February 03, 2008

Contemplative Prayer

Philippians 4:4-6

?Be still and know that I am God ...?
Psalm 46:10


Contemplative praying is not something we do; it is simply being in God?s presence. One stills all actions and thoughts, resting the soul in silence and patient waiting. Contemplative praying does not involve reading or analysis. Rather, it involves a stilling of our active thoughts.

To begin to practice contemplative praying, find a quiet place to be alone for 15 to 20 uninterrupted minutes. Some people find it helpful to set a timer so that thinking about how much time has elapsed does not become a distraction. Sit silently. When thoughts occur about events of the day or anything else, acknowledge them and let them go. Sit quietly in the presence of God; your only expectation is that God is with you. As you practice contemplative praying, God may reveal a special meaning to you?but that would be an extraordinary gift, not a result of your struggling for it.

Since the stilling of our thoughts is very difficult in our hectic world, you may want to begin by choosing a sacred word (such as ?Jesus? or ?mercy?) as a sign that you are consenting to God?s presence and to whatever action God wants to take within you. When you find your thoughts wandering, return to attentiveness to God by repeating the word you have chosen. At the end of the time you have set apart, quietly thank God.

God of all words and silence, thank you for hearing us clearly through our stumbling words and thoughts. Teach us to listen to you in silence, trust, and hope. Amen.

About the author — James and Rose Dekker

James C. Dekker is the pastor of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in St. Catharines, Ontario. Previously he served other congregations in Alberta and Ontario. Rose Dekker serves as a refugee coordinator for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Canada. She also serves as a certified spiritual director. The Dekkers were missionaries for nine years with Christian Reformed World Missions, serving in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!