Skip to content
Nov 4 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

October 26, 2014 – Guest Speaker: Nancy Lopez

Meditation For Silent Prayer

Chuck asked us to pray this week—actually for two weeks–and “ask God to enlighten the eyes of our hearts.” It’s a way of seeing that he was inviting us to practice.

With our usual way of Quiet Sitting in prayer, our intention is to quiet our minds from distracting stimuli and find that attentiveness to God increases. We want to pay attention to the REAL Present, the Presence of God Who loves us and is with us.

Today, I’d like to invite you into a more guided imagery meditation, with the same purpose, to be intentionally present to the Presence of God. Join us if you feel that’s what you want or be present to God any way that you choose.

While the music is playing:

  1. Become comfortable in your physical space. Close your eyes and ask God to let the eyes of your heart see what is present and life-giving for you.
  2. As you look from that perspective—really imagine looking from the eyes of your heart—see what the atmosphere, the environment in your inner world looks and feels like.
  3. Notice whatever emerges, without judging or evaluating, just picture it all from that perspective of God opening the eyes of your heart and keep looking, seeing and sensing from a heart perspective.

When the music stops and we are sitting here in silence, the inner place from which you are seeing now:

  1. Look up and observe the icon depicting the three angels who visited Abraham, sometimes referred to as the Holy Trinity icon. Look at it from the peaceful inner space where you have been present to God.
  2. How do the figures in the painting appear to you? Are they close or at a distance?
  3. Notice that they seem to be having a conversation, doing some kind of planning or project together.
  4. Allow your awareness to move in closer to observe what they’re doing and hear what they may be saying. Looking from the eyes of your heart, enjoy another minute with them looking and listening.


I. Chuck asked if I would consider speaking while he and Barbara were in Hawaii, and asked that I give it prayerful consideration. At first I was excited at the possibilities. Then reality set in….I started thinking of all of you, knowing that many of you are my older brothers and sisters in the faith, spiritually mature, godly….and of course temptations to compare…but then, I started thinking about God’s Vision for me, and for us. I started SEEING differently, from a different perspective.

A. Remember when Chuck recently had cataract surgery, and he said the doctor told him that one eye now had the vision of a 10-yr old. I started that “holy envisioning/seeing” that we just practiced in our meditation time. I began to wonder what it felt like as a 10-yr old. When I saw older brothers and sisters doing things I wanted to do, I didn’t say, “Oh, I can never do that.” Right? We always said, “When I grow up I want to stay up late, drive a car, go on a date, or wear makeup….” We were enjoying being 10, but at the same time, we knew that in our physical bodies, something alive was at work to lead us to what we would become and we kept asking, “Can I do that yet?”

It’s the same in the spiritual realm, I think. We have OBTAINED life and an inheritance; we are growing in REAL, albeit invisible life of The Spirit. New Covenant Theology tells us that we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit…something has changed. We “know” it in our heads, perhaps, but do we KNOW it by lived experience? Do we anticipate our own spiritual growth? When we hear Chuck teach on Paul’s words in Ephesians, does it stir up a desire in us to know that truth for ourselves?

Part of that answer lies in our current maturity level and also our perspective, I think. Back to Chuck’s new lens-like-a-10-yr-old analogy, I looked up what is happening in a 10-yr old’s developmental processes. I read, “Learning amps up significantly. We tackle more complicated material. We have an increased attention span. We begin to be able to take more personal responsibility.”

I believe that I’m at least a 10-yr old spiritually! Do you?

B. We’ve been looking at Ephesians for how many weeks now?

How does Paul introduce our new spiritual maturity in the first chapter of Ephesians? He says, that God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” Eph. 1:3

Paul then he tells us HOW to SEE, and what to LOOK for.

He wants “the eyes of our hearts to be opened” v.18 to the “every spiritual blessing” that we already HAVE.

