Posts filed under 'Ways of Praying'

Praying Your Personal Psalm

This suggestion for prayer comes from the old Loyola Hall website. It was penned by Edel McClean and grew out of her retreats for people with chronic illness.

Peter Purves Smith - The Pleading Butcher, 1948

The psalms have always been used in communal or liturgical ways but they also seem to evoke very intense feelings that can resonate powerfully with us as individuals. And all life and emotion is there! Ranting anger and hurt; joyful exultation; recrimination and remorse; trust and confidence. Often a psalm will carry the weight of moods that seem contradictory and confusing — just as we can seem to ourselves.

Some psalms are beautiful; some are clever; some are shocking in their venom. The biblical Psalms offer us a resource through which to express our deepest feelings: let one resonate and express what we need to get out before God. But sometimes borrowed words don’t feel enough: that can be the time to write our own psalm.
Writing Your Psalm
1) Take a moment to pay attention to yourself. Recognise if you’re tense or nervous; exhilarated or calm. Either way don’t judge yourself, just notice and let it be.

2) Begin to pour out whatever you feel on paper. Include how it feels to be you and how it feels to be in your current circumstance whatever that may be. Include how you feel towards God at the moment. Include what you need and want.

3) Try not to judge what you write. Don’t try to make it ‘good’ or poetic or tidy or acceptable. Don’t temper it. Try to let the truth out, without being afraid that this is irrational or something you shouldn’t feel or something you shouldn’t say to God. Try not to censor your emotions or language.

3) As you start to run out of words, include something of how it feels to have written all of this, and where you feel you are now.

4) The writing has already been prayer but you will probably want to pray your psalm again. Maybe immediately or maybe later. Pick a spot where you can use your psalm without interruption or embarrassment. The purpose isn’t to ‘make something happen’ or to achieve some resolution but to express yourself fully and honestly to God.

5) As you pray notice if God is hearing you and, if it feels right, give God some space to do God’s part: to join in, to respond, or just to listen. See if you can catch the tone of God’s voice, the quality of God’s presence.

Add comment July 2nd, 2014

Spiritual Exercise, Part II

Fan vault

Fan vault at Corpus Christi College Cambridge

I noted in a previous post that St. Ignatius prefers to talk about spiritual exercises or practices rather than about praying as such. I explored the way new retreatants often are surprised that a retreat can feel like hard work.

Another surprise is in the offing if they come with the expectation that they will be invited to pray the way they usually pray, particularly if the are making the full Spiritual Exercises. Though Ignatius is all for finding a means that works and sticking with it, if a retreat is a time of spiritual exercise you wouldn’t expect to just potter along as normal.

St. Ignatius, in his Spiritual Exercises, suggests quite a few different ways of praying but he embeds each of them in the same framework. Some people see his approach, with its pattern and structure, as appealing to their personality while others suspect it for the same reason. In truth the structure isn’t the point. What Ignatius is doing is shaping a space for prayer to encourage a particular outcome — an encounter, mediated by imagination, with the living God. The encounter is the aim of Ignatian prayer and the template stands or falls by how it promotes it.

The Ignatian template has a number of things to do ‘before’ the prayer proper and more to do ‘after’. I believe this template has a lot to say about Ignatian spirituality in general and Ignatian spiritual direction in particular and, if you like, you can read an article I wrote for The Way exploring that in some detail. Here I will be more schematic. Here’s the template that shapes the Ignatian ‘hour’ in the Spiritual Exercises:

  1. as you come to the place of prayer pause and consider how God is looking at you
  2. ask God for the gift that everything in this time be directed to God’s ‘service and praise’
  3. recall the gist of the material you are going to spend time with
  4. compose yourself in the space
  5. ask God for what you desire in particular from the exercise
  6. use whatever way of prayer you have selected to engage with the material
  7. speak to God face to face, one friend to another, about what has happened
  8. don’t drift away — bring the exercise to a close in some way

You have to wait till point 6 before you get to ‘praying’ but by the time you get there what will ‘fit’ has quite a definite shape.

The template begins with a simple but powerful move: looking at God who is already looking at you: not just reminding yourself that God is there with you but checking out how God is really looking at you. It involves an act of the imagination: you actually have to look. And when you ‘see’ (or ‘feel’, or ‘sense’, or ‘hear’) you will be moved to some kind of response: you might be delighted, or surprised, or dismayed, or amused, etc. You might have something to say. So the first move of Ignatian spiritual exercise is noticing what God is already doing and responding to that. And notice this practice takes for granted that God is real enough and interested enough to be there in your spiritual exercise waiting for a personal engagement.

