Tag Archives: prayer exercise

Spiritual Challenge: Prayer of Release

Spiritual Challenge:

Find a stone, and hold it tightly.

See it, and feel it as the weight of your worries.

Say a prayer of release.

Then, drop it and walk away.

Your comments are welcome here. We hope you share them.

Spiritual Challenge: A prayer walk.

hiking

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

-Water

-Snack

-Notepad and pen

-Camera

(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.

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.

Guest Post-by Veron Graham “Writing: An Act of Prayer?”

writing prayers

I invited my friend Veron, the author of exploretruth.com, as a guest writer here. He’s not just a talented writer, he’s an insightful man who translates vital concepts we should take in and absorb. 

Enjoy this honest, and helpful contribution about what he has done when prayer has become difficult. This type of prayer exercise can be done when it’s hard to be verbal, or just to freshen up your time alone with God. Give it a try. I’ve enjoyed the practice too.

 

Writing: An Act of Prayer?

-Veron Graham

They swarm like drunken bees.  Disjointed and restless having lost their motivation and focus.  With thoughtful pause I point the pen,  the swarm now threatening to coalesce around a single thought, emotion, or heart felt longing; like the only drop of honey in a dry expanse of nothingness and silence. 

 Thoughts sometimes struggle to shine in our confused states of darkness.  Of doubt.  Like one candle in the dark, I’ve struggled to whisper into this darkness.  And if you’re anything like me you have as well. 

Some days go better for me than others, but mostly I’ve struggled to utter words to a God who at times I didn’t fully understand, and just reverted to mumbling variations of childhood prayers that allowed me the comfort of remaining on the surface, never plunging the depths of truth and genuine connection with God.

 True prayer has always been hard for me.  I’ve only now begun to see how revolutionary an act of faith really talking to God truly is.  To be quite honest, as of late, I haven’t really been praying.  Not in the traditional sense anyway.  I’ve been suffering some guilt about this, and the fact that Ive recently begun writing is the only balm that has sustained me, and given me a possibly different perspective on the subject of prayer.

 So what exactly is Prayer?

 Wikipedia defines prayer as:

 “The act of addressing a god or spirit for the purpose of worship or petition.[1] Specific forms of this may include praise, requesting guidance or assistance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or an expression of one’s thoughts and emotions. The words used in prayer may take the form of intercession, a hymn, incantation, words of gratitude, or a spontaneous utterance in the person’s praying words. Praying can be done in public, as a group, or in private”.

 It appears that there can be more than one way to express thoughts and emotions.  More than one means to reveal what burns in our hearts.  And thats comforting.  Like a million varying classifications of flowers raised heavenward to their life source, it seems to me, that we to can raise our voice, hands, or lives in whatever medium speaks, and opens our hearts to Divine wisdom.

So Why is Prayer so Hard for some?

In a world full of distractions and complexity, I’ve realized that focusing the mind and concretizing my thoughts can be difficult, far less for the thoughts I have towards God.  Make no mistake, I possess the yearning to connect to the divine, and desire to experience more of a real connection.  To wrestle with the unknowns in my life.  But sometimes the faith feat of articulating and communicating my thoughts to a less than tangible concept of God can seem abstract, prove difficult, and sometimes feel pointless.

 As of late, I have found that the act of writing my spiritual journey, to be a powerful act of reflection, contemplation, meditation, prayer, and maybe even praise.  Grappling with the bedrock of human existence, the why’s of life, the unresolved questions I have, doubts, and fears, all can be given proper voice, in the visible form of the written word.

Our prayers, becoming statements of faith, and even of doubt.  Lord, I believe, and please help my unbelief.  All nakedly and honestly expressed on paper, where we can both remember from where we’ve come, where we are, and petition to participate in where we understand God to be going.  It allows us to plot our stages of growth, bolstering and transforming theory into a real, tangible and experiential spiritual life. 

“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. – Psalms 116:1”

Find what works for you!

Writing has allowed me to penetrate the facade that much of life’s distractions can cultivate.  For you it may be another creative outlet.  I was talking to my mother, who happened to just start a womans small group at her home.  She was describing to me what she called a prayer basket.  She creatively collects all the things that she needs in order to pray or spiritually connect with God.  “I have my prayer journal in there, along with a pack of cookies”, she said, smiling.  I imagine each basket will be as unique as the thumbprints of the ladies in her group.  I think that if nature is any indication of Gods creativity, it leads me to appreciate the plethora of genuine expressions and communication styles from his children.

 

 Thank you, Veron. Many more great things by Veron are here.