Contemplation

We pray to deepen our relationship with God. As we spend time with Him we learn to sit quietly and listen so that we can better hear the voice of God. During prayer we spend time speaking to God and we also spend time listening. This helps us know when it is time to take action and if so, what actions are right to serve God.

There are several forms of contemplative prayer:

  • Biblical Meditation
  • Lectio Divina
  • Centering Prayer
  • Taize
  • Ignatian Contemplation

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a process used to pray with the scriptures. It may be prayed individually or with a group.  In simplified terms, it consists of reading, reflecting or meditating on, speaking to God in response to the text, and taking action in a way that is inspired by the prayer time. Often people will choose one of the reading of the day to pray with in this manner. 

Centering Prayer

The goal of centering prayer is to quiet yourself from thoughts, desires, and imaginings. It is a form of prayer where you rest in God. It emphasizes that prayer is a a time for personal relationship with God and that relationship can be fostered by regularly spending time with Him. To aid in focusing on God, sometimes we use a 'sacred word' such as God, Father, Abba, Love, Lord, etc. for focus. While centering prayer isn't directly focused on a biblical passage, it can be considered biblical in that it is focused on God and our words, images, and conceptions of God are derived from the Bible.

To read more about centering prayer consider works by Thomas Keating and Thomas Merton.

Taize

“Right at the depth of the human condition, lies the longing for a presence, the silent desire for a communion.

Let us never forget that this simple desire for God is already the beginning of faith.”   – Brother Roger of Taizé

Taize is a form of prayer that uses song, psalm and/or scripture reading, silence and meditation, and intercessions praying for the needs of the world. It is meant to foster reconciliation and peace among all peoples. It is intercultural and ecumenical, prayed by Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic. It can be prayed individually or in a group. This way of prayer is particularly practiced by youth all over the world.

Ignatian Contemplation

St. Ignatius of Loyola was a soldier in Spain who after being injured and confined to bed rest began to notice 'movements of the heart' toward or away from God depending on where his thoughts rested. As a result of his profound prayer experience, he developed 'spiritual exercises' to help others discern the presence of God in their lives,' as he experienced.

The exercises have been adapted for a 'Retreat in Daily Life' where individuals pray with scripture, entering into the presence of God in an imaginative way over a period of seven to nine months. Click here to learn more about Retreat in Daily Life.

Fundamentals of Ignatian Spirituality:

  • Being deeply convinced of the dignity of each human person (we are created and loved by God).
  • Desire to encounter God intimately in the ordinary events of daily life (“Finding God in all things”).
  • “Discerning” God’s will for our lives, in matters great or small (“Contemplatives in action”).
  • Desire to know, love, and follow Christ, and to serve God’s people (“Men and women for others”).
  • Serving Jesus wholeheartedly, where the need is greatest (“For the greater glory of God”).

Resource - Adapted from the text provided at http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Prayer-Methods.htm