Ministry Musings: Meditative Prayer (4)

There’s much more to be said about meditative rayer.  But I’ll bring our reflections to a close with this, so that I can move  on to tell you about other ministry engagements I’ve been having recently.  I’d encourage you to purchase Richard Foster’s Sanctuary of the Soul and continue your own formation around this important topic.

Our working definition of meditative prayer has been, “Inclining our heart to the Lord, with the intention of enacting what we have discovered, for the purpose of initiating friendship with Jesus.”

The last segment completes what the first two segments begin.  Meditative prayer is the means of grace by which we abide in Christ (John 15).  As we deepen our communion with Christ, we enter more fully into his mind, heart, and work.

In any given prayer experience, one of those three (mind, heart, work) may be the place where the Risen Christ leads us, teaches us, empowers, and sends us.

Like any friendship, there are times when we simply “hang out” with Jesus.  We do not have anything particularly significant to share with him, and he does not seem to have a “big word” for us either.  The saints of history are great examples of meaningful prayer that is actually very ordinary and routine. We need to accept “practicing the presence of God” (e.g. Brother Lawrence) as very good prayer.

But as we do this, we will also find that our meditation leads us to further discoveries into Christ’s mind, heart, and work.  Often, our reception of those insights is all that Christ asks of us immediately.  But like seeds sown into good soil, Jesus knows that those insights will bear fruit in related actions sooner or later.  In fact, if they do not, meditative prayer will be like one of the unