Contemplation: a different approach

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Introduction

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.

Conclusion

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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References

Introduction

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).

Conclusion

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).

Deeper than words


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May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is (Ephesians 3:18; NLT).

1. Deeper than words
Are our thoughts, dear Lord,

2. And deeper than thoughts,
Our emotions.

3. Deeper, by far,
Our sensations, dear Lord,

4. But deepest of all
Is your love.

 


References

1. You examine the deepest thoughts and secrets (Jeremiah 11:20; NLT).

2. You look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God (Psalm 7:9; NLT).

3. He reveals deep and mysterious things, and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

4. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16; NIV).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

May I care

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1. May I care for others, Lord,
And also for myself,

2. Mindful of their thinking, Lord,
And also of my own;

3. Conscious of their feelings, Lord,
And mine, too, deep within –

4. Then I will speak the truth in love,
But, Lord, I will not sin.

 


References

1. Love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:27; NLT).

To acquire wisdom is to love oneself (Proverbs 19:8; NLT).

2. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

3. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15; NRSV).

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? (Psalm 42:5; NLT).

4. We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Be angry but do not sin (Ephesians 4:26; RSV).

I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say (Psalm 39:1; NLT).

In my heart

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Whatever is in your heart determines what you say
(Matthew 12:34; NLT).

1. Whatever’s in my heart, Lord God,
Determines what I say.

2. When I’m feeling crabby
I speak bitterly all day.

3. When I’m feeling angry
I abuse those I address,

4. When I’m feeling gloomy
I make others feel depressed.

5. When I’m feeling troubled
I ignore my neighbour’s pain,

6. And when I’m feeling needy
People ask for help in vain.

7. Instead, I dump my feelings
On to them, before they flee,

8. While, lost in my self-pity,
I cry: “Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!”


If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must turn from your selfish ways,
take up your cross daily, and follow me
(Luke 9:23; NLT).

According to your will

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This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us
(1 John 5:14; NIV).

Lord,

1. May I treat myself with love
According to your will,
Sharing all I feel with you
As I face each new test.

2. May I capture all my thoughts
According to your will,
Changing judgements into love –
Then I’ll have done my best.

3. May I speak the truth in love
According to your will,
Choosing all my words with care,
Though sometimes I’ll be blamed.

4. May I do all things with love
According to your will,
Serving you with all my heart –
Then I won’t be ashamed.


References

1. Love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; NLT).

You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested (Hebrews 2:18; NLT).

2. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For […] the standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged (Matthew 7:1-2; NLT).

We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; NLT).

I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts (Ecclesiastes 7:23; NLT).

3. We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

I have many aggressive enemies; they hate me without reason (Psalm 38:19; NLT).

4. Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).

Serve the Lord with all your heart (1 Samuel 12:20; NIV).

Let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me (Psalm 25:2; NKJV).

Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in you (Psalm 25:20; NKJV).

Consequences (#2 of 2 linked prayers)

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Choose today whom you will serve
(Joshua 24:15; NLT).

1. Consequences flow
From from how I handle
All I feel.

2. Every choice I make
Brings others pain,
Or helps them heal.

3. Every course of action
Leaves me feeling bad,
Or good.

4. So help me, Lord,
To grow like you,
And choose your Way of Love.


References

1. You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences (Isaiah 47:7; NLT).

2. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart (Luke 6:45; NLT).

3. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these (Galatians 5:19-21; NLT).

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-3; NRSV).

4. The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).

Follow the way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1; NIV).

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged (1 Corinthians 13:4; NLT).

Like you

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Live a life filled with love,
following the example of Christ
(Ephesians 5:2; NLT).

1. Lord Jesus,
My example,
Help me to grow like you,
By treating all my feelings
With love, just as you do.

2. Lord Jesus,
My Rabboni,
Help me to grow like you,
By changing each judgemental thought
Into the love that’s due.

3. Lord Jesus,
My Messiah,
Help me to grow like you,
By saying everything with love,
And making sure it’s true.

4. Lord Jesus,
My Salvation,
Help me to grow like you,
By doing everything with love:
May your life be my cue.


References

1. God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9; NLT).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4; NIV).

2. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”) (John 20:16; NLT).

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NKJV).

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (Luke 6:37; NLT).

Love your enemies! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

3. You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16; NLT).

You must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Jude 1:25; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

4. The Lord is my light and my salvation (Psalm 27:1; NLT).

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).

Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; RSV).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us (1 John 3:16; NLT).

With love

Do everything with love
(1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).

1. Face all you feel with love:
Grief, anger, shame, pain, fear.
Share everything with God,
For he is always near.

2. Observe your thoughts with love:
Hate, envy, judgement, pride.
Confess them all to God,
Who will not blame, or chide.

3. Speak every word with love:
Don’t mock, abuse, or lie.
Admit your sins to God,
Who hears our victims cry.

4. Do everything with love:
This principle is clear;
Just ask the Father’s help,
For he is always here.


References

1. You are near (Psalm 75:1; NLT).

2. I confess my sins (Psalm 38:18; NLT).

He will not always chide (Psalm 103:9; RSV).

3. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

The Lord hears the cries of the needy (Psalm 69:33; NLT).

4. Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).

Love your enemies! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12:9; NLT).

Help me, Lord (Psalm 30:10; NLT).

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever (John 14:16; NASB).