Using the Prayer Experience

What happens in a Contemplative at Home podcast?

Each episode offers about 20 minutes of guided prayer, basically following this outline:

  • Introduction to the passage that will be prayed with
  • Settling into a deep place of awareness
  • Listening to the passage, slowly and prayerfully, twice
  • A few questions for reflection

Each episode prays with a different passage of scripture, usually a short story from the gospels.

In Episode 1, recorded back in 2015, you can hear more about what the prayer is and how to use it.

How to get the most out of the prayer experience

Consider this a mini-retreat, a treat!, a gift to yourself: time in the Lord’s presence.

To have a deep and significant prayer experience, devote your whole self to the prayer. Put everything aside and sit in one comfortable, distraction-free place. Give this time to the Lord.

If you can light a candle, or set something special in front of you (perhaps a cross, a window, a flower or a rock) this may help to focus your thoughts on the Lord’s presence. DSCF6689

Using the prayer in a Small Group

If you choose to listen in a group (recommended!), I would suggest that at the end of the first reading, everyone silently makes note of the word or phrase that stood out for them. After the second reading, pause the recording and give each person a chance to say aloud the word or phrase which stood out for them (literally just say the word, nothing more). Then go back and listen to the reading for a third time. After the third reading, pause again, and have each person share with the group the personal significance of the word or phrase which stood out for them.

There should be no pressure to share, if someone isn’t prepared to for whatever reason.

While people are sharing about the personal significance, do avoid falling into chatting. Let each person share what they have to say, listen silently and attentively, then leave a pause of some moments of silence to hold up that person and the things that are happening for them. After everyone has had a chance to speak as they wish, either conclude by listening to the end of the podcast, or say a kind of closing word yourself. Then you can begin to chat and discuss the experience.

Dealing with distraction

It is normal for your mind to wander when you begin to pray in this way. When you find your thoughts have taken you away from the prayer, quite simply and gently, just turn your attention back to the Lord and the prayer. Getting annoyed about being distracted will only take you further away.

The invitation to prayer is an invitation to turn towards the Lord and to be in his presence. Turn and be. Practice that simple but profound movement each time you become distracted.

If there are practical things distracting you, jot them down so that you can return to them after your prayer time. If there is something significant on your mind, perhaps the Lord would like to speak into it as you pray. Imagine laying it down in His presence, and trusting Him with it. Then return to the prayer and listen for His voice.

 

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