A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
December 14, 2019
An Invitation to Pray this Lent
February 26, 2015
This verse from Psalms is perhaps the greatest invitation we could ever receive as it has the capacity to make known the beauty of God’s presence within us. God is indeed present; by our baptism the Holy Spirit resides within each person. How often do you take time to go deep enough to experience the inner presence of God? Prayer can do that for you; in particular, Centering Prayer or Contemplation.
Have you often thought you would like to spend more time in prayer, but for the busyness of life you lack time and energy to do so? I think that happens to many and we need not be too harsh on ourselves. As we were made in the image of God, we long to be with Him and prayer can be the vehicle to that union.
These 40 days of Lent may provide a time to examine our prayer life; Is it disciplined or random? Do you pray prayers of petition only or do you balance your prayer life with abundant gratitude for how God has blessed you? Are you able to quiet your mind so as to enter deeply into prayer? Or do you pray “on the run” as you move through life? Do you pray
only at Mass? Have you ever been completely silent in your prayer? Our relationship with God is both communal (shared with others) and personal. Just as it is important to be at Mass, it is important to nurture a personal relationship with God achieved by quieting ourselves to feel his presence.
The practice of Centering and/or Contemplative prayer can assist in our drawing closer to God. This is something you do alone; something you will have to take deliberate time for. Here are a few steps to assist you:
1. Choose a place to sit where you will be comfortable and uninterrupted for 20-30 minutes.
This may need to be early morning or late evening if you live in a full and busy household.
2. Choose a short “sacred” word or phrase that has meaning for you; i.e. love, peace, Lord
Jesus, joy, come Jesus come. This sort of sacred word or short phrase will become your
“mantra” and will assist you in quieting your mind.
3. With your eyes closed, sit comfortably, feet on the floor, hands resting in your lap, palms up or down as you prefer with your back straight. Breath calmly and regularly, slowly inhaling
and exhaling for two minutes. Being aware of your breathing will assist you in becoming
aware of God’s presence, already within you.
4. Very softly, repeat your mantra, breathing the word as you inhale and exhale. You may find yourself sitting in complete silence.
5. When a thought, image or emotion comes to your mind – set it aside – even if it is of God. Simply be and let your heart and your mind rest. Continue to breathe regularly and return to the mantra to quiet your mind when needed. “Our hearts are made for you O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.” St. Augustine
6. Surrender your whole being to God and simply rest with Him. No asking, no thanking, no conversation, just rest. Feel God’s love!
7. After 20 minutes, complete your prayer time with an Our Father or other prayer of your choice. Your prayer may be one of thanksgiving to God for making known his presence.
The importance of a mantra is not how many times you say it, it is in what it can do to release you of all the thoughts, emotions and images that fill your mind. The object of Centering or Contemplative prayer is to deepen your contact with God who is present in you and to provide you time alone without distraction. In this we come to truly understand God’s
It is important to be patient with yourself. This form of prayer will take repeated attempts. Ideally, there will come a time when after 20 minutes you will “awaken” and wonder just where you had been. You will feel in a new way God’s love for you.