Building a Personal Prayer 7: The End Is the Beginning

(I apologize for the delay in finishing this series; I’ve been battling a sinus infection.)

Amazing God, Everlasting Mother/Father,

Patient,
persistent,
pursuing Lover.

You are an awesome God,
an all-encompassing,
all-invading,
all-embracing Presence,
And you are here, with me and in me, now.

It is in you that I live and move and have my being
and apart from you I have no life at all.

I make my home in you, where I find sanctuary.
Make your home in me that I may bear fruit to your glory,
for apart from you I can do nothing.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
Forgive my sins. [insert specific confessions]

I delight in you O Lord; give me the desires of my heart:
To see you more clearly,
Love you more dearly,
Follow you more nearly,
Day by day.

Coming to the end of this series, I realized that my personal prayer does not have an ending! That is because it has been my practice for my personal prayer to lead into contemplative silence. When I first did this, a number of years ago, I first did Bible study or some kind of spiritual reading, then prayed whatever parts of my prayer had been put together, and then tried centering prayer for 20 minutes.

That experience, along with teaching it to others, had a few problems and I may blog about them later. One of the problems was that I did not know when the time for silence was up. I tried a variety of techniques, none of which was very successful.

Last year, I participated in the Winter Feast for the Soul, following the leading of Carl McColman  for 40 days. Each day consisted of a brief meditation – about 8 or 9 minutes – followed by 30 minutes of silence marked by a chime every 10 minutes.  I found it so valuable that when the 40 days were up, I repeated them, using the same 40 meditations.

I participated again this year, following the new 2014 Meditations in Contemplative Christian Prayer by Carl McColman. That series has ended now and I am still trying to find a way to continue the practice without being dependent on Carl.

These are the things I am currently using to enable me to still myself in the presence of God.

  1. I have found a free online meditation timer. This enables me to be silent, knowing that I have a set number of minutes stretching out before me, in which to enjoy sinking into the presence of God without worrying that I will be late for an appointment.
  2. I follow my breath with short prayers, mostly drawn from my personal prayer; inhaling the first half /exhaling the second half:
  • My Lord and My God! (Thomas’ confession in John 20:28)
  • I love you O Lord/ my strength (Psalm 18:1)
  • I delight in you, O Lord./Give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4)
  • It is in you that I live and move and have my being/and apart from you I have no life at all. (Acts 17:28)
  • I make my home in you where I find refuge. (John 15:4, Psalm 46:1)
  • Make your home in me that I may bear fruit to your glory/for apart from you I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
  • You are here/with me and in me now.
  • My times are in your hand. (Psalm 31:15)

There are many more that you can find in the Bible or other sources.

I hope you have used some of the suggestions in this series to begin to put together your own very personal prayer. And I also hope that doing that will lead you into times of contemplative prayer.

Please leave comments or questions — I’d love to hear from you!

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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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One Response to Building a Personal Prayer 7: The End Is the Beginning

  1. Pingback: Blessings and Problems in Contemplative Prayer | FIRE in my Heart

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