Thursday, March 9, 2017

Prayer and Hearing God


Prayer and Hearing God

When we pray and ask for something from God how do we know he hears us? 

If we get what we wanted then we know. Maybe not. Maybe it is just a random natural occurrence that God permits. Maybe God wants us to learn for ourselves that what we want is wrong. After getting what we want things don't always work out in the long run.

If we hear him when we pray and he tells us he is granting our prayer then we know he has heard us. Maybe not. Maybe we are not hearing God but only our own mind, our own desires. 

If we don't get what we prayed for then it must not be his will. Maybe not. Maybe we just have to wait longer. St Augustine's mom had to wait many, many years for her sons conversion to Christianity. Maybe God is building patience in us.


It seem like praying is almost impossible. I once heard a wise priest on television talk about this and give me hope. He said that if we pray, wrongly thinking we heard God, he will still honor our prayer. Following our own will instead of his may take us in the wrong direction but God will eventually get us where he wants us to be. We may, however, travel the longer, more difficult way to get there. Over the years I have often followed my own will, learning painful lessons. There were a few times, however, when it was crystal clear to me that I had heard God's voice. While God speaks to each of us differently there are some things I noticed about God's voice when I was sure he spoke to me. For what it is worth, I will share these with you. 

  • God's voice in my case is not an actual voice but a clear voice in my mind. It is usually something that I myself would not say or think.
  • What God has told me is never contradictory to the Bible, often giving me a deeper understanding of it. Neither is it contradictory to any Catholic doctrine. 
  • When I pray about something and my wife and I receive the same answer then it is almost always God's answer.
  • When I pray more often God's voice becomes clearer, knowing it becomes easier. 
  • Often when I am doing some simple chore, like mowing the lawn, God talks to me then and there.
  • When I am praying in church, hearing God's voice, it is almost always his.
  • When I receive the Eucharist (the actual body and blood of Jesus in the form of bread and wine) in the state of grace, the voice I hear is always him.
  • When God is talking to me it is always an enlightening and teaching moment.
  • When God is talking to me he is often asking me to follow him by stepping out further in my faith.


Prayer is a journey with God, an adventure. He is always with each one of us. We need to listen for his voice. We will eventually hear him. We need to look for his answers in the many small signs that build up around us. A prayer journey with God will never be boring!

Copyright 2017 Daniel Strizak

Wrong Statue!



Jesus, Mary and Joseph
St. Dominic's
Mobile, Al


Wrong Statue!


A statue is a work of art. What is art? Art is an attempt to create a scene from real life and depict it's meaning in a visual form. A statue is an attempt to do this as a three dimensional art form. A statue attempts to show what the artist is seeing, reflecting an image from the camera of his mind. To me a religious statue is also a work of art, reflecting a frozen prayer from the artists heart. I seriously doubt that an artist's intention was to create an idol to be worshiped. His intention was to share his prayer, similar to a writer sharing his prayers in a devotional book. I don't see the difference. 

I find it easier to understand an artists prayer as a statue rather than in a book. A lack of imagination on my part? I have often used statues to pray to the Lord. I have never actually worshiped the statue itself. When I was young I was fortunate enough to see Michelangelo's "Pieta " at the New York World's Fair. This was one of the few times it left Rome. This was a statue of Mary holding her dead son Jesus in her lap. This is a classic, timeless work of art. It was so real that if not for its pure whiteness, I would have expected to see Mary start to move. Michelangelo has taken us to the last moment between Mary and Jesus before he was placed into the tomb. You feel like you are an interloper actually standing there watching. That is quite a prayer!

While you can pray anywhere, a church is a good place to pray. It is a structure built by human hands dedicated to God. Catholic churches often have statues inside to help place our focus on God and his gifts of faith. Once I was having some problems with my family and I had decided to visit a church and pray.


I lived in Mobile, Al and I decided to go to a local church that had a life size replica of the "Pieta". I got there and the church was locked. I was upset and decided to go to my own church where there was a statue of Mary in our small chapel. I got there and the floor was being replaced and the chapel was closed. I was again wounded but I  went into the main part of the church to pray near the statue of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As I prayed a strange feeling came over me. I looked up at the statue and saw the Holy Family. I suddenly realized that this was not only the right place to pray and it was also the right answer to my prayer. God had guided me to the place where he wanted me to pray. What better example could I have of the perfect family than Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It helped me see my family through the lens of Jesus’s family. I suddenly knew what I needed to do. I knew what a true family was. I also knew that I would always be part of God's own family. I would always be part of His church.


Copyright 2017 Daniel Strizak




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day

What is this day, this precious gift of love?
God sends to us a snow white turtle dove.
Sent to break our hearts as cold as stone,
His Spirit comes to make our hearts His throne.

And as we look within each others eyes,
we see God's light of love is there inside.
We only see this light when reaching out,
that's what a Valentine is all about.

I know sometimes I only see myself,
an empty cold reflection looks for help.
Not knowing where to turn I see your smile,
I know that I'll be warm here for a while.

I have not much to give I know it's so,
but all the love I have I give, you know.
Of all the gifts God gave me it is true,
His sweetest gift of love, He gave me you.