What is Contemplative Prayer and How to Do a Contemplative Prayer Practice
How to Do Contemplative Prayer – Contemplative Prayer Practice
- Find a quiet place that will be free from noise or interruption. Plan to devote 10-30 minutes to the practice.
- Sit in a comfortable position. The goal is to be conscious and not fall asleep.
- Choose your sacred word (or phrase) – stick with that one word during your practice
- When you are comfortable, close your eyes.
- You can start the time with the sacred word (or phrase)
- When thoughts come into your mind, gently think of the sacred word and let all thoughts go by
- When the time has passed, keep your eyes closed for a few minutes and sit in stillness before getting up
Over time, contemplative prayer will become easier with practice. It is the ultimate gift to unite and rest in God’s presence.
Caution in Using Contemplative Prayer
Contemplative prayer can also open up feelings and wounds that may be buried deep within the psyche. Memories may come up as a result of practicing contemplative prayer. So, it’s important to know that up front. Past trauma, abuse, or hurts may come up. This is an opportunity for healing.
By letting go of thoughts, it is also possible to let go of areas within you that block the flow of God’s love into your heart and soul.
Why Do a Contemplative Prayer Practice?
The world is a noisy place. Technology and being constantly connected robs us of peace. Twenty-four news with its violence, scandals, and sensationalism promotes fear and outrage. Social media promotes comparison which steals joy. Finding a quiet center within ourselves creates an oasis of peace.
Contemplative Prayer Provides Peace
The Apostle Paul said, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Contemplative Prayer Helps You Put on the Mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 says, “Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
As we become more Christ-minded, we see the world as Jesus sees the world. We have greater love and compassion for others and for ourselves. That is the true importance of contemplative prayer and meditation.
If you find contemplative prayer to be too difficult, a guided meditation can help you to calm the mind chatter and experience God’s presence. These guided meditations will help you learn to be still and let go and let God. Once you learn the process and train your mind through these guided meditations, you can continue to contemplative prayer and quiet your mind on your own.
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