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Do you find contemplation difficult, or even impossible? Does your mind constantly slip away from observing the thoughts, emotions and physical sensations bubbling up within you, becoming caught up with them, instead? If so, you might like to try a different approach.
A fresh approach
1. Sit, lie, or stand comfortably, or walk, if you feel restless.
2. Ask God to help you with everything you are going to share with him.
3. Let your breathing be however it is. If you are still, you can close your eyes if you wish.
4. Notice the thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations arising within you, and share them honestly with God. You can do this silently, or aloud, whatever suits you best. Tell him anything you want to, even if you think you shouldn’t feel, or think, that way.
5. Ask God to help you with each issue you tell him about, listening for his still, small voice in response. It doesn’t matter if you move on to a new concern before you have finished talking to him about something else. It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep. You are always in God’s arms, like a little child, and he already knows everything you are experiencing and sharing with him. This kind of contemplation is about being yourself, and being honest with God.
6. Do this for whatever amount of time you wish, long or short; again, it doesn’t matter. Thank God for listening, understanding, caring, and helping you. Then continue with your day.
With practice, you may find that you can continue sharing your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations with God whilst you are doing simple tasks. He lives within you, so you can commune with him in your heart whenever, and wherever, you want.
In time, always aware of his presence, you will unhesitatingly share everything with him, and this is a vital part of what it means to love both God and yourself.
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As I stood there is silence – not even speaking of good things – the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words (Psalm 39:2-3; NLT).
A fresh approach
1. Be still in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 37:7; NLT).
I cannot be still (Jeremiah 4:19; NLT).
2. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14; NLT).
3. The life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being (Job 12:10; NLT).
4. Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).
Lord, you are searching for honesty (Proverbs 11:5; NLT).
Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).
5. He will be gracious if you ask for help (Isaiah 30:19; NLT).
Tell God what you need (Philippians 4:6; NLT).
Listen to his voice (Deuteronomy 13:4; NLT).
The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27; NLT).
He knows the secrets of every heart (psalm 44:21; NLT).
6. Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help (Psalm 86:5; NLT).
I know the Lord is always with me (Psalm 16:8; NLT).
There is […] one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:4,6; NLT).
You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).
Commune with your own heart (Psalm 77:6; KJV).
Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; CSB).
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Mark 12:29; NLT).
Love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:27; NLT).
4 thoughts on “Contemplation: a different approach”
This is brilliant Ruth, together with your references you have created a thorough teaching on Biblical Contemplation. Is there a difference between contemplation and prayer in your view? God bless you today sister.
Hi, Alan, thank you so much for your feedback. At one time I would have said that contemplation is quite different from prayer, but now I don’t think this is really the case. The goal of all prayer is to be one with God, living in him, and constantly communing with him. Whatever kind of prayer helps us to move closer and closer to this goal is good, in my book. I always think it’s a shame when contemplation is set up as something special, difficult and demanding – something people feel they can fail at. My view is that Jesus teaches us to pray like little children, communing spontaneously and naturally with God all day and all night. Does this make sense? XXXX
Thank you Ruth, that was what I was thinking generally. I just wanted to check I wasn’t missing any thing. Great explanation sister.