Tag Archives: contemplative prayer

HOW DO YOU DO CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER?

We are privileged to have a guest blogger today. April Yamasaki writes at Spiritual Practice, Faith and Life. Please click on the links to see all of her post.

How do you do contemplative prayer?

by April Yamasaki (reprinted with permission)

 

image courtesy of dan/digitalphotos.net

 

 

Prayer can be very wordy. Especially for someone like me who loves words. Especially when prayer is defined as “talking with God.” So I babble on and tell God how my day is going, ask for help for myself or others, pour out my anxieties and fears, pray for peace, and on and on.

But sometimes I run out of words, or can’t seem to find the right ones. Words can be so inadequate! Besides, “talking with God” is just one way of thinking about prayer. Prayer is also listening for God, receiving from God, resting and abiding in God.

That’s where contemplative prayer comes in, where the focus is not so much on putting my thoughts into words as it is:

becoming more aware of God’s presence and word to me.

I’ve found three forms of contemplative prayer to be especially helpful:

On her website April explains each of the following:

(1) Centring Prayer.

(2) Breath prayers.

(3) Lectio Divina.

Please go to her website and read how to do each of these prayers.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Are Our Prayers too Small?

Can I K.I.S.S. to Pray?

How Do I have a Conversation with God?

ACQUIRING THE ART OF CONTEMPLATION

Acquiring the Art of Contemplation

by  Judith Lawrence

Contemplation has been spoken of as art. The person who prays as a contemplative does not speak in words so much as in intuition; she is a soul who is like an artist or a poet, a soul who yearns to be with God in wonder and silence.

In his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3:16–19 (New Living Translation), St. Paul says:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

These words from St. Paul seem to be a complete description of contemplative prayer:

  • empowered by the Holy Spirit;
  • that Christ will make his home in our hearts;
  • that our roots will grow down into God’s love;
  • that we understand how wide, long, high, and deep God’s love is;
  • that we may experience the love of Christ;
  • that we may be complete with the full life and power that comes from God.

In contemplative prayer this is what we long for—to learn this love of God, to receive this love from God, and return it to God again. It takes a continual discipline, a practice, and a yearning to be with God. There is a desire to just be still in God’s presence—to rest in the Lord.

The self must pass through a process of discipline in the course of acquiring the art of contemplation.

“All [mystics],” says Evelyn Underhill, in her book, Mysticism, “describe a connected experience, the progressive concentration of the entire self under the spur of love.” P. 207

© Judith Lawrence