Tag Archives: yielding

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.

(reader response) Doing what you don’t want to do

WomenPrayingCouch

 

Here is a response from Veronica:

I’m glad to come to your site, and start thinking more seriously about my own spiritual growth. I want to keep it in the front of my mind. Well, I guess you could say, I want to “make the main thing the Main Thing.” Wasn’t that a catch phrase once?  I get together with a friend to pray, and keep accountable spiritually. Last week we started talking about having trouble with doing the things we are trying so hard not to do. Really, it’s like how Paul says it in Romans-

Romans 7:19 “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”

For me, it’s pride. As I start to work on it, I basically get puffed up as I feel I have a handle on it. I catch myself in false modesty with others too. So, really it’s a step backwards. I’m doing what I don’t want to do.

For my friend, she says she struggles with keeping on a good face for show, or pretense. She feels like a fake. She says the more she tries to not put up a front, the more she feels that is exactly what is happening. She is even more conscious of herself, and in the end is more phony. Maybe it has to do with self absorption. Do other people feel this way? Do you have any suggestions? 

Thanks for allowing me to post this Veronica. I can’t say with 100% certainty, but I think what you reveal is quite a common situation. And perhaps you’re right. We might be worse off as we focus on our problem (as you say, self-absorption) rather than pour our adoration into God, follow him, and really turn to him and trust him to make us more like him. Doing what we don’t want to do proves our desperate need for total dependency on God. The more we struggle to do better, the more we’ll find we come up short. I believe relinquishing our control of our own sanctification process (the development of our godly character) is something that is necessary to have freedom, enjoy God’s love, and progress toward the likeness of our Redeemer. It isn’t something we can ever manage, or do well our selves. For me, it is a continual surrendering/yielding process where I humble my will, and heart to God, and give God the timetable for my character restoration, as I recommit to participate fully in his process. (It has to be continual, because I don’t do well for very long!)

Anybody else have suggestions for Veronica?