Weird Prayer Thingy

Over the last couple of years I’ve really been focusing on my prayer life. I kind of got on this kick after a discussion about prayer in our old life group. Everyone in that group had been a believer for 20+ years at least. During the discussion that night 3-4 people said in some form that they felt sometimes like they were praying to a distant God. Everyone there believed in the power of prayer. Everyone there believed in God and that he was indeed not distant. So why?

I proposed that maybe it’s possible that we focus so much on Jesus in the South that we just don’t see God and the Holy Spirit as close. I didn’t grow up in the church and made sure that everyone understood I was not throwing Jesus out. Just a thought.

Totally unplanned, my reading lead me to contemplative prayer. I don’t remember how I first became acquainted with the practice, but I’ve really enjoyed it and it makes sense in so many ways. I’ve been reading mostly Thomas Merton but others as well.

I still “vocalize” my prayers as I’ve always done but with a different perspective. I’m trying not to ramble but pray from my heart. But in addition to that, I’ve added contemplative prayer. I’m learning to sit still and quiet and listen for God. Like a child sitting quietly in his Father’s lap.

I won’t get into the details of contemplative prayer other than the main thing is to not allow your thoughts to go anywhere…just be quiet. When you realize you’ve ventured away, you use a centering word or phrase to return from your thoughts. There’s no particular words required. I just use what comes to mind that morning: Jesus, grace, love, peace, repeating the Jesus prayer. Something very simple. It’s also strongly suggested that you don’t stop for any new seemingly important thoughts. If God has brought something to mind he won’t let it slip away, right?

I’ve noticed that over time God has brought some really powerful thoughts, memories, sin, and tasks to mind regularly during these times. They seem to come out of nowhere. The weird thing is that when it happens, it is so shocking that I literally open my eyes wide, and immediately start worrying or processing the thought in my own power. I’ve just been going with it pretty much as if it must be something God wants me to deal. I recently decided to focus on not doing that and staying quiet as intended during that prayer time. Like I said, God called it to my mind so it won’t easily be forgotten.

Overall, I believe that’s a sign that I’m progressing in prayer and just have a new hurdle. I’m growing. I hate to even call it progressing or growing because I honestly feel that God honors our time devoted to him whether we feel like it or not.

I highly recommend looking into and practicing contemplative prayer. Not necessarily as a replacement of anything else. As a believer, Christ is in you. You have been anointed with the Holy Spirit. It shouldn’t be scary to attempt to let Christ in you speak! Also, in these days of fast paced life with social media and the barrage of information, it’s just good to learn to sit quietly.

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