Contemplative Prayer

To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to [our] unreal and insane world … and our chaotic and unexamined emotions … To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.” Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

Meditation | Contemplative Prayer

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God,] who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

Come, my heart has said. “Seek [the Lord’s] presence.” Psalm 27:8 (REB)

Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Lord God has opened my ear. Isaiah 50:4-5

Thus says the Lord: By waiting and calm, you shall be saved. In quiet and trust lies your strength. Isaiah 30:15

… for that which has not been told them, they shall see, and that which they have not heard, they shall understand. Isaiah 52:15 (RSV)

… the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart … Deuteronomy 30:14 (RSV)

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. Psalm 105:4

Those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently … Psalm 37:7

… you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul … Deuteronomy 4:29

Give your servant a heart to understand between good and evil. 1 Kings 3:9 (JB)

To separate meditation from prayer, reading and contemplation is to falsify our picture of the [contemplative] way of prayer … as meditation takes on a more contemplative character, we see that it is not only a means to an end, but also has something of the nature of an end. … meditation and contemplation are not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in Him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to himself.  Thomas Merton

 … in meditation we should not look for a ‘method’ or ‘system’ but cultivate an ‘attitude’ — faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, joy. All of these finally permeate our being with love in so far as our living faith tells us we are in the presence of God, that we live in Christ, that in the spirit of God we ‘see’ God our Father without ‘seeing.’ We know him in unknowing. Faith is the bond that unites us to the Spirit who gives us light and love. Thomas Merton

The prayer of the heart opens the eyes of our soul to the truth of ourselves as well as the truth of God. The prayer of the heart challenges us to hide absolutely nothing. Henri Nouwen

Mental Prayer
Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything. Saint Teresa of Avila

I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; Corinthians 14:15
My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. Psalm 49:3

Merton says mental prayer is misleading in the context of prayers of the heart. We rarely pray with the mind alone. … meditation, prayer, contemplation and reading involve the whole [person} and proceed from the center of [the human] being, their heart renewed in the holy spirit, totally submissive to the grace of Christ. Thomas Merton

Jesus Prayer 
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  The Jesus Prayer

The Jesus Prayer, says Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “more than any other,” helps us to be able to “stand in God’s presence.” This means that the Jesus Prayer helps us to focus our mind exclusively on God with “no other thought” occupying our mind but the thought of God. At this moment when our mind is totally concentrated on God, we discover a very personal and direct relationship with Him. Orthodox Prayer

St Ignatius Daily Examen
St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness through the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us.  The Examen has five steps: Awareness of God’s presence, review day with gratitude, reflect on the day’s emotions, pray about one aspect of the day and look toward tomorrow.

Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. The practitioner listens to the text with the “ear of the heart,” as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. It has four elements: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord. Psalm 19:14

Forms of Prayer

The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.
Saint Augustine

Corporate:  Praying as a group vocally or silently
They all joined together constantly in prayer.  Acts 1:14 
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

In Solitude: Praying alone in a room full of people or by yourself
… he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 
Matthew 14:23

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseenAnd when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Matthew 6:6-7

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Mark 1:35

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed Luke 5:16

In Silence: Pray in silence without forming words either mentally or out loud
Be still and know that I am God. 
 Psalm 46:10

Many are avidly seeking but they alone find who remain in silence … Every man who delights in a multitude of words, even though he says admirable things, is empty within…. Silence like the sun will illuminate you in God and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you to God himself…. More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an experience of this “something” that is born of silence.  Isaac of Nineveh (in Thomas Merton).

Prayer About

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
… we meditate on your unfailing love. Psalm 48:9
… consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.  Psalm 77:12
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  Psalm 119:15
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.  Psalm 119:148
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.  Psalm 143:5

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