C. Remember that Chuck has already helped us with this PERSPECTIVE (of what has happened). Two of these spiritual blessings are:

  1. He chose us
  2. He adopted us
    These already ARE. And let’s pause here.“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord…plans for good and not for evil….”? (Jer. 29:11)I think some of us get stuck on that idea—that there are PLANS for us; and either like, we have to find them, or read them, or work on those plans. OR… “They are God’s plans and He’ll do them.” But I think we’re missing the point. Here’s the plan: for GOOD. The original Hebrew word here is makh ash a va’. It can mean “plan” but it also means thoughts, imaginations, and means. I think it might sound like God is saying something like, “I have wonderful thoughts when I think about you and who I’ve created you to be. I have a big imagination and all the means in the universe to accomplish my desires for you. And my plans for you are that you prosper in goodness and grace and that you KNOW me.”

    Think about our kids: What is our “plan” for them? It’s not a specific plan—usually—that they would grow up to do a particular thing (like travel to India or be a lawyer or marry and have 3 kids), but that they WOULD GROW UP! Our plans are that they would experience God’s GOODNESS and that they would have good relationships (including good relationships with us). I think God’s “plans” for us are the same: that we would grow up (mature), experience His goodness and grace, and be in great relationships with Him and others. What do you think? Agree?

  3. Other spiritual blessings in Ephesians that Chuck has called to our attention are: Redemption and Revelation (from Eph. 1:7-10). These are Progressive blessings. He HAS accomplished Redemption and He IS accomplishing it. You know we HAVE been saved, we ARE BEING saved, and we WILL BE saved. Redemption and Revelation (with a view to fullness of time) is what Eph. 1:10 says. Can you see the different perspectives all at work here? SEEING what HAS happened, what IS happening, and what WILL happen. This is truly an invitation to see. But we’ll need PROGRESSIVE lenses (like me).Progressive adds the vision of seeing the mid-range. I liken that to seeing what HAS BEEN progressing, remembering, being thankful, celebrating, etc. In any case, ALL of these perspectives are invitations to SEE the work that IS already going on.

Chuck used mono-vision contacts (I’m not sure what he does now). Mono-vision has one eye focused on the FAR and one on the NEAR. So too we must have one eye on the eternal reality/the fullness of time and one eye on the present reality. It is bring the extraordinary into the ordinary.

THIS IS ANTICIPATION! To SEE the work that is already going on and to anticipate the much more! And when we anticipate something, we start looking for it!


A. A journey to somewhere to someone but also with someone.

What if we were taking a trip to a far-off place you’d always wanted to go, but it was a lengthy journey. All the way there are we going to be a little kid and say “are we there yet?” or are we going to listen to our father when he says “Look here, look there, the way there is wonderful!” Look at this, observe this!! Imagine we’re on a walking tour and perhaps a fellow traveler or the tour guide will pick up something for closer inspection. Will we say, “No time to stop…I’m on my way somewhere”?

Well, we ARE with each other. And we are WITH a “tour guide”–the Holy Spirit. It’s His role to transform us into the kind of creatures we need to be when we get to where we’re going. Oh yes, He’ll do it, but it’s so much more wonderful to PARTICIPATE and gladly. So, we can just white-knuckle it and be glad when it’s over – our choice always.

If you’ve ever been on a tour group, you know that some enjoy the journey and some make it difficult for themselves and everyone else.


B. Today I’d like to stop for a while and look closer at the journey of Participation (the lived experience), because a near-sighted perspective is important. And we’ll see only if we’re LOOKING.

If you tell a 10-yr old that we’re going to Disneyland today, so get in the car…and then along the way we say “look here’s a store; we will stop here,” the kid will throw a tantrum! NO! I want to go to Disneyland. But an older brother or sister will know that we’re buying food and water at the store FOR Disneyland. When we get into the park, our father might say, “we need to stand in this line,” and we’ll be anxious for the rides and we’ll whine and cry, but the experienced child will know that this line is for the Fastpass and it’ll help us experience more rides without waiting.

We are coming into spiritual maturity; we are beginning to SEE differently, yes? And we are beginning to see the value of the things along the way.

C. OLD perspectives on the Journey—part of maturity is not seeing this way so much anymore.

  1. God is doing something; He has the plans—just trust Him.
  2. I’m planning on doing something; my prayer is that God will agree and help me. That’s the God of cooperation and convenience. And that’s a self-directed journey.

D. A NEW perspective

God is doing something first; He initiates. He is all about REDEMPTION, RESTORATION, FREEDOM AND FULLNESS, SHALOM. The leading of the Holy Spirit and the energy of GRACE is what I really need to get where I really want to go.

