Tag Archives: contemplative prayer

Listening Prayerfully—a Lifelong Journey…

     Many years ago, when I was still mired in the grind of full-time employment, a childhood dream of authoring a book began to niggle at the periphery of my imagination.

     I attended some writer’s workshops. Instructors always advised ‘wannabe’ authors to write their manuscript before giving it a title.

     I rarely heed that advice.

     From that season of imagining, I knew the title of a book—if I ever wrote one—would be Listening on the Journey… (I hadn’t heard of blogging in those days.) Always, an ellipsis at the end signified the enduring nature of lifelong listening.

     If you’ve read my blog posts for any length of time, you’ll recognize the recurrent theme of “listening…”

     My recent educational pilgrimage to Spain included several days learning about and practicing contemplative prayer. Sometimes referred to as “listening” prayer,” the practice of contemplative prayer focuses more on “being” with God than “talking to” or “doing for” God.

     The group of “pilgrims” I traveled and learned with in Spain met each evening for a time of devotion, communion and sharing. Debbie, our group leader, invited me to present a devotional talk during one session, and the title, not surprisingly, included a “listening” theme.

     My next few blog posts will include the contents of my pilgrimage devotional talk, plus some additional insights learned during this amazing experience.

Part 1 – We all start somewhere!

     Although prayer has been part of my life since I was a little girl, I became intentional in my prayer journey about 15 years ago when a guy in our life group—a fellow who was militant about goal setting—insisted we MUST set a spiritual goal for the approaching new year.

     Even though I was accustomed to setting goals, and, by the way, equally accustomed to not achieving most, I had never considered a spiritual goal.

     It seemed…well, to be truthful, simply unspiritual.

     This man’s suggestion, though, kept nagging at me, and finally I wrote down one spiritual goal for the upcoming year: I want to learn to be a better pray-er.

     The result of that single, one-sentence goal changed the trajectory of my prayer journey. Even though I’d never heard of nor considered a contemplative lifestyle, in retrospect, I realize I’d embarked on one. Every morning that year—and for nearly two additional years, I awakened to a blaring alarm clock at 4:30 a.m., drug my weary bones out of bed and shuffled on slipper-clad feet to the little granite topped desk my husband had built me.

     For 60 to 90 minutes morning after morning, I sipped coffee and drank in the truth of Scripture. I learned writing prayers in my journal was the way I communicated most effectively with my Heavenly Father. Initially, I felt guilty praying this way. Surely, writing out quiet prayers wasn’t the way “anointed” prayer had been modeled for me in my faith tradition!

     Gradually, however, the guilt lessened, and I adopted an attitude of, “Well, if it was good enough for David, who was not only deeply flawed, but a man after God’s own heart… and, good enough for Paul, who boasted in his weakness… then I guess it might be okay for ‘Grandma Susie,’ who is certainly flawed deeply and filled with a ton of weaknesses.”

     Those first few years were exhilarating. I read every book on prayer I could find. I attended prayer seminars. In fact, I organized a one-day women’s seminar at my home church entitled, “Your Answer Starts with Prayer.” Over 100 women attended, and many told me it was life changing. I was learning that prayer isn’t a boring discipline. In fact,

A JOURNEY OF LISTENING PRAYER IS AN ADVENTURE—AN ADVENTURE INTO THE UNKNOWN!

     Then, one morning, I was reminded of an uncomfortable truth. As I drove to work, I read the recently-changed reader board at Davis Donuts. The local corner business is a hometown gathering place for neighbors who enjoy the camaraderie of swigging morning coffee and munching donuts together. The sign declared:

     “A Journey without obstacles will never be an adventure.”

     My next post will unpack potential obstacles we may encounter when embarking seriously on a prayer journey.

What about you?

  • What types of life situations or challenges have motivated you to examine your prayer journey?
  • What “wins” have you enjoyed?
  • What obstacles have you encountered?
  • What prayer practices have you found most helpful?

I would love to receive your feedback!

Until next time…

Sue Reeve

On our journey of prayer, we must all start somewhere. Certainly, this beautiful basilica I visited in Spain, creates an environment inspiring prayer. Serene cathedrals created by nature, such as this one on a North Idaho lake, also encourages one to communicate with the Almighty.

