting the Holy Spirit to awaken new insights from a given Scripture as you come back again and again. Others may find it better to move to a new passage each day. The practice of holy reading simply places us humbly in God’s presence so we can hear what He has to say to us.

Instructions : The prayerful readings are designed to create a context for you to listen prayerfully to God through His communication in Scripture. Prayer is hard work and it is best practiced with regularity and consistency. Preparation is also important. Here are some things that you may find helpful:

  • Find a place and time without distractions. It doesn’t need to be a long period of time; it just needs to be focused. It often helps to find a favorite spot that helps you get into the proper mindset. Find a comfortable physical position. Sitting in a flat chair is good for most people. Kneeling is a helpful position for some. Closing your eyes can help you focus. Fold your hands to keep them still or hold them open on your lap to express your openness to God.
  • Begin with a time of silence, at least one minute in duration. This is hard for many of us to do, so timing it can be a helpful discipline at first. This quiet beginning will help you avoid the tendency to throw your prayers upward as you dash out the door or attempt to read your Bible with the television blinking at you. We are seldom quiet enough to hear what God is saying to us through His still small voice. It is important that you put yourself in the proper context.
  • Allow yourself to listen at the appropriate times during the session. Listen after the opening prayer and after the Scripture reading. Let the guided reflections prepare you for a prayerful response. Learn to recognize God’s presence and talk to him as you would a person you love and trust.
  • Even if you are busy, commit to focused time in the Scripture reading provided. Read the passage slowly several times. Look for a particular sentence or phrase that catches your attention. Use that as your primary reflection for that day. Allow yourself to encounter God through His Word.
  • After the closing prayer, make sure you take some additional time in silence. Don’t let yourself rush on to the next thing right away. Avoid the temptation to jump up and say: “Okay, glad I got that out of the way! Time to get on with it!” A hurried approach to prayer and Bible reading seldom allows us to encounter God in a life-changing way.

The prayerful readings offered here focus on the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew and the miracles of Jesus as recorded in all four Gospels. Come and seek to know God as He is, not just as you would like Him to be. Come, PRAY WITH US.

Other Great Places for Guided Prayer:

Go to SACRED SPACE: A wonderful prayer site that offers daily guidance through a prayerful reading of Scripture.

Go to PRAY AS YOU GO: A prayer that helps busy people find ways to slow down and really pray.

Other Good Resources on Prayer:

Go to PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS: Some favorites in Fiachra’s Hollow.

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