The Contemplative Prayer Support Thread

One day within your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere.
The threshold of the house of God
I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked.

Psalm 84

The purpose of this thread is to talk about contemplative prayer and to support Shipmates in their efforts to establish or continue a regular pattern of daily prayer.

Like a tourist in a modern art gallery, I think I know what contemplative prayer looks like, but I don't think I can define it. I have heard of various sorts - a Jesuit discipline, Taize, lectio divina are three that come to mind. Please feel free to talk about these or any other method you like to use. Please also feel free to link to pages which talk about your method, but please also be kind to our hosts, who must read everything linked.

I would like people to talk about all aspects of their prayer experience here, but I am an over-sharer so don't feel obliged to follow my example. To kick us off here are some of my thoughts:

I have a prayer space with some treasured items and books, and a candle. For quite a while I was winging my own little service on a daily basis, reading aloud the readings for the day, saying the Nicene Creed and the Lord's Prayer, singing a hymn and doing silent contemplation and reflection. I kept adding things, and that was probably the apogee of my practice and its downfall. I wanted to read beautiful words and say beautiful prayers. But I haven't done anything for about two years. My prayer space is a bit dusty, and a curtain rail is leaning on it while we paint our bedroom.

Maybe two weeks ago I tried a different approach. The things I do the most on a daily basis is go on the Ship of Fools and play a computer game. So, when I fire up a computer game for the first time that day, I also open up the Daily Readings page from my local Catholic Archdiocese. I read the set readings, I think about them, I might close my eyes and sit, and then I go on with what I was doing. I have forgotten a couple of times, and on one occasion just kept playing, and on another stopped and did the readings. I'm taking it easy on myself (note: this is my default attitude to everything) and we shall see what happens.

A good number of people showed interest in this thread in Styx. It is my hope that we can encourage and support each other to weave contemplative prayer into our daily lives.
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Comments

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    My current (past 4 years) prayer experience: none. Except when I hear someone is sick or in need and then God gets a knock on the door.

    My previous experience sounds like yours, Simon Toad. An icon corner, a candle and a(n Orthodox) prayer book. I would say Morning Prayers or Evening Prayers, or an Akathist or Canon -- I find a structured reading of the prayers of the church suits me better than me trying to find words. For a while I used this Monastic Diurnal. I like "to read beautiful words and say beautiful prayers" also.

    My plan is to return to some form of one of these. Starting off small, for I too sometimes feel the need to "overdo" it, then it becomes to much. I think it links in with my mental illness.

    Thank you for starting this thread.
  • Thank you for this thread. I used to spend half an hour morning and evening in silent contemplative prayer before doing anything else. Then I aimed for 20 minutes. Now I tend to check up on what's happening on the ship and other places first, and prayer might be no more than a few minutes. And so this will remind me to go away and pray.

    It took time before I could still myself for contemplative prayer, simply being with God. At first I read passages, liturgy etc but eventually found them more of a stimulus. Now I find myself saying thank you a lot, and saying very little else.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Thanks for sharing, Raptor Eye. I find being still very hard. My mind is so busy.

    [aside: I just found out we are going here for our work unit retreat; I'm tempted to ditch the work sessions and ask the Redemptorists for prayer help!]
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I find comtemplative prayer intriguing and also hard to know if I’m doing it. I see it vaguely as prayer without words, but for me that is problematic because:

    1. I don’t think in words anyway
    2. My wordless thoughts are generally in a muddle when they stay in my head
    3. The way I put my thoughts into words and make some kind of sense of them is if I write - writing is my thinking

    At the age of 15, I learnt about prayer journalling and tried writing my prayers, found it much more helpful than my previous attempts to pray inside my head, and have been writing my prayers ever since. I don’t feel like I’ve prayed properly unless I’ve written it. But of course, writing requires words.

    I don’t see coming before God with a wordless jumble in my head as contemplative prayer. But I know there is value in coming before God wordlessly with a quietened mind. I find this easiest in peaceful chapels, just sitting in silence, maybe with others or alone. But I don’t know if this is contemplative prayer.

