Sunday, October 3, 2010

Learning the Language of Prayer

This week I have been reading a little Joyce Huggett. She is a Greek writer and commentator (who now lives in England) - she has written several books, "The Joy of Listening to God,"  "Listening to Others," and "Learning the Language of Prayer."

Since I am spending Sunday as my day of inspiration and meditation, I thought I would share with you some of the interesting things I have learned so far from this book.

One thing is - she defines meditation and how it will work for someone who is in need of "prayer time" - not just clearing the mind time.

This was great news for me! I tend to have a really hard time calming my brain down long enough to do a proper meditation. It is a rare day that I can completely focus. She says, "Meditation is another word people often use about prayer. But Christian mediation must not be confused with yoga, Eastern meditation or transcendental meditation. For unlike these disciplines, Christian meditation has nothing to with emptying our minds. Christian meditation engages every part of us - our mind, our emotions, our imagination, our creativity and, supremely, our will."

I like that. It engages all of the attributes and actions I hold near and dear to my heart: my mind, my emotions, my imagination, my creativity and... lord have mercy, and my will! It almost makes me want to run off and pray! But, let's be honest - it's not easy to do.

Archbishop Anthony Bloom once said, " Meditation is a piece of straight thinking under God's guidance." I like that also. Straight thinking.. with guidance from above. Pretty cool.

Even in the Bible (don't let me lose you here - I am going to get to my point, and it applies to everyone - regardless of beliefs!) - one of the Psalmist actually describes his practice of meditation:
On my bed I think of you,
I meditate on you all night long

Gosh, it sounds like a love affair. Wistful lovers... but in a way.. isn't that what devotion is?
It goes on to say:
I mean to meditate on your precepts
and to concentrate on your paths.

Though princes put me on trial,
your servant will meditate on your statues

I stretch out my hands to your beloved commandments,
I meditate on your statues.

Huggett says, "The word he used in these verses means to "muse," "to ponder," "to reflect," "to consider." In other words, the Christian meditation involves, not empties, but fullness."

I see that it means being attentive. To God.

Now it goes without saying, isn't this a bit like our blog posts, or any other journal writing? When we bare our souls, when we share what our needs, wants, fears are - it's a bit like "meditating" - we muse, we ponder, we reflect, we consider. With that being said, I almost see my posts as a bit of dialog with you and with.. well.. the universe (or God!)

Now for those of you on a more religious side, here is how you can apply. (And for those of you curious.. or not.. just hang in there!) - Using scripture can become a part of our make-up if we meditate on it. And the best way to prepare to meditate is to respond to the following:
(Psalms 46:10) - "Be still, and know that I am God." I have ALWAYS loved that.

When I am totally freaked - I try to remember that.

Without giving you an exhaustive review of all that I have learned, I highlighted some key items I found in her book. I thought I would share them with you. Also, I hope to take these ideas into my week. If you remember - each day for me is like a "theme" personally. I plan to write a second blog post today (a more personal one) and share the results of my "themed week." For now, I want to leave you with this (and some resources) :

- Christian mediation engages every part of us - our mind, our emotions, our imagination, our creativity and, supremely, our will.
- It means being attentive to God.
- Luke 4:5-8,  Jesus answered, "It is written: "Worship the Lord your God and serve him only."
- Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God."
- We should stop to reflect and to treasure the words of inspiration.
- "Meditation" and "contemplation" are often used interchangeably. This is understandable because certain similarities suggest that the two forms of prayer are synonymous. Like meditation, contemplation involved putting ourselves into the hands of God so that he can change and transform our attitudes, perceptions and behavior. Like meditation, contemplation involves listening intently to the Word of God. And like meditation, contemplation requires still in order that we may open ourselves to God and his penetrating, powerful Word.
- "Contemplation is nothing else but the perfection of love." by Thomas Merton.
- Thomas Merton: Contemplation is about growing in love. If we take the work of contemplation seriously, we cannot escape the theme of love - of God's inexhaustible love for us, for people everywhere, for the whole creation... Contemplation is to know and love God perfectly in the depths of your being."
- While the person meditating mutters and muses on God's word, the contemplative pays silent attention to Jesus, the living Word - the one who is central to their prayer.
- We can do this while we tidy our room or drive home from work because it is an attitude of mind and heart rather than an activity.
- It will be impossible to contemplate until pressures have been handed over to God.
- 1 Peter 5:7 - "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
- The prayer is usually wordless and fed by a deep desire.
- Psalm 34:8 - "Taste and see that the Lord is good."

Joyce Hugget - The Joy of Listening to God, Listening to God, and Learning the Language of Prayer (That's the one I was reading this week.)
Also - check out - Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray.

Look - you don't have to be religious, but try to sit and engage all of your senses and just be grateful.. and let what ever needs come into your mind - welcome the universe to come on in!

Good luck this week - I have a 'LOT' to contemplate. LOL

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