 

Listening Prayerfully—a Lifelong Journey…

Many years ago, when I was still mired in the grind of full-time employment, a childhood dream of authoring a book began to niggle at the periphery of my imagination.

I attended some writer’s workshops. Instructors always advised ‘wannabe’ authors to write their manuscript before giving it a title.

I rarely heed that advice.

From that season of imagining, I knew the title of a book—if I ever wrote one—would be Listening on the Journey… (I hadn’t heard of blogging in those days.) Always, an ellipsis at the end signified the enduring nature of lifelong listening.

If you’ve read my blog posts for any length of time, you’ll recognize the recurrent theme of “listening…”

My recent educational pilgrimage to Spain included several days learning about and practicing contemplative prayer. Sometimes referred to as “listening” prayer,” the practice of contemplative prayer focuses more on “being” with God than “talking to” or “doing for” God.

The group of “pilgrims” I traveled and learned with in Spain met each evening for a time of devotion, communion and sharing. Debbie, our group leader, invited me to present a devotional talk during one session, and the title, not surprisingly, included a “listening” theme.

My next few blog posts will include the contents of my pilgrimage devotional talk, plus some additional insights learned during this amazing experience.

Part 1 – We all start somewhere!

Although prayer has been part of my life since I was a little girl, I became intentional in my prayer journey about 15 years ago when a guy in our life group—a fellow who was militant about goal setting—insisted we MUST set a spiritual goal for the approaching new year.

Even though I was accustomed to setting goals, and, by the way, equally accustomed to not achieving most, I had never considered a spiritual goal.

It seemed…well, to be truthful, simply unspiritual.

This man’s suggestion, though, kept nagging at me, and finally I wrote down one spiritual goal for the upcoming year: I want to learn to be a better pray-er.

The result of that single, one-sentence goal changed the trajectory of my prayer journey. Even though I’d never heard of nor considered a contemplative lifestyle, in retrospect, I realize I’d embarked on one. Every morning that year—and for nearly two additional years, I awakened to a blaring alarm clock at 4:30 a.m., drug my weary bones out of bed and shuffled on slipper-clad feet to the little granite topped desk my husband had built me.

For 60 to 90 minutes morning after morning, I sipped coffee and drank in the truth of Scripture. I learned writing prayers in my journal was the way I communicated most effectively with my Heavenly Father. Initially, I felt guilty praying this way. Surely, writing out quiet prayers wasn’t the way “anointed” prayer had been modeled for me in my faith tradition!

Gradually, however, the guilt lessened, and I adopted an attitude of, “Well, if it was good enough for David, who was not only deeply flawed, but a man after God’s own heart… and, good enough for Paul, who boasted in his weakness… then I guess it might be okay for ‘Grandma Susie,’ who is certainly flawed deeply and filled with a ton of weaknesses.”

Those first few years were exhilarating. I read every book on prayer I could find. I attended prayer seminars. In fact, I organized a one-day women’s seminar at my home church entitled, “Your Answer Starts with Prayer.” Over 100 women attended, and many told me it was life changing. I was learning that prayer isn’t a boring discipline. In fact,

A JOURNEY OF LISTENING PRAYER IS AN ADVENTURE—AN ADVENTURE INTO THE UNKNOWN!

Then, one morning, I was reminded of an uncomfortable truth. As I drove to work, I read the recently-changed reader board at Davis Donuts. The local corner business is a hometown gathering place for neighbors who enjoy the camaraderie of swigging morning coffee and munching donuts together. The sign declared:

“A Journey without obstacles will never be an adventure.”

My next post will unpack potential obstacles we may encounter when embarking seriously on a prayer journey.

What about you?

  • What types of life situations or challenges have motivated you to examine your prayer journey?
  • What “wins” have you enjoyed?
  • What obstacles have you encountered?
  • What prayer practices have you found most helpful?

I would love to receive your feedback!

Until next time…

Sue Reeve

On our journey of prayer, we must all start somewhere. Certainly, this beautiful basilica I visited in Spain, creates an environment inspiring prayer. Serene cathedrals created by nature, such as this one on a North Idaho lake, also encourages one to communicate with the Almighty.