Move 2 underlines that by asking God to help you direct all your efforts in what follows towards God. It is about both effort and grace, working at something but aware that what comes can only be given and received.

Move 3 is bringing to mind whatever it is you have previously prepared to pray with. Quite often it will be scripture-related but remember that Ignatius’ own retreatants are unlikely to have had bibles to look at — they had familiar stories and a terse handful of ‘points’ that summarised them. Often it is best, having used the scripture in preparation, to just bring such points into the exercise and recall them rather than picking up your bible.

Move 4 deepens that initial recall and does it imaginatively in the same spirit as move 1. It is about composing yourself and composing the context of the story you have brought with you. I don’t so much mean letting yourself be still: I mean in a way putting yourself together. Sometimes it will be more about getting into the imaginative world of a gospel scene and sometimes it will be more about seeing yourself in the gaze of God with whatever you bring with you. People often baulk at this ‘move’ on the grounds of not ‘having much imaginative’: but we are neither talking about employing creative genius nor about having a Technicolor visual experience — just about ‘noticing’ what memory and imagination put before you with any of your imaginative senses. You can do it spontaneously or by a kind of question and answer that builds up the space: is the road straight or does it wind? is it noisy or quiet? am I feeling eager or reluctant? etc.

When you have put yourself together in the context of your material, move 5 brings you back face to face with God, asking again, this time for what you desire. This is exercise and, as such, it has a point. What are you wanting from this time? What are you working for? And at the same time knowing that you can’t get it except as God’s gift. You have to ask? And sometimes you will find that your desires are conflicted or even unknown to you. You want freedom but you are quite attached to something in particular, perhaps. This move asks only honesty: what do I want, now, as I have prepared myself in this place before the gaze of God? Ask for it, or as close as you can honestly get to it. Or try on the desire to see how it fits.

It is only at this stage in the Ignatian exercise template that you are ready to engage the material you intended to ‘pray’ with. It might have taken a few moments to get here or the best part of your exercise time but when you do get here the ‘space’ you have made for prayer has a very definite shape. Some ‘ways’ of praying fit comfortably (Ignatian imaginative contemplation obviously fits well) and others take some shoehorning (apophatic styles, like centering prayer, feel odd in this kataphatically prepared space). Although often suggested on retreats I am, personally, not sure how well lectio divina fits in this context.

However you engage with the material in move 6, Ignatius, in move 7, wants you to take the experience back to God and a conversation face-to-face, friend to friend. Like move 1 this is not a monologue but a dialogue in which both you and God/Jesus/etc. talk about what happened and what moved you and how your desire was met or not. Sometimes this will be brief and sometimes it will take a lot of the time. In a sense, from move 1, the  exercise has been set up to be conversational — with if anything God taking the initiative.

Move 8 is to finally conclude the exercise in a semi-formal way — get up carefully, or say the Lord’s prayer, or make a sign of the cross, or bow — anything that signals a conclusion and helps you not just drift away.

I’d then suggest a good cup of tea! And of course, as I mentioned in the first post, when you have shifted gears it is worth reviewing the exercise and noting down where you were moved.

Some people love this kind of structure and others hate it but either way the structure isn’t accidental — it does a job of preparing a space to encounter God honestly and it helps maintain the momentum of that encounter.It can be adapted to get the most out of it but it is worth trying it as it is for a while to see if it bears fruit.

Entered into generously it is a great way of developing a personal relationship with God.

Add comment June 20th, 2014

Spiritual Exercise, Part I

a woman on an exercise bike

Prayer has a lot in common with exercise

Maybe surprisingly, St Ignatius in his retreat manual, the Spiritual Exercises, doesn’t talk much about prayer. OK he talks endlessly about prayer but always as a variety of spiritual exercise. Spiritual exercise is his preferred category.

There is a prejudice that prayer, if you are doing it right, should be serene, peaceful, passive, restful even. That is often an issue for people coming on retreat for the first time: they expect that, if they can do it right, it will be quiet and easy. They might doubt that they can do it right but they expect they should.

St Ignatius sees prayer rather differently. He expects that if you do it ‘right’ it will be rather turbulent — a roller-coaster ride of alternating emotions as you find yourself passing between consolation and desolation and back again as you try to encounter God (or try to let yourself be encountered by God). In fact, he advises the retreat-giver faced with a continually serene retreatant to ask some questions to see whether the person is actually doing the exercises as set.

Ignatius can talk about ‘doing it right’ because he has a particular aim in mind for the spiritual workout he designs a retreat to be. It isn’t primarily about becoming proficient in any way of praying but about encountering God with honesty. He knows enough about human beings to expect that our encounter with God will stir up desires and resistances in us, we will be drawn by the good spirit and unsettled by the bad spirit, and handling all that will be strenuous. It will be work. It will be exercise. And we will learn and grow in the process.

Ignatius takes seriously the analogy between spiritual exercise and physical exercise. If you want results from exercise you approach it systematically, you do whatever is known to help, you maybe even find a personal trainer. He is very down-to-earth with his advice:

  • attend to your spiritual exercise regularly — just fitting it in here and there when you feel like it doesn’t much work
  • find a place, a time, a posture, for your spiritual exercise that seems to suit you and stay with it as long as it keeps working for you
  • don’t just stumble into your spiritual exercise– warm up! — think in advance of what you might be doing — if you are going to use a piece of scripture or some other material find it, read it, then put it on the back burner
  • if you have decided your spiritual exercise should last half an hour, say, stick to it — don’t duck out if it proves boring or extend the exercise if you are on a high
  • and after your spiritual exercise stretch and cool down — don’t compartmentalise your prayer, review the time and maybe make a note or two about what happened and what moved you so you can integrate the experience into the rest of your life

So if Ignatius sees a time of retreat as a workout what exactly is being exercised, trained, grown, stretched? Well, a familiarity with the God who is already familiar with us. A facility to engage imaginatively with that God. Maybe a falling in love with that God. An honesty about our experience so we see it as it is, not how we want it to be. A growing understanding of what brings us closer to God and what pulls us further away — what Ignatius calls the ability to discern spirits. Discerning spirits is, for Ignatius, all about making the choices to follow God in ordinary experience. His has been called a mysticism of choice. Spiritual exercise is aimed at training us to choose well, to seek and find God in all things, and choose to go where God goes.

I’ll write in Part II how the careful way Ignatius structures spiritual exercise to work toward these ends.

June 12th, 2014

The Practice of Gratitude

upraised hands

Gratitude is a pleasant state of mind in itself, rooted in the awareness of having been gifted, but it can also be a way of responding to God the Giver with thankfulness and generosity. Gratitude needs to be entertained though, dwelled with, so it becomes a habit of seeing and feeling and acting. And that takes practice — hopefully a pleasant practice.

What follows can be a ‘sit-down’ way of praying or a short response to experience as it occurs. The one feeds the other. It has its sources in Ignatius of Loyola’s Examen prayer, his Contemplatio ad Amorem and some of his ideas on storing up consolation. There are psychological resonances in Rick Hanson’s HEAL process which I talked about in an earlier post.

It is simple to explain as a response to experience as it takes place. We all react easily to negative experiences: they stir us up and stay with us. Spiritually, they make God harder to find and responding more difficult. We are just as often gifted with ‘positive’ experiences — I mean anything for which we feel grateful, however fleetingly, in the moment — from the birth of a child to the warmth of the sun on your face, from feeling part of a group to knowing you coped well with a conflict. Strangely, the positive experiences tend not to stick, we let them drift by, we don’t let them take root in us, we may even actively downplay their importance. We miss the grace and we miss an opportunity for a spiritual practice. Bad experiences can affect us in an instant but good experiences need a little time to sink in.

A practice of gratitude involves admitting such experiences when they happen, holding off any tendency to minimise them, but instead letting the experience grow, deepen, intensify. Instead of feeling a little enjoyment at the warmth of the sun, really let it take up the centre of your awareness for half a minute or more, revel in it, savour it, accept it, let it soak in. That in itself is gratitude — though words are important, we show gratitude best by whole-hearted enjoyment of the gift — but as the experience is savoured it can become the starting place for a conversation with God. How is God looking at you in your enjoyment? How does that change your feelings? How do you want to respond?

The whole thing might take a minute or two and you can even do it in the presence of others.

As a more ‘formal’ way of praying the practice has a lot in common with the Examen, or Examination of Consciousness — indeed it is usually listed as the second of the five steps in the Examen. Within the Examen exercise, however, the practice of gratitude is often rushed over as a prelude but it deserves and repays time in its own right.

For the space of ten or fifteen minutes (or maybe more) let your attention drift back over the experiences of the past day (or hour or whatever) and just notice any moments in which you felt gifted. These might be major or minor, they may be ones you were aware of at the time or ones that you only see now in hindsight. The aim is to follow your nose to one or two experiences of pleasure or joy or gift and to savour each in memory, letting the moment expand and deepen. Stay with it as long as it has ‘flavour’. Absorb it. Let it move you spontaneously to gratitude. Let your enjoyment of the experience be your gratitude to God. Perhaps ask yourself how God is looking at you as you remember and relive whatever it was. See what that stirs up in you and how you want to respond. If it feels right let a conversation develop with God — one friend to another, as Ignatius would say.

Sometimes you might find there is nothing really noticeable in your day. Don’t react badly to that realization: there are several things you can do. You could give yourself a little experience of pleasure or comfort, etc. by taking a drink of cool water, or tasting something good, or looking out the window, or … I can usually find a moment of calm and pleasure by filling and holding a hot water bottle! An alternative is to dip into deeper memories of gift. Today might have been lousy but there may be older memories that root you in a firmer truth. One that nearly always works for me is to place myself in one of the places that are sacred to me, places that are Holy Ground to me. Sometimes that will require more imagination then memory but that is fine.

The aim is to get your spirit into consolation, however briefly, because there you will meet the God who gives good things.

It is always good to end such an exercise in some ‘formal’ way, rather than just drifting out of it. Take your pick.

Add comment June 10th, 2014

Praying through Film, Story, Song, Art

(I wrote this a few years back for the Loyola Hall website. It’s a way of praying and an attitude towards experience.)

Shakespeare in Love

from the film Shakespeare in Love

If you want God to speak to you you need to give God a vocabulary.

Scripture is, of course, a privileged source of ‘words’ that God might address to you — hence the number of different ways of praying that put the Bible centre stage — but worship too is a place God can speak, as are the sacraments, spiritual reading, nature, art etc. We could extend the list indefinitely.

Indeed it was the genius of Ignatius Loyola to engage deeply with the truth that God can speak to us in countless ways — God is to be found ‘in all things’. The Spiritual Exercises — his training course in listening to God — takes that seriously, inviting the person praying to listen to God in the whole range of their experience.

What is it about experience that lets it become God’s vocabulary? It is experience’s capacity to move us, to touch us in heart and mind, to stir up desires and responses in us. In this sense all experience can be ‘artistic’ or have the quality of a story, able to draw us in, able to carry rich meanings.

Ignatius brings imagination to bear on all experience — life, scripture, play, work. Perhaps that’s why an Ignatian approach to prayer can find rich raw material in TV, film, song, drama and story — art high and low.

So how do you pray with, say, a film? Well, I have rarely found that setting out deliberately to do so bears much fruit. Instead I find that such prayer is a matter of waiting and noticing and being ready to respond. It is about noticing when you are moved and being ready to respond to the God who might be crafting some new vocabulary for you.

Let me give two examples which might shed some light.

A few years back, in the grip of chronic illness, I was a in a sullen place in prayer. Not able to get beyond a sense that either God was responsible or I was — and either possibility seemed to shut off communication. At some point outside of formal prayer I was half aware of a tune in my head. I couldn’t identify it and after irritating me for a while it went away. But then it returned and I began to wonder if it wasn’t from an LP (remember those?) I had once owned by Billy Joel. Some searching of iTunes later I found the song — ‘Innocent Man’ — and felt something move.

I then spent days, in and out of prayer, listening and letting the song — words, music, tone — become part of God’s vocabulary. Not just hearing a message and applying it to myself, but sitting with it and with God and letting both speak. Through it, God convinced me that both of us were innocent, neither bore a blame. But more; it brought me to experience Jesus afresh in a vulnerable light. My accusation of guilt seemed to hurt him and my desire to care for him took my prayer in a creative direction.

This kind of prayer doesn’t have to be focused around an issue. The film ‘Once’ is one I find myself returning to still, partly unaware of what God is saying to me through it.

It’s a gentle and moving film with some great songs at its heart and it draws me back periodically to linger with it again. And when I do God is very much around. The sense is of God by my side (to my left and slightly behind me, if you ask) just as caught up as I am, sharing the moment. Sometimes it feels like his hand is on my shoulder. Whatever is being spoken is being spoken slowly over years.

So how about a method? Sorry! But here are some hints to adapt for yourself.

1) Be ready to be moved when you listen or view. And be ready to wonder if God might not be waiting to be found in what moves you.

2) When your attention has been caught — gently or forcefully — by a film or a song or a work of art be prepared to linger, to repeat, to give the moment time to develop. For example, play the song again. Do you get the same reaction or something else? What is it your are feeling? Maybe you know and maybe you don’t. Can you stay with the movement for a while contemplatively, i.e., just noticing it and not trying to work anything out or get a result?

3) Who is the God who seems to be present as you stay with the song or scene? How is this God looking at you; present to you; speaking to you? Is God watching with you or is God somehow ‘in’ the scene that has moved you?

4) Notice what you find yourself desiring in all this. Let yourself feel the desire. If it feels right let yourself express the desire to God. But notice also what God seems to be desiring. Let yourself take that desire to heart.

5) Stay with the thing that moves you until it loses it flavour. Keep coming back to it as long as you feel drawn back. I am embarrassed to say how many time I have seen the film ‘Shakespeare in Love’ because of a scene near the close where the heroine says to young Will ‘write me well’.

6) The first rule of any kind of prayer is to go where God is and do what helps God be present and communicative. That applies equally here: find the flow and follow it.

I hope that — despite my rambling — the next time you find yourself being moved by a film or song you might linger and let God have a say.

Add comment June 3rd, 2014

Contemplative ‘Mindmapping’

Paper for prayer

Praying with pen and paper

(I wrote this a few years back for the Loyola Hall website. It’s a way of praying I still use myself from time to time.)

This is a kind of prayer you do with your eyes open and a pen and paper in front of you. It’s well suited as a short exercise of 10 or 15 minutes and is particularly good at getting something stirring when otherwise you are feeling stuck or dull.

Since it takes only a little while (and you can keep your eyes open) I recommend giving it a try for real now rather than just reading about it. Don’t read all the way ahead but follow each instruction as it comes.

In preparation, find a nice sheet of paper — A4 or letter-sized is fine for now but feel free to experiment later — also maybe something to lean it on and a pen or pencil you can jot with. I prefer to have the paper arranged ‘landscape’ rather than ‘portrait’ but that’s up to you.

Got all you need? To begin, turn your inner senses toward God and ask briefly, in whatever way feels helpful, that this exercise will help you be aware of God’s presence.

The first step is to look at your blank piece of paper and right in the centre of it write the word ‘GOD’ clearly and legibly. Another time you could choose any other word that happens to feel like a good starting point given what’s going on in your life but ‘GOD’ is a good start for now. When you have written your word … read on.

Now take a long look at the whole piece of paper with the single word in the middle – just look at it unhurriedly, undemandingly, openly, contemplatively — and wait for another word to come to you. Don’t strain or filter or analyse or worry — just look and wait for a word — it might take seconds or minutes. Do that now then come back to these instructions.

When a word does turn up write it on the paper wherever feels right. It might be next to ‘GOD’ or above or below, close or distant…

Done? Now take another contemplative look at your sheet of paper which now has two words on it. Just look and wait for a third word to come along — not trying to make connections, not trying not to, not trying at all. Do that now…

When your third word arrives put it down on paper too, wherever it seems to want to go.

Done? You get the pattern: look, wait, write; look, wait, write… Keep doing that until 10 minutes have passed, or the page feels complete, or you feel ready to move on. By then you might have collected a handful of words or dozens — it’s up to you. Come back to these instructions when you reach that point…

OK. Now take one last look at your paper laid out with a pattern of words — another low-key, contemplative look. Then ask yourself this question: ‘If God were saying something to me through this sheet of paper what might it be?’ Ask yourself that question and wait contemplatively for an answer. When it comes, write it down on your paper too in the form of a simple sentence addressed to you by God — nothing third-person or abstract…

Now notice your feelings at seeing (and hearing) these words spoken to you. Notice how you might respond, what you might say back to God, what you feel moved to do… If it feels right make that response, or say what you want to say, or do what you want to do.

At this point you might consider the exercise finished … or it might become the starting place for further prayer — either right away or at some later time; maybe continuing the dialogue, maybe sitting in silence with the God who has addressed you.

I hope you tried this simple way of praying with pen and paper and found it useful.

Add comment May 28th, 2014

Imaginative Contemplation

While Lectio Divina seems naturally suited to praying with texts where words and their resonances are uppermost, other pieces of scripture engage us primarily as stories.

Stories have the capacity to draw us in. Almost without effort we find ourselves imagining the place and the people and the better the story the more we find ourselves moved by what we imagine. This natural capacity is the basis of the way of praying called imaginative, or Ignatian, contemplation.

Some people avoid this kind of prayer because they say they ‘have no imagination’ but everyone does–it is just that it seems to work differently in different people. We often think that we should see pictures in our imagination, but, just as commonly, people seem to hear their way into a story while others enter the imagination through a vague but significant sense of where things are.

Imagination is related to memory: if you can call up a memory in some way you can use your imagination in prayer. Think of someone you love or a place where you have been happy and you will find yourself spontaneously using your imagination in the way that works for you.

People also differ in how much work it takes to imagine. Some find their imagination more passive–events unfold before them without effort–while others have a more active imagination–they are more aware of the work that goes into ‘building’ an experience.

However you approach it though, imaginative prayer is a powerful way to enter into a gospel story. The details of the story and the work of your imagination shape a temporary world for you to experience in a real way.

beginning

Choose your scripture passage and become comfortable with it. Read it over a few times until you know what happens and are able to set the words aside.

settling

Find a quiet inner place—as quiet as you have available right now. Begin to remember the story and its setting, letting it take shape, and letting yourself settle there.

imagining

Use your imagination to enter into the story in some of the ways below:

  • Watch what happens: listen to what is being said; feel the action with your body.
  • Become part of the story either by being yourself or by becoming one of the other people in the story.
  • Listen, taste, smell, feel, and watch what happens. Allow yourself to interact with the others in the event: enter into conversation with them, listen to what they have to say to you and to each other, etc.
  • Allow the event to unfold through your imagination, taking as long as you want, following the narrative wherever it seems to want to go.
  • Respond spontaneously in conversation with God, with Jesus or with one of the other persons in the story.

ending

When you are ready, mark the end of your time of prayer with some closing gesture or words of prayer.

Afterwards you might want to make a note of anything that seemed significant.

1 comment July 2nd, 2006

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina (Latin for godly reading) is a simple yet profound method of prayer found in many traditions of Christian spirituality, though perhaps most associated with Saint Benedict and the monastic tradition.

Sometimes it is called “meditative reading” or “spiritual reading”, but could perhaps better be described as praying with a listening heart, since most of the people who have used this approach to prayer throughout the ages could not read.

The “lectio” of lectio divina is a listening with the heart, as you tend to do quite naturally when you are struck by the beauty of a sunset, as you are mulling over a treasured memory, or as you pay attention to someone you love.

In praying this way you hear a scripture passage or other sacred text and you let your heart be your guide. You read slowly, with pauses, and relish or drink in the words you are hearing. A natural process takes place: heartfelt listening moves naturally into a deep reflection upon the words and the silences between them; and that deep reflection leads you to some kind of heartfelt response. You find yourself speaking from the heart to the God who has spoken to you. The ease and rhythm of this approach to prayer can carry you deeper into God.

Beginning

Choose your passage from scripture (or some other text with meaning for you… poetry is good) and become comfortable with it. Read it over a few times to get past any questions that arise about meaning. Invite God to speak to you through the text. Ask for openness. Let yourself settle into an expectant stillness.

This kind of prayer has three “phases” that you move between as you feel drawn: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation) and oratio (prayer).

Lectio

Read slowly and gently, listening with your heart to the words. There is no need to rush and no need to get to the end of the passage. When a particular word or phrase strikes you and seems to have some savour, linger with it …

Meditatio

… let it into you. Pause with it. Let the word or phrase resonate. Repeat it to yourself silently, relish it, let it echo and soak into you until the “flavour” begins to go, then …

Oratio

… let yourself respond in prayer, in words from the heart, or a space full of silence, or spontaneous, unspoken feeling. Whenever the moment feels ripe, begin to read again …

Ending

When you are ready, mark the end of your time of prayer with some closing gesture or words of prayer. Afterwards you might want to make a note of anything that seemed significant.

5 comments June 29th, 2006

“A Template for Daily Meditation”

Shawn Anthony, at Lo-Fi Tribe, has written a piece (which has now disappeared — January 2007) on how to structure a daily space for meditation–what he calls a template. It made me think about two of the templates I am familiar with and have found helpful along the way–the monastic practice of Lectio Divina and the Ignatian approach to prayer via the imagination. Energy and concentration permitting I’ll say a little about both in the coming days.

June 29th, 2006


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