    I’m also not sure that prayer without words is the highest form of prayer, as some nuns have told me. I’ve been told that it’s the kind of prayer that I should be aiming for, and that writing my prayers is a stage of immaturity that I will grow out of. This may be the case - but I can’t see that it necessarily is.
  • Thanks for this thread, Simon. For a long time, I found it hard to establish a daily quiet time simply because I didn't choose a specific place and time. Because I'm not a night person, I can't stay up late to do devotional reading, meditate or pray. I prefer familiar places, my home or the local church.

    What has worked well for me has been to get into the habit of rising before dawn, sitting on a stool or pillow in front of a lit candle in a room with the door closed for an hour, no interruptions, no phone or laptop around. I aim at 45 minutes, sometimes settle for 20 or even 10 minutes. If I'm very sleepy or inattentive, I stick to devotional reading and the Office.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Since my latest diagnosis my morning routine has been:
    Wake up. Write my Gratitude Diary on the kitchen table
    Take my morning meds and a little granola bar. Then set up my day-pack (water for self and dog, pretty towel to wipe sweaty face, etc) and walk to one of 5 or 6 shady spots...some with a view, some by a stream ... where I pray:

    I have a book of modern icons (Mother of God Similar to Fire) with a blank-verse poem on the facing page. I am just going through them one by one and will start again at the beginning when I have finished. There are 50 of them so it's not going to be boring. There are only 1 or 2 that have not spoken to me.
    Then I read (aloud) the BCP, 1662 Psalms for that morning
    Then I pray The Canticle of the Creatures (in English not Umbrian!)
    Then a rosary ( a couple of decades or the Whole Thing depending on time and fatigue). It is a wee one-of-a-kind "tenner" I bought off Etsy with the Pope Francis Good Shepherd cross and Our Lady Untier of Knots medallion and Czech glass beads in the 50 shades of beige of our summer landscape - girly details but that's me...
    Then I pray a prayer I wrote with a friend a few years ago about being Women of Valour for Our Mother

    Though not purely contemplative (more of a Daily Practice) I do "ponder all these things" (like Our Mother) and it has a structure (which I need, though I don't always do it in the same order). It is about 45 minutes to an hour (including the pondering). It varies as my partner picks me up before it gets too hot (9.00 -9.30 am) and drives me home from wherever I happen to be that day
  • Climacus wrote: »
    Thanks for sharing, Raptor Eye. I find being still very hard. My mind is so busy.

    [aside: I just found out we are going here for our work unit retreat; I'm tempted to ditch the work sessions and ask the Redemptorists for prayer help!]

    The retreat looks wonderful. I spent a couple of days listening to Richard Rohr from the Center for Action and Contemplation, learning about contemplative prayer. He led us into silences with 'Be still and know that I am God'. It helped that he said he aims for 20 minutes morning and evening, but every time he says to God 'I tried again, and failed, but I'll try again next time.'

  • Yes, thanks for sharing. I am a very poor and reluctant pray-er but feel inspired to try again.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    The purpose of this thread is to talk about contemplative prayer and to support Shipmates in their efforts to establish or continue a regular pattern of daily prayer.
    Thanks for starting this thread, Simon. Just a question for clarification: Is your thought for discussion to focus only on true contemplative prayer (whatever form it may take), or are you thinking perhaps a little more broadly, to include things like saying a Daily Office?

  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I am going to start with a quote from Rachel Poolman who runs the St Cuthbert Centre on Lindisfarne (if you scroll down you will find the rest of the piece
    For everything
    there is a time and a season

    A time to breathe deeply
    and a time to exhale quietly

    A time to embrace words
    and a time to hug silence

    I have always been drawn to silence. The story is told of mum turning up to nursery to collect me and not finding me with the other kids. On asking where I was she was told
    "Oh Jengie, she had enough of the other kids, so went to sit at the top of the climbing frame to get some quiet". Sure enough, that is where I was quite content out of the hubbub with my own company and silence.

