Tag Archives: meditation

Sharing Lectio Divina in Bristol

Lectio Divina Presentation Slide 11 (of 13)

It was very nice to meet Ed Cyzewski, in person, and the group in Bristol today, to share ancient Christian spiritual practice of Lectio Divina (“sacred reading”) with them. We shared the experience of prayer, scripture reading, and reflection.

It was a great joy.

Here is a slide, # 11. It’s the Scripture passage we…um….lectio-ed (Yes, it’s a new verb. Sarah Palin eat your heart out), plus the 4 movements of the exercise with bitty reminders of what each one is.

Do you have questions or comments about Lectio Divina?

When was the last time you practiced it, (or would you like to know more)?



What a FIND! Introducing painter Stephen Shelby Sawyer. (art4god.com)
Steve, doesn’t just do art FOR God, but ON God.
He probably means well, but
when I first saw this image called “No Appointment Necessary” I threw up a little in my mouth.
Shortly after pondering that, I laughed my butt off at the lunacy of it all. It’s probably that smoldering look in sexy Jesus’ eye that tickles me. This hunky American Jesus is totally peacockin’! If you’ve got it, flaunt it, right JC?
If you’re wondering where the Holy Spirit is, I proposed that he’s in Jesus’ hair.

BTW. Wicked hot triceps, Jesus. I mean, Steve. Yes, we noticed!
(Hey friends, if you think THIS Jesus is hot, wait until you see him in, the Sabbath, painting. He’s reclined and “resting”. Right. He looks like he’s waiting for, oh, well never mind.)
Steve has also painted Jesus as a super buff boxer at least four times. Round 15 is the sexiest I’ve seen of that series. (And his hair is crazy gorgeous, like Jesus uses Wen shampoo.)

One of the more awkward ones, is Fireman’s Prayer, Jesus is tucked in close behind a firefighter, and helping him, by holding his hose. And No, I did not make that up.
I thought I didn’t like Thomas Kinkade. But, Steve, you kick his buttocks.
If you don’t like this art, does it mean you don’t like Jesus?
Did anyone ever tell Steve that Jesus was not attractive?
Isaiah 53:2 (prophecy fulfilled)
He grew up like a small plant before the Lord,

like a root growing in a dry land.
He had no special beauty or form to make us notice him;
there was nothing in his appearance to make us desire him.

What if you got a tattoo of this picture of Jesus with a tattoo?
I will give you $100 if you do it.
It’ll be totally BEAST, dude.
Or, maybe the universe would explode. Not sure.
Give it a try: Give this image a caption.

otium sanctum means…

(photo: Thomas Merton)

A friend’s comment spoke volumes to me, so I wanted to devote a post on the idea.

“The key to spiritual growth is otium sanctum, so hard to trust in our world that values efficiency and quick results.” -Doug Jackson (Excerpt of his comment on the previous post.)

On page 85 in his book, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, Thomas Merton explains otium sanctum:

Now the Fathers of the Church well understood the importance of a certain “holy leisure”  [or] “otium sanctum.” We cannot give ourselves to spiritual things if we are always swept off our feet by a multitude of external activities. Business is not the supreme virtue, and sanctity is not measured by the amount of work we accomplish. Perfection is found in the purity of our love for God, and there is plenty of  time for it to mature.

Otium Sanctum is part of the not doing– It’s the “hard work” of that. The notion is paradoxical certainly, but bluntly revelatory.

How do you “not do” in your life, or for God which brings you to greater maturity?

Do you think God does or does not function with otium sanctum?

If so, how?

Thanks for your participation on this one.

Broken Pots Shine Beautiful Light

We not made out of such strong stuff, are we? Dust to dust.

Though at times we feel confident or even invincible, reminders of imperfection, mortality, weakness, and helplessness spring up everywhere.

Suppose you placed a lit candle in a jar–a solid jar, what would happen? A bit of light would come out through the top, yes?

Now suppose that jar was punctured, shattered and pieced back together, or cracked in places. Some could think the piece was ruined. Others would admire it even more, once a lit candle was placed inside, because the spaces would fill with beautiful light. The weaknesses of the jar would shine as the most beautiful parts, making a unique and dazzling spectacle of shapes and illumination for others to see. The specialness would be the combination of once-perceived flaws co-mingled with the luminosity and brilliance of something added to it, working through it for something altogether appreciable and precious.