The pressure’s off to make something happen but I LOOK to participate in what is already happening. Our prayer becomes more like “I want to see what You’re already up to and cooperate with You. I want to participate in Your plan by knowing what You’re thinking and doing for me, Lord, and adding my ideas too. (Mostly I’m talking about our interior world right now, His work to ready us for living in the New Kingdom.) Not only will do “in the fullness of time,” but right now in the Kingdom of Heaven that is right now.

The new perspective says: “The life of God is already in me. I’m already a partaker of the divine nature. I don’t have to improve myself or earn His favor.” Are you waiting for His Favor? What if you already have it? We do! We already have His EXTREME favor! We’re His children!

III. AN UNMANAGEABLE VISION (not a night vision or a vision of angels, but I’m speaking about a way of SEEing)

A. Vision vs. Mission (contrasted)

A vision is on the horizon and not clearly detailed. It is our “north star.” It pulls us forward in a direction but doesn’t lay out all the details.

Values – helps us know what’s most important for us.
Mission and Goals – help us know what specific steps we need to take to get where we’re going.

But if our Vision is the same as our Mission (and manageable), then we move into management and control (that’s Self). Living on that track will either lead us to feeling important or feeling worthless.

An Idea about Vision:
From Forbes website, written by a leader at Kotter Intl):

“A cloudy or delusional view of one’s current situation can be quite destructive. Likewise, an organization that is dismissive and/or fails to accurately assess its current status in the marketplace is also heading down a detrimental path. For both the individual and the organization, nothing can be more damaging than a confused and cloudy picture of where they want to go or what they want to become; in short, do they know what success looks and/or feels like?
A vision statement shouldn’t be complicated; 10-15 words; easy to remember. 70% of a company’s employees can’t recite their own company vision.
I love Lewis Carroll’s quote, ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’ Visions are intended to clarify the pathway forward. When effective, the vision statement has an illuminating quality that allows us to move fast and with great precision.”

A vision is a desired end state. A vision gives us light, direction, and excitement.

Some organizations’ visions:

  • Kellogg Company: To enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter. The “how” will come in the Mission and Goals.
  • Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
  • Make-A-Wish: Our vision is that people everywhere will share the power of a wish.

B. What’s YOUR Vision for yourself?

  1. We need the far-sighted vision, and we also have to bring THAT vision right into the present. I mean what would it be like if Habitat for Humanity said “A world where everyone has a decent place to live” and then acted like, “well, for this person, this hovel is all they get”?
  2. What is the ultimate outcome? Seriously, what is it? What’s our life about? Can we accomplish it ourselves? Do we even know the way? We want to have that manageable vision, because we want to know the way we’ll get there. But Jesus says, “I am the Way.”We’re not making up a vision; we’re capturing His. Then we anticipate it and participate in it. To see what IS. And remember that the vision cannot be managed; it must only be possible by GRACE. Grace itself must be an experienced reality.

C. My examples
About 3-4 years ago I got this idea from something I read and actually put something down on paper, something I could hold on to and consider how it fit with what was really happening in my life. I really believe that we can get a glimpse of God’s Vision for us personally (with a view to the fullness of time, like Ephesians says) by:

  • Considering what we most deeply desire, what is most important to us. Usually these turn out to be Who we are becoming or Who God is becoming for us.
  • Considering what we value as good, true, and beautiful.
    #1 and #2 things (can still be good and true, just not in #1 place). If we have a #2 thing in first place, and it doesn’t happen, we won’t know how to keep going. We’ll think those #2 things are what life is really all about.
  • Considering what we think are our weaknesses of character and thinking about the opposite.
  • Considering what scripture says about who we are and what God is doing in us.
  • Considering what kind of God we need right now and what He wants to be for us in our experience of Him.
  • Considering our circumstances. Yes, what’s going on right here, right now is an opportunity for a lived experience of His Vision.
  • Considering that everything is an Invitation….to Grace, to Maturity, to Intimacy.

Here’s what I think Intimacy looks like: Desire + Invitation + Desire + Invitation. It is a relational response.
God initiates this dance by stating His Desire and Invitation to us. We find and affirm our deepest Desire and Invite Him to be here with us. Desire for much becomes focused in His Presence. Just like Desire for the many becomes Desire for the one for a husband or wife. This is all by free-will surrender – not forced in any way. In fact, it’s the most Free Will thing we can ever do. For intimacy in a relationship to occur, one initiates, and the other must affirm by free-self-surrender.