    If formal private office counts then that has happened since I was a teenager though it has taken endless forms of morning and evening prayer. For the last twenty-five or so years, I also have made the commitment to pray for the Iona Community daily as part of being an associate. Other than that, I have been a dabbler in contemplative prayer for about thirty years. I was not very systematic at all and have done everything from complete utter silence to Ignatian Meditation when the occasion has arisen. This included non-Christian approaches and mindfulness. Eventually, I started to integrate silence into the daily office

    At the moment I am being challenged to make silence a more regular part of my devotional practice. I am willing to tell why but at present I need a space to explore my practice. There is a lot of change going on and I need to have space to think aloud about it.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    The purpose of this thread is to talk about contemplative prayer and to support Shipmates in their efforts to establish or continue a regular pattern of daily prayer.
    Thanks for starting this thread, Simon. Just a question for clarification: Is your thought for discussion to focus only on true contemplative prayer (whatever form it may take), or are you thinking perhaps a little more broadly, to include things like saying a Daily Office?

    Nick I am an innocent abroad, and I don't know what I am doing :) My own experience is that doing a kind of office (which is what I was aiming for with my complicated practice) leads me to silent reflection and sometimes even to silence. I label both kinds of silence contemplative prayer, and I don't think that I made a distinction between that and the 'office' that got me there.

    I think the scope of the thread initially should be broad, and should include doing an office. If people find it helpful later on, we can perhaps split part of the discussion off to another thread.

    Sometimes when talking about this, I feel like I do when I'm at the doctor and I use a technical term, then I think 'hang on, the Doctor probably knows exactly what that means, but I'm only guessing!'

    I am moved to emotional thanksgiving by everyone's wonderful responses. The stories of your practices and struggles are great to read. As we used to say in Australia, Bewdy Newk!
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    In the morning while walking the dog I pray for the earth that we all have the knowledge and will to care for it, the justice to share it and peace to enjoy it and for those who do not have these things, I ask the Lord's care.
    Next I pray for those who hold leadership in the world, that they see their role as one of compassionate caring for all the people whom they govern.
    Then I pay for those who hold spiritual authority in the world by name that they speak truth to power, and God's love and grace to all.
    As I walk on I pray for the community where I live, asking good health and safety for us all and naming those I know as I pass their homes. I often wonder if they knew I was praying for them what they would think. Many of them I only know by name from seeing them in their yard as the dog and I have walked by the last two years.
    Finally I pray for those I love. Giving them to God's care for the day.
    There is something about the energy of moving and praying that appeals to me.

    In the evening sitting quietly I do the daily office from the Book of Common Prayer, and pray for those on my prayer lists from several places.
  • On Sunday, the Reader at church, introduced the idea of quiet, structured contemplation on a passage then led the congregation in a short led reflection. To be honest I thought it was something better done at home, but was surprised by how many people really enjoyed it and had not experienced it as a form of prayer before. They liked the silence. Really, just to add that contemplation does, perhaps, have a place in public as well as private.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    My introduction to structured contemplative prayer was Ignatian, working through the Spiritual Exercises while on a 10-daty retreat. This involved active visualisation of Gospel scenes, recreating in our minds and hearts what was called 'composition of place'.

    Like most retreatants, I spent several retreats imagining in detail the healing of the paralytic, using passages in Matthew (9:1–8), Mark (2:1–12) and Luke (5:17–26. This visualisation of a biblical scene with myself present was always followed by a 'colloquy' or conversation with God about what we had been shown, reflection on this encounter, discursive petitioning for personal healing, making life choices as we felt led by the Spirit. It was active and focused meditation and ended with vocal prayer, the Our Father or a decade of the rosary.

    In later years, I found myself drawn to a less structured, more wordless contemplative tradition as found in the Carmelite traditions, the writings of Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. This involved simply placing myself in the Presence of God and waiting on God (the writings of Simone Weil have also been a help here), sometimes staying with an image or a few words that come to me, staying with God in trust and gratitude.

  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I’m realising from this thread that although I’m never sure if I’m actually doing contemplative prayer, my understanding of what it is has been quite specific, more specific than others define it. I’ve seen it as being silent before God - wordless prayer with stilled mind. Perhaps because I learned about it in the context of the Carmelites. If it’s silent contemplation of a Bible passage, I’ve known that as part of lectio divina, not contemplative prayer as such. And the Ignatian type of imagining oneself in a gospel scene, I’ve known as imaginative prayer. The daily office I just know as the daily office. I didn’t realise the term ‘contemplative prayer’ was also used more broadly as an umbrella term for other types of prayer.
  • I use Centering Prayer, which is Carmelite in origin, its founding father being Fr Thomas Keating. It is apparently simple and certainly apophatic, but it can change one's perspective on God profoundly, and has mine, working in my case in conjunction with contemplative reading of Julian's Revelations. I actually have two different sacred words, which separate in my mind the two practices: one for the "straight" CP, and one for Julian lectio using CP to hold the silence and the words as they work their way through me.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I use Centering Prayer, which is Carmelite in origin, its founding father being Fr Thomas Keating

    I do too, and have found Cynthia Bourgeault's "Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening" and Martin Laird's "Into the Silent Land" two of the most helpful books on the subject.