Be encouraged, you broken pots out there! Never over-worry that you have made mistakes, or that you have flaws, weaknesses, gaps, and broken spots. We all do. The grace and radiance of Christ will shine that much more through you because of them, if you allow it, and let the Light work in you. Each space that you give over to the Light will be made beautiful. Christ, and his love and grace is the light that gives new hope, and a new purpose for the scars we carry, and broken parts we’ve sustained.

Light from within a beautiful fixed jar

Verses to ponder:

2 Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show us that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Each time [God] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What broken space has the light shined through in your life?

Will you let all your broken places be a light for others?

What area might this be in, and how will you move forward in this process?

(all comments, thoughts, ideas welcome)

Spiritual Challenge: A prayer walk.


Flickr photo from this source.

I’m curious to know if you’ve ever been on a prayer walk? Would you please tell me in the comment section/link below?

The weather (in North America) is changing to mild temperatures, and the beauty of Spring is here.

I’d like to inspire you to carve out 20-45 minutes, (or more, if possible) within the next few days from the time you read this, to absorb the beauty of creation, and the God of it.

This beautiful picture gave me the kick to write this post. Let’s both do it. Go to your calendar now, check for a spot, and mark it down. Morning time, evening, weekend, whatever. You truly have 20 minutes, I know it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. We both know-once you mark it down-it’s quite likely to happen.

With this time, you can allow yourself the experience of a guided prayer walk, using some, or all of the guidelines I’ll lay out below. It will help create a place in your heart to experience the presence of God within and around you. It’s really the perfect Rx for the spring season.

Some suggestions for your walk time:

Items to bring along-

– Comfortable, durable, Shoes

-(if needed) Sunscreen/basic first aid kit



-Notepad and pen


(Some of you may want to bring a Bible. If you feel this is important, I am suggesting that you read Scripture before you go on this walk, and if you’d like, bring along a passage, or verse that is on your heart.)

First, allow yourself to acclimate to your environment. Notice your surroundings. Walk deliberately, and also wait, sit or rest, once in a while, and take in your surroundings. Put hurrying aside.

Second, as issues, or chatter run through your mind, push them gently aside, or if they are quite intrusive, jot them down, and give yourself permission to think of them, at another time. (You may may find it helpful to briefly lift those things to God in prayer, and purposefully “hand them over,” before you continue your walk.)

Third, continue until you feel like you’d like to find a comfortable place to sit, or rest, for a little while. The jot down something about your surroundings, and associations that may come to mind about God, and God’s character. Note your response to God, or his creation. Or, record other thoughts you feel are meaningful, or maybe things you would like to explore further, at some point.

Fourth, enter into a time of prayer. It can be any length of time. This is a time of conversation, and also worship. Worship involves  adoration of God. Speak, but also listen.

Fifth, be where you are.

Sixth, Continue your journey until you are ready for it’s conclusion. During this time, you may want to spend more time in prayer, engage in vigorous exercise (walk at a rapid pace, for instance), gaze appreciatively at nature, or sit in quiet, or a bit of each. It’s a free-play, or freeform period of the hike/walk, where you can have all the freedom to enjoy it in the way which makes the most sense for where you are right now in your life. Sense God’s love for you, and his delight in you. If you cannot, ask him for the grace to do so. Forgive others, and forgive yourself.

Seventh, when done, offer a brief prayer of thanksgiving, and accept God’s grace. Receive from God. After a few minutes, write down noteworthy thoughts, experiences, ideas, sensations, or insights that happened along the way, or during your prayers.

Eighth, Later, share some, or all, of your notes with at least one other person.

You may want to walk with another friend, a spouse, or in a small group etc.

How rewarding this is!

For this, I suggest that a period of prayerful silence be observed during the whole time,

and conversations between people be postponed until after the walk is through.

Group discussion after the walk may prove very fruitful.

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear how this goes.

Will you please share your experience here?

(Photos you’ve taken can be sent to ovationeneterprises (at) verizon (dot) net)

May God be with you.

Richer Prayer Life in 7 days? (not an ad for SHAMWOW)

Sounds like an info-mmmmercial….

There I said it. It’s out there.

