Matthew 6:6 – But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
It is fine to give someone the gift of a tool, or a gift which states "some assembly required"… but not if you leave out the instructions. The gift then becomes a burden because they want to use it, but don't know how.
It seems that very thing was done with the Hermit with a Permit devotional last Friday, on the benefits of Contemplative Prayer as opposed to Christian Meditative Prayer.
While I was so excited to share that I'd finally found a wonderful tool to help me pray, I neglected to share the instructions. Well, here they are, as I have understood them:
Christian Meditative Prayer focuses or "centres" on a specific prayer, topic(s) or request(s). Contemplative Prayer however, "opens" our minds to what it is that God wishes us to hear. We choose a word or phrase which will help "bring us back" to that centre, for those times when our minds fly off in many directions which are not important, for that particular time. It is not the same as a "mantra" or word which is repeated over and over; it is merely used in those "fly away" times. It does take a little work, but when it comes, it is indeed, a wonderful tool.
God is with us always, especially in prayer, no matter where we are, or when or how we choose to do it. This is merely one tool which I found extremely helpful.
My words are "peace" and "grace". I "open" my mind to the wonderful things God is doing in my life, and when my mind races off to the grocery store, the empty gas tank, something to write, getting someone somewhere on time… all those things… I simply think of "peace" and "grace" and am back focusing on God again.
I am most thankful to the "Hermit", Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, for teaching me how to do this, to the many people who "prop me up" along the path and help me share what I am learning…and most importantly, my thanks be with God, who directs me on this path.
Prayer: Peace and Grace you give to us Lord, peace and grace may we share with each other. In Your name we pray. Amen.