    I struggle with establishing a regular practice, although I recognise the importance and power of it. However, this week I have found that arriving early at work and taking time before the day starts to read Richard Rohr's daily email and do 15 minutes of meditation has worked well for me.

    Thank you for this thread, Simon Toad.
  • fineline wrote: »
    I’m realising from this thread that although I’m never sure if I’m actually doing contemplative prayer, my understanding of what it is has been quite specific, more specific than others define it. I’ve seen it as being silent before God - wordless prayer with stilled mind. Perhaps because I learned about it in the context of the Carmelites. If it’s silent contemplation of a Bible passage, I’ve known that as part of lectio divina, not contemplative prayer as such. And the Ignatian type of imagining oneself in a gospel scene, I’ve known as imaginative prayer. The daily office I just know as the daily office. I didn’t realise the term ‘contemplative prayer’ was also used more broadly as an umbrella term for other types of prayer.

    This is my lack of exactitude I suspect Fineline. Like my mother's cooking, I attach a label to my prayer but I rarely follow the recipe. :) Unlike my Mum, who I love very much and am very like, I do want to pay attention to the recipe.

    For me, I want to pray every day, and I want to collapse into my prayer.
  • Contemplative prayer, like any other kind of prayer, is nebulous, limited by distractions, and almost never feels productive or an achievement. It often feels like failure, a reminder of Divine absence and a waste of time. Prayer is a gift, not something we can make happen.

    There's no wrong way to pray. I’m a great fan of Abbot Dom Chapman who said in his Spiritual Letters: ‘Pray as you can, not as you can’t.’

    And: ‘The less you pray, the worse it goes.’

    In recent years, I've felt called to intercessory prayer and that is now a big part of what I do in prayer each day. We had a thread on this a while back and I must go and find it again. For me it flows out of wordless prayer and back again.
  • I always think of contemplative prayer in a phrase I got from C.S. Lewis, We are building an altar for fire to fall elsewhere.

    I say got from C.S. Lewis because a) I have slightly adapted and b) I am pretty sure he got the sentiment from somewhere else.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    I always think of contemplative prayer in a phrase I got from C.S. Lewis, We are building an altar for fire to fall elsewhere.

    I don't understand what that means. Is it being derogatory?

    What would people say are the differences between contemplative prayer and meditation?

    ETA - I know we discussed this as part of The Quiet Zone on the old Ship, but I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    No. It is not derogatory. Without the prayer, the fire would not fall but our prayer does not control when and how in our lives it will. In other words, our contemplative prayer may arrive not at a sense of intimacy with God during that time but in changes elsewhere in our lives.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Ah, yes, that makes sense. Thank you.
  • I find that I'm drinking up the daily readings at the moment, especially enjoying the different aspects of God revealed in Scripture, even over the short period I've been doing it. I'm following the Mick readings (a derogatory term for Irish Catholics adopted by many of us in pride, well before my birth I suspect), and we have had Mark's transfiguration coupled with a reading from Daniel with the emphasis on kingship.

    This usually gets me wondering about the bits of God in the Bible I approve of, and the bits I find difficult to swallow. This engages my intellect, dammit! There's other stuff that engages that, like the English word 'book' that appeared today in the translation I use (I reckon the translation is that book Catholics use in Church services which have the readings one after another but I can't remember the name. Its a big red book in my experience. It's not the New Jerusalem version, I've checked).

    "Why book", I immediately think. "I don't think they had books back then. Must be the translation. Hmm, I wish I knew my Hebrew. But maybe its Greek, could be from the Septuagint. Shit. I'm out of the zone."

    My intellect is getting in the way of prayer!

  • Nenya wrote: »

    What would people say are the differences between contemplative prayer and meditation?

