Tag Archives: Benedictine rumination

How Ought I Pray?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God create in me a clean heart

How Ought I Pray?

Prayer is amazing. Truly! But, not for everyone. That is, not in everyone’s experience.

There are as many different kinds/manners/methods of prayer as there are people involved praying. Each of us is an individual, and each of us has a unique way of coming before God.

A woman I very much admire uses centering prayer regularly. She chooses one single word, and then goes deep. Meditates and prays using that word, for twenty minutes, a half hour at a time. She has kids, who are getting bigger and older now, but that she is able to use centering prayer on a regular basis—with kids around!—is even more astounding to me!)

I have done centering prayer on occasion, too. (My word is often “Emmanuel,” since I am repeatedly amazed at how Jesus comes alongside of us—of me. Emmanuel, God with us.) Although, I have sometimes used other words, like “peace” or “grace,” or “Jesus.” Whatever you choose, it can be a remarkable, quiet, reflective way to pray.

Personally, I really gravitate towards using Scripture to assist me in my prayer time. But that’s me. I enjoy lectio divina and Benedictine rumination. I even use a Bible concordance on occasion, and research the Greek and Hebrew roots, or verbs, or meanings of these various words used in Scripture. And then, I can pray through those words or understandings.

But, on occasion—I find I do not even have words. I cannot frame my yearnings, the deepest wishes or cries of my heart, in intelligible language. It is then that I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit, for coming alongside of me. As a Paraclete, an Advocate. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit is there to intercede for us, right beside us. The blessed Holy Spirit even groans for us, and with us, and is our interpreter. The Spirit brings those requests and cries, too deep for words, before the heavenly Throne Room.

Thank God there is someone who can help me communicate. I have difficulty even communicating, much less with specific situations, events, opportunities and people!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, sweet Holy Spirit, thank You for helping us with our prayers. Sometimes my words come out all crooked, or misshapen. Or, they can be mean and evil towards people I am called to love. Forgive me for my shortcomings. Help me—help us to draw closer to You In prayer, and in every other way. In Your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Be Quiet! In Prayer, Of Course!

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, June 16, 2014

PRAY God can hear you

Be Quiet! In Prayer, Of Course!

It’s difficult for me to quiet the roar of my external life. To quiet it enough to settle down and pray. It is even more difficult for me to tone down the internal roar. Or should I say noise? Busy-ness? My internal, everlasting dialogue keeps on nattering, commenting. Saying whatever it wants, whatever it feels like, and not necessarily at all times in a politically correct manner.

An online friend of mine, Rich Lewis, wrote a recent blog post about centering prayer. He has been practicing centering prayer for a number of weeks now. I wish I could just slip into centering prayer—that way of contemplative prayer that is so deceptively simple it defies flowery description. Such a challenging way of prayer for me, too.

I thrive on words! Benedictine rumination (praying on a brief phrase or sentence of Scripture) is my current favorite method of prayer. This uses words (!!) yet at the same time, my mind is allowed to run free, and make connections on its own. This is a wonderful way of prayer, but I find myself wanting something else. Something different. Something more.

Several years ago,I prayed through a short book of prayer methodology and exercises by Tilden Edwards. The methods of prayer that were most challenging to me involved centering prayer. Even wordless prayer. I get the feeling that I am ready for that challenge again. Especially after reading my friend Rich’s blog post. I quote the last lines: “I sit in silence so God can refresh me. I sit in silence so God’s love can fill me. I sit in silence so I will take God’s action into my non-silent parts of the day.”

Wow. I’ll say that again. Wow!! God, I need that kind of refreshing, that kind of filling. Thanks for the impetus, Rich! (I almost said “thanks for the kick in the rear,” but that wouldn’t be very chaplainly or pastorly, would it?)

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your urging us to come into Your presence. We can come any time, any where. For any reason, too. Help me as I try to come to You in prayer more regularly. As I try to pray more intentionally, using centering prayer, be with me in this effort. Thank You for Your blessings, poured out on my friend Rich. Bless me in a similar way, as I strive to be faithful. As I strive to take those thoughts, words and actions pleasing to You into the rest of my days. In Your mercy and grace we pray, amen.

Rich Lewis’ blog link is: http://richlewis3.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/why-do-i-sit-in-silence/


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink: