Is Contemplative Prayer for You?

No matter what your denomination, particular sector within the Christian belief system, or specific philosophical beliefs might be, there is a common question that has existed among believers since the dawn of the modern church. Questions about how to pray, when to pray, what prayer means, and how prayers are answered have been on the Christian mind for thousands of years. As we continue to ponder and consider these questions related to prayer, some may take an interest in exploring new “techniques” or ideas on how to pray in a manner which is most effective in their own perceptions.

To that end, some among a particular sector of Christianity may choose to explore a concept known as contemplative prayer. This is an idea that may be met with some scrutinization or even an amount of disdain among more fundamental Christian groups but the most important thing to consider is that faith should never be about the judgment or condemnation of another person’s particular beliefs so it would be best to simply avoid discussing the topic of Contemplative Prayer with those that have made the conscious decision to resist the concept.

For those that are interested in exactly what this concept is, it appears to be a somewhat simple two step process, at least in theory. A person choosing to engage in this type of prayer will begin with what is sometimes referred to as a “centering prayer”, which is essentially a meditation in which the individual focuses on a single word, repeating it over and over for the duration of the prayer. This is intended to clear the mind of outside worries, concerns, and stimulus so that the individual is more easily able to hear the voice of the Lord.

Once the centering prayer has been completed, however long that may take, the next step in the process is to sit as still and quietly as possible and await direct guidance from the Lord, as well as feel his presence. This may happen immediately, or it has also been known to take quite some time. Part of the point behind the concept here is to exercise patience and “wait on the Lord.”

Again, this may not be a concept that is readily embraced by everyone of faith. If this is something you are considering however, be sure to weigh the scriptures and your own beliefs to determine if it may be a good fit.