    ETA - I know we discussed this as part of The Quiet Zone on the old Ship, but I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question.

  • Try again...
    Nenya wrote: »

    What would people say are the differences between contemplative prayer and meditation?

    ETA - I know we discussed this as part of The Quiet Zone on the old Ship, but I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question.

    Short answer Nenya is that I don't know, but never in my life have I let that stop me from attempting an answer :)

    I think that contemplative prayer is a deliberate act aimed at the Divine, and meditation is a deliberate act with some other purpose.

    I can get a weird feeling in my forehead when I pray. For a while I identified it with 'connection', but I think its much more likely to be the way I hold my head and screw up my muscles that does it. I really don't know, and don't really want to know.
  • Firstly there are no clear distinctions. Not that people do not make them but they do not make them in the same places. So you have multiple boundaries. As a rule of thumb, I would hold that Contemplative Prayer tends to be a broader term than meditation.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    How's everyone doing? I'm still finding my practice happens quite naturally on work days - the one plus to now having a horrible commute is that I get on the road early to avoid the traffic - but on other days it isn't happening. Not really sure how to address that.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Me? I am experimenting with seeing how I go with more than I usually do. I have reasons for this that are not really about spiritual growth. I have basically upped it to the level that is recommended by John Main and I want as much to see how sustainable it is in my life. There is only one way to find out and that is to do it. I know once the academic year comes I am going to struggle harder than at present but I am determined not to beat myself up about it. I will then be able to say I try to do it but I fail. It has some interesting side effects such as not feeling so worried about spinning plates.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    the level that is recommended by John Main

    What level is that?
  • Twenty to thirty minutes twice a day. This to me sounds a lot from someone living a secular life and I tend to take rather the attitude of Kallisto Ware in his book on the Jesus Prayer where it is up to the individual to find what time they have and any effort is worth doing.

    I do think there are advantages in regular and spending longer times, if this is what feeds your faith, then doing it regularly and spending time on it is going to improve your faith. However, being prescriptive about what is required, tends to make something that should be based on devotion become based on duty.
  • I do turn things into duties easily. I'm feeling ho-hum about my practice, which has devolved into just reading the readings on the webpage I use once or twice but not consciously stepping back. I feel keen to 'get it over with' and get on to what I want to do next.

    Right now, I'm just going to stick at it with grim determination, and perhaps this moment of reflection will prompt me to step back away from that next task.
  • Twenty to thirty minutes twice a day is a level I can only dream of, but my friend who has had that as a regular practice for years says that she finds it makes a huge difference. "Meditation once a day is maintenance, twice a day is transformation" is how she puts it. How are you finding it, JJ?

    I do ten minutes on work mornings in, like Simon Toad, a doggedly determined way. Somewhere deep inside me I'm convinced it's important, although most of the time it's ten minutes of realising my thoughts are straying and drawing myself back to attention on my breath or my prayer word (not so much the latter, at present). I remind myself of that story about Thomas Keating who said to the nun who complained her thoughts strayed ten thousand times, "How wonderful! Ten thousand opportunities to return to God."
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    There are threads in the OldShip™ Limbo on:
    Lectio Divina
    Prayers that really move you
    What is the point of prayer

    The Lectio thread looks relevant to this discussion. I've added the other two for academic interest.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    edited September 2018
    Twice a week (on a good week, I could do with more discipline) I will read a short Bible passage whilst a bath is being run, then get in the bath and meditate on the words there.

    It is a practice I started when there were three young children running about the house and the bath was the best place to get the necessary peace and quiet. Though these children are now grown up, married and moved out I have found that this habit has stuck and the bath is the best contemplation point for me.

    ETA - I meant contemplation place.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited September 2018
    Nenya wrote: »
    Twenty to thirty minutes twice a day is a level I can only dream of, but my friend who has had that as a regular practice for years says that she finds it makes a huge difference. "Meditation once a day is maintenance, twice a day is transformation" is how she puts it. How are you finding it, JJ?

    Good question and one I cannot easily answer. The problem is that I was already on a path of transformation before I started that level of meditation. You could easily argue the other way around that the transformation led to the discipline.