“. . . love flourishes only in the realm of freedom. . . . Free will has been whittled down to a tiny fragment. Nobody seems to believe they are free. We don’t believe we have personal responsibility, that we are ‘able’ to respond freshly and freely. Thus we play the victim or look for whom to blame, anything so we don’t have to own our freedom. But Jesus, even on the cross, neither plays the victim nor creates victims. Now that’s free will!
We have the power to decide what each moment means and how we will respond to it. We have power when we know we have the ability to respond freely. We can decide if we’re going to respond to something hatefully or lovingly. . . .
This free decision is a real source of power and self-esteem that nobody can take from us. . . . When we go down to that place of pure intentionality where we are still free, no jail can imprison us. I tell that to women in jail. You can see they want to believe it and some do. They learn that no jail can tell them they are a failure. Some become free women inside. They are the daughters of God. We must rediscover the gift of free will. I think its loss is at the bottom of the deconstruction of our society. It is at the bottom of our cynicism. When grace is no longer an experienced reality, it seems the realm of freedom is lost too.”
(from Richard Rohr’s, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Practice, “Cleansing the Lens.”

A few years ago, as I said, I set out to do this for myself, to practice Vision. I came up with three things (and I think it should be no more than that) and began to look for a lived experience of them in everything.

One was: I am becoming my true self in Christ. Talk about unmanageable! I really looked closely whenever circumstances seemed particularly cloudy or upsetting. I began to see my false/small self/how I’d learned to be. God began to teach me about True Identity. God did a bunch of work with this Identity and Healing and Wholeness idea BEFORE I could really even begin to operate in this vision. But I kept holding on, knowing that something was happening…maybe just the saying “no” to what I didn’t envision for myself….to allow for the true self.

An unexpected gift of vision along the way was a phrase I got during Jim Calhoun’s Forgiveness Seminar. He had us start with a Psalm; it doesn’t even matter which one. The phrase that jumped out at me was “the King is here.” It seemed odd, at the time, for my foray into forgiveness, but there it was, and it was a very suitable and rich phrase for a long time. Because when the King is here, all things are changed.
That’s part of the fun, seeing what the Spirit will give you.

IV. BENEFITS of the Near-Sighted Vision

  • It helps us notice His Presence (the King is here).
  • Everything must belong to the Vision in some way, either it does or it doesn’t; so that will help us to make choices, and even very small choices make a big difference.
  • I’m in a state of readiness to engage and cooperate. Thomas Green calls it “the active purification of the soul.” The passive purification is what God does to dispose us and expose us to the Grace we need. Active purification is what we do to dispose and expose ourselves to Grace.
  • It is the Discernment of Spirits.
  • It is putting on the new man (one of Paul’s terms).
  • We experience the truth of God’s promises (like all things work for good or count it all joy).
  • It is fellowship with the Holy Spirit. It’ll feel more like floating than swimming.
  • It’s really where our deepest desire can be found.
  • It moves us from what we think we should DO to staying deeply connected to life.
  • It’s just an open space for nearness to God, above all else. And that’s the main Vision!


As we mature, we’ll need a new prescription now and again, a way to see MORE clearly. That’s OK – let’s ask God to give us the right lenses for where we are NOW: far sighted, near sighted, progressive, sometimes we need a magnifying glass!

He’ll know what needs correcting.

I invite you to write a Vision for yourself, or at least a starting one.

Put on the Vision/seeing with the eyes of our hearts—and let’s call those lenses our new Perspectacles. Practice seeing everything, everywhere and everyone through them.

And then we’ll share with each other what we see.

My vision for all of us is that the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened as we are present to His Presence.

Thank you for your kind attention. I wanted to end with…


Return to your meditation vision.

Enter the space near the Trinity that you envisioned. Notice that the Trinity is inviting you in. You are greatly desired and anticipated, and invited to participate. Draw closer, right into their circle.

Ask what vision they have for you. Begin to see it. Receive it.

Let the eyes of your heart be enlightened.

Leave a comment