|"The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen."|
Jan @ RevGalBlogPals provides our questions for this week's Friday Five:
"At the beginning of this past week, I attended a conference on contemplative prayer entitled 'Turning to the Mystics' at the 2013 Summer Institute at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX. The speakers were James Finley, author and former novice of Thomas Merton; Mirabai Starr, author, translator, and speaker; and Father Ronald Rolheiser, author and president of OST [the Oblate School of Theology]. We were encouraged to regularly sit in quiet to come to realize our union with the Divine, who continually loves us into being. So for this Friday Five, let us share about our prayer practices, whether silent or not."1. How do you pray?
Once upon a time, I prayed like a child: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep" or "God is great, God is good, and we thank him for this food." Now I am more likely to sit in mindfulness, trying to be aware of what's around me, sometimes thinking about a specific person or conundrum, sometimes not.2. How has your idea of prayer changed over time?
3. Do you ever sit in silent prayer? How does it go?
I first practiced long silences for group prayer in the 1980s when a couple of other pastors would meet weekly in my church office. I was surprised that a half hour or even an hour could pass in stillness and quiet without seeming long at all.4. Do you have any difficulties and/or pleasures in prayer?
I used to have a poster, back in the 1970s, that said someething like "your whole life can be a prayer, if only you make it so." Doesn't that sound cool?5. What is the best advice that helped you with prayer?
I have passed along what I learned about why we pray, so let me tell you a story. A former parishioner recently left a comment about prayer on one of my other blogs:Bonus: Share something about prayer or an example of a prayer you like.
"What I do not understand is those people who live their lives by God will end up praying for things that never happen."I responded: "I guess this isn't a problem for me because I don't see prayer as a transaction where, if I'm good enough, God will do whatever I request. (Also, we parents don't do everything our children want us to do, right?) I see prayer more as a meditation where I pay attention to what's going on around me, trying to discern the proper way for me to act, rather than telling God what to do for me."
I like the symbolism of this pillow, resting one's head on the prayer between "Dear God" and "Amen" while sleeping.