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. 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?
Hmmm….how as in what do I say or what I do? No matter – I shall make it my own! I pray in all different ways. Sometimes I beg, sometimes I listen, sometimes I joke, sometimes I’m angry. I figure just as long as I do it, I’m good.
2. How has your idea of prayer changed over time?
My idea of prayer has changed as my idea of God has changed. I’ve become much more focused on listening and less than talking. It’s become a true dialogue. Not a hearing voices dialogue, but a dialogue. I’ve also used yoga practice as a physical form of prayer and heard some great things from God during classes.
3. Do you ever sit in silent prayer? How does it go?
I have done and it varies. I try to keep pen and paper near so if I am distracted by thoughts I can write them down, thus releasing them from my brain and then I can sit some more. It’s spotty, though. Not a discipline I’ve developed. However, I’ve also seen the wandering mind as a kind of prayer and will often go with it and see where it leads.
4. Do you have any difficulties and/or pleasures in prayer?
I don’t currently, but I have had some difficulties. Especially when I’m mad about something. Otherwise, the whole pleasure/ecstasy thing has thus far escaped me. Not sure how that would go.
5. What is the best advice that helped you with prayer?
Apparently one of my friends said to another friend that she didn’t know the difference between praying and thinking. Or something like that. Either way, I think the best advice is that everything is or can be prayer.
Bonus: Share something about prayer or an example of a prayer you like.
Just yesterday, I read this:
God, of Your goodness give me Yourself, for you are enough for me. And only in You do I have everything. Amen.
– Julian of Norwich
And then I fantasized about decimating a chirping cricket with a shotgun, so I”m clearly a work in progress.