No. It’s not. Nothing to buy here. Slowly unclench your “click away finger.” Breathe deeply.

You are among friends, and not the ones you will find at a used car lot. (Don’t they always seem to act like that?)


I’ve asked some friends to join me in this, but now I pose the invitation to all of you… out “there”… on the interwebs…

Here’s what it’s all about:

I’d like to join with you, and as many of you (pl) as possible, over the next week, to do the prayer exercise from the previous post. The challenge is to encounter this prayer form/exercise/format (what-have-you) I created just 3, or more times, in one week’s time. I hope you really enjoy it. I also hope you can help me, by leaving us your feedback here, (with your comments, thoughts, and insights- both positive, and/or negative).

Just 7 bitty days. Pray 3 times in 7 days. As you give it a try, you can expect it to be about 7 min long. Perhaps, this will increase the more you experience it.

You could probably do that in your sleep, right? But, then, obviously, it would be harder to remember what happened that way, huh? I should have said, “You could do that standing on your head.” I thought about it, and then thought better, because that actually sounded too challenging and so-very ascetic. So, I didn’t want to go there. Whew. I think I really dodged a bullet. hmm.

The next 7 days could be the breakthrough you’ve been hoping for. Let’s find out.

So, won’t you please join me?Read it here.
Bring a friend along, too.

Thank you so much!

I look forward to reading your insights and comments.

Meditation to Contemplation – Kataphatic to Apophatic Prayer

Prayer Exercise

(a.k.a The 3 x in 7 days invitational)

First, a bit about Meditation-

Meditation: In prayer-

The half-way house between thinking and contemplating.

(Worship) Meditation is Recollection (a re-gathering):

No more and no less than the subjection of the attention to the control of the will. –Evelyn Underhill

Read her book “Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People” –free here:

Book Cover: "Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People," 1914

From Meditation one may move to a stage of Contemplation.

The two contemplative purifications at work:

The purification of sense, and the purification of will.

For millennia, fire has symbolized the Spirit of God.

If your prayer time has lost some of its richness, please enjoy this prayer exercise:

Meditation Prayer Exercise (7-20 min)

(Please note: It may take several, or many times of disciplined meditation, (as a spiritual practice), to move into a more contemplative prayer experience or mindset. I challenge you to have the courage to keep at it.)

1. Read through this exercise the whole way. (You will likely need to refer back to it during your meditation time, as well.)

2. Light a candle to represent the Spirit of  God.

2. Slowly Read and Reflect on a portion of Scripture, or the following poem:

All our knowledge, sense, and sight,
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded.
Til Thy Spirit brake our night,
With the beams of truth unclouded.

Beginning this time of prayer and worship:

First, surrender to the influence of the Object of your meditation, [in this case, through the vehicle/aid of the poem words, visual aid (candle), plus symbolism (flame = Spirit)]. Surrender to The Divine exhibition of unexpected meaning, beauty, and power. Pray on these things.

Focal Point:

Not if, but when, your thoughts wander, or your attention wanes, bring your internal, (and external) gaze back to the flame of the candle before you. The chatter of your mind will be ceaseless at first. Refocus. Recall what the flame symbolizes, and the goodness of God, (Trinity-Creator, Savior, Spirit). Center, again, your awareness on the Object of your worship (God), in thanksgiving and grace.

As you continue to meditate: See your self distinctly from the Other, and, in time, transition to observing your connectedness; Move from a “multiplicity to a unity”.

Once you have been vested in the experience of meditation for a time:

You may notice how your efforts of trying to focus and worship God, may adjust to a resting or receiving from God, in silence of the mind, and spirit. In this case, there is no effort on your part, but a loving dispensing, from God, into your heart and mind.

Enter and enjoy this time as though receiving an inpouring of God’s love, healing, and grace.

This contemplative stage of prayer cannot be forced, and for some, it is a difficult experience to come by. If you never approach this stage during your exercise, the discipline of prayer and meditation, done routinely, can aid in the apprehension of this mysterious reversal called contemplation. This is the stage where praying/thinking, moves to determined focus, which may transform into surrendered contemplation–which is a nourishing and awing spiritual communion with God.

Thank you for reading.

Please share your thoughts.

(If you tried this exercise, now or in the future, please mention that here, as well.)

Thank you.