As many of you know, I am back in grad school this semester at the Denver Seminary as part of my sabbatical.
And, as part of a research project for my Spiritual Disciplines course, I am planning a 6 week Contemplative Prayer/Meditation group in order to share and experience two contemplative practices that have been particularly powerful for me over the last 6 months: Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina.
Contemplative Prayer practices are ancient practices in the Christian tradition with strong emphasis on interior silence, in order deepen spiritual growth, spiritual formation and the experiential with the divine.
If you’re interested in upping your “spiritual game,” adding a spiritual practice for Lent, and/or cultivating interior stillness and silence in your life, I invite you to try it out!
Carve out this mid-week break for an opportunity to get still and quiet. This first 6 week session will be donation-based. These practices are Christian-based, but this is open to all.
- Wednesday afternoons 2:15-3 pm.
- March 6th-through April 17th (no meeting 3/27, spring break)
- Katie’s house (email for address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Drop in when you can. Come to one, two, or commit to them all! I just ask that you RSVP by the day of if possible so I have an idea of who to expect that day.
You may choose to just come for meditation or stay for Lectio.
Whatever you need.❤️
215-2:35 Centering Prayer/Meditation (this is a silent meditation period-more info below)
2:40-3 Lectio Divina: repeated readings of a brief sacred text followed by short meditation periods after each reading. DIscussion time to follow as time allows.
WHAT IS CENTERING PRAYER?
Most faith traditions have some form of meditation or contemplation. Virtually all methods of meditation have a goal of expanding, or deepening, the consciousness of the practitioner. Centering Prayer, a surrender method of meditation, or contemplative prayer, reaches back to the early days of Christianity.
In her book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that even though we can perhaps find ways to stop “outer noise” it is much more difficult to still the “inner noise.” (We can all relate to this!)
Bourgeault describes Centering Prayer as “….a very simple method for reconnecting us with that natural aptitude for the inner life… which, over time, of its own accord, leads to personal self-emptying and a more unitive outer life.”
Centering Prayer has also been described as a modernized prayer and method of meditation based on the intuitive prayer rooted in Lectio Divina. It is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience the Divine’s immanent presence with us.
WHY I LOVE IT
What I love most about Centering Prayer is that it’s simply a time to “rest” in God.
For once, there is nothing to do. You simply have to show up and consent to just being with God. This is such a comforting time of rest and surrender in the midst of our very busy, and noisy, days.
Centering Prayer how-tos
1. Sit in an upright, attentive posture in a way that allows for an erect spine and open heart. Place hands in your lap.
2. Gently close your eyes and bring to mind your sacred word, image or breath as your symbol to consent to the presence and action of God within you. Your sacred symbol is intended to be the same every time you pray. It helps to ground you in the present moment, allowing you to give your undivided loving, yielded attention to God. You may choose a symbol, visualize a peaceful place, choose a name for God or a characteristic for God like, Love, Peace, etc.
3. Silently, with eyes closed, recall your sacred symbol to begin your prayer. As you notice your thoughts, gently return to your sacred word. Do this however many times you notice your thoughts.
4. When your prayer period is over, spend a moment in silence until you’re ready to transition from your prayer practice to your active life. (or stay for Lectio Divina!)
WHAT IS LECTIO DIVINA?
Lectio Divina, meaning “divine reading” or “sacred reading” is an ancient practice of praying the Holy Scripture.
One of the oldest monastic forms of prayer, this prayer can be traced back to the 4th and 5th century Desert Mothers and Fathers and St. Benedict whose rule of life was largely influenced by the Desert ascetics. Today, this practice is still very common in monasteries.
During Lectio Divina, I will read a short sacred text and you will simply listen with your heart to what is being said to you through the text. The method of Lectio Divina includes four moments:
- reading (lectio)
- reflecting on (meditatio)
- responding to (oratio)
- resting in (contemplatio)
The aim of this practice is to nourish and deepen one’s relationship with God/Spirit/Love— moving from acquaintanceship, to friendship, to communion. So beautiful
WHY I LOVE IT
For someone who’s historically found it extremely hard to be still😉, Lectio offers a more experiential way to pray/meditate. Whether it’s a Rumi quote or a bible verse, it is amazing what insights can come when we allow ourselves to marinate in a passage.
The element of imagination and even inserting yourself in the” scene” can be incredibly powerful, and way more fun than traditional ways of trying to comprehending these texts or mindlessly reading them because we ‘think we should.’
This won’t be for everyone and that’s totally cool. But if you’re curious or ready for something new, I hope you’ll consider it.❤️
Let me know what questions you have and if you think you may be interested.
Email me at email@example.com or sign up to receive weekly reminders
PS While this first group is local and in-person, if there is interest, I will consider trying to stream or FB live our sits for those not in Denver. Either this first session or subsequent sessions depending on interest and logistics. You just let me know.😃
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