    What I noticed almost immediately was I became emotionally less tossed about by things that happened during the day. It was as if my spirit developed a lode stone that meant that while life's waves still come, I seemed to find it more easy to respond in ways I was happy with and therefore the wave did not leave me floundering as often as they did before.

    I will say that I feel out of sorts if I have not done it at present. Experience of other episodes of meditating regularly suggests that I will not have the stamina in the long term but we shall see.
  • Different questions

    I am doing some reading around Contemplative prayer using a repeated phrase and most books suggest that there are two goals to it
    1. A mystical experience of the divine
    2. The development of the practice of continual prayer

    Now I think the second will happen in a way to almost anyone. The time spent repeating a phrase will make it come embedded in ones mind and if it is associated with calm (which is what meditation does) it is highly likely that simply tuning into that phrase will lead to calmness in other parts of the day. I will leave off whether this is actually continual prayer but it may appear to be that.

    The first I would treat as highly dubious. It may happen. Actually would quite like it if it did but such a gift can only come from the divine initiative. The most we can do is make space where we are ready to receive that gift and go on living our lives as best we can with respect to the divine will.

    I am therefore loathe to suggest this as the aim or goal of contemplative prayer, yet many of the writers do.

    Any thoughts?
  • I'm not sure contemplative prayer has 'goals' or 'aims' except insofar as it is a way of spending time with an infinitely incomprehensible and infinitely loving God. It is also akin to meditation where just paying attention to breath going in and out may be all that happens. Or Lectio Divina where learning to read Scripture passages slowly with deepened concentration is the point of the exercise.

    Although most of us may not aspire to a mystical experience of the Divine, there's a lot to be said for reading those who have experienced such states and reflecting on their insights. I'm busy with Gregory of Nyssa at the moment and feeling both exalted and inadequate in equal measure!
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    My thoughts:

    1. A mystical experience of the divine

    That looks like the one meditating is the one who is in control and forcing God to come. I think that is wrong. I also think that if nothing happens most of the time other than you repeating a phrase, such as the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner," then that is fine.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    edited September 2018
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    I'm busy with Gregory of Nyssa at the moment and feeling both exalted and inadequate in equal measure!

    Gregory probably felt the same way.
  • The books I read keep saying it is God in control but also seem to keep promising something more.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I have Christian authors I no longer read because of this.

    "If you do this God will answer." is not a theology I go with. "I tried this, God answered and he may also answer you." is one I do like. There's a big difference there for me.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    I feel keen to 'get it over with' and get on to what I want to do next.
    May I thank you for sharing that. This has been my problem, or self-made problem, for years. I feel as if I should be in a "holy" state and eager to be "blessed by the Spirit". And I'm not. I'm grumpy and just want to get back to funny cat videos on YouTube.

    Knowing I'm not alone is a revelation. One I perhaps should've worked out, but didn't. I am going to make an effort from tonight.

    Thank you.
  • Thank you all for the comments following Simon's post which I have just read. Helpful.

    MaryLouise: I attended a series of reflections run at the Catholic university of an evening on St Gregory of Nyssa -- one of the most profitable courses I've done. On his Moses book. I still have the material...perhaps I'll re-read it.

  • balaam wrote: »
    "I tried this, God answered and he may also answer you" .

    The Metropolitan Kallistos says something like this on the Jesus Prayer.
    Like the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis, the Metropolitan Kallistos says things in a way or tone or something that makes you feel you (even you!) could just go and do it right then and there

  • I don't expect a particular experience of the divine during my meditations, which is hard to explain to some of my friends who want to hear how God speaks to me during them. It was Thomas Keating again who said that if the Virgin Mary herself appears to you in a vision during meditation the correct response is, "Not now, dear, I'm doing my centering prayer." :smiley:
  • Thank you Nenya and Simon Toad. I was recently meditating on a day when I had A LOT to do. A few minutes in, I found myself thinking, "I need to meditate faster!" Gotta love the insights of prayer...
  • Nenya wrote: »
    It was Thomas Keating again who said that if the Virgin Mary herself appears to you in a vision during meditation the correct response is, "Not now, dear, I'm doing my centering prayer." :smiley:
    Ha ha.

    I'm worried if I said that she'd respond like this! :smile:
  • Kallistos Ware is very generous in his approach to prayer. He gives lots of suggestions and few absolutes, nor does he make promises.
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