CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER PRACTICES

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LECTIO DIVINA
THE ART OF SLOW SPIRITUAL READING

The Steps of Lectio Divina 


• Choose a text of the Scriptures, spiritual reading, or quote that you wish to pray or meditate with. 


•Place yourself in a quiet environment. Calm your anxieties and thoughts, and acknowledge the presence of God, presence of the divine, or a higher power. 


•Offer a prayer for guidance, for yourself from God, the divine or higher power


Lectio: Read the text slowly and prayerfully, constantly listening for that word that God, the divine or higher power has prepared for you. You may want to re-read the same text multiple times to help quiet yourself interiorly and focus on the voice. Listen and receive the Word that God, the divine, the higher power speaks to you.

Meditatio: When a word or phrase strikes you, stop and rest with it. Repeat the word or phrase to yourself. Allow it to speak to you in a personal way by pondering the word in your heart, reflecting on what it means to you. Memorize it and repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your thoughts, hopes, memories, and desires. 

Oratio: Prayer is your response to God’s, the divine’s, the higher power’s word. It begins your dialogue with God, the divine, the higher power that comes from your heart. Formulate a prayer, as a response to God, the divine, the higher power. What do you want to say to the God, the divine, the higher power in response to the Word spoken to you? Enter into this loving conversation with God, the divine, the higher power. 

Contemplatio: Rest in God’s, the divine’s, the higher power’s presence and receive their transforming embrace. Sit still with God, the divine or higher power, realizing that in this deep and profound relationship, words are not necessary. Be content and at peace with a wordless, quiet rest in God, the divine or higher power, which brings joy to the heart. Remember that contemplation is not your action or doing, rather it is allowing God, the divine or higher power to act in you.

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BREATH PRAYERS
INTEGRATING THE CONTEMPLATIVE INTO THE MOMENT

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CENTERING PRAYER

Centering Prayer is a receptive method of Christian silent prayer which deepens our relationship with God, the Indwelling Presence …  a prayer in which we can experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself



  1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within


  1. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within


  1. When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.


  1. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes


Practice Centering Prayer for a minimum of 20 minutes, twice each day, with the intention of deepening your relationship with God.

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FINGER LABYRINTH PRAYER

    In 325 A.D. Christians placed a labyrinth on the floor of their church. Although Christians must have been using the labyrinth earlier, this is the first historical record we have of the Christian use of the labyrinth. Since that time labyrinths have been prayed, studied, danced, traced and drawn as Christians sought to use this spiritual tool to draw closer to God.

    Using a labyrinth involves moving one's body and opening one's heart to Jesus. All you have to do is follow the path and you will find the center. Unlike a maze the labyrinth has no tricks. A "typical" labyrinth experience involves preparing oneself at the threshold, following the single path to the center, spending time in the center, following the same pathway out the threshold, and then responding to the experience.

    A simple way to use a prayer labyrinth is to speak to God or the divine on your way into the center and when you enter the center pause for a few deep breaths and as you walk out listen to God or the divine, or just focus on being aware of God or the divine presence.

Here is a link for a PDF of different types of finger labyrinths:

https://aln.org.au/resources/Documents/WLD%20in%20Schools%20documents/template-finger-labyrinth.pdf