Some years ago I hosted a contemplative prayer retreat at the historic San Miguel Mission. I thought it would just be myself and a few curious friends attending, but I was surprised at the turnout and how eager folks were to learn about this ancient Christian practice.
Many people don’t realize there is a name for the intimacy they experience or desire with the Lord. Contemplation is all about intimacy and holiness with the Lover of our souls. Contemplative prayer is an ancient tradition for gaining a depth of relationship with God. I find it interesting that this practice is exactly what the Spirit Holy is saying to the church in this present hour—intimacy and holiness.
We also touch on contemplative prayer when I teach on Hearing God’s Voice at YWAM’s Discipleship Training Schools and in our own ministry training courses at church. People hunger for this practice that dates back to our ancient Jewish roots.
Definitions of contemplative include:
- A long and thoughtful observation
- Meditating on spiritual matters
- Focusing on the loving God within you through prayer
- To ponder and consider
- Inner communion with the Lord
I like Peggy Wilkinson’s definition best. In her book, Finding the Mystic Within You, she explains that, “the word ‘contemplation’ is based on the Latin ‘templum—open space for observation of the heavens, which also gives us temple.’ In contemplation we descend into our inner space to observe heavenly things.”
Moments of contemplation arise during my morning coffee, prayer, and musings. Other times I take an hour or more to practice contemplative prayer in the quiet of my study or garden. I’m still learning much about this ancient practice. Some of the things I write about are birthed during such hours of intimacy with the Lord.
If you’re a member of my Lounge membership site, you’ll find Quotes for the Contemplative Life available in The Lounge Library.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis