Contemplative Prayer

Be still, and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

Thomas Merton tells us that silence illuminates us in God and unites us to God. In a quiet atmosphere, participants, alone or in a group, seek silence within as they try to surrender themselves to the ever-present flow of God's love. This form of surrendering in silence to the Divine opens us up to the power of divine healing.

Contemplative prayer is a powerful experience. Although reaching a state of complete stillness, of contemplatio, is well beyond most of us -- our busy minds prefer to mull over problems, make lists, or jump from this thought to that -- the communal experience of being together in silence is nevertheless energizing and grounding.

The experience of contemplative prayer extends beyond the weekly prayer time. We can learn to return to the strength of that moment throughout our day, gaining composure and peace and thereby responding more lovingly to a demanding and sometimes not-so-gentle world.

Contemplative prayer does not need any special preparation. We can participate in it whenever we wish to. The prayer time consists of

a short prayer of intention to open oneself to God's love

preparation for contemplative prayer through, for example, a couple of minutes of centring music

20 minutes of silence

a gentle coming out of the silence through more music † or some other means

a final blessing

† Meditation tapes are available for this purpose, or you can make your own. Record a meditative piece of music of about one and a half to two and a half minutes long, and then leave a 20-minute period of silence before recording the piece of music again. When the music begins the second time, it indicates that the prayer time is coming to an end. If music is not available, the facilitator can ring a bell or use some other means to mark the beginning and end of the session.

 

Taken from the United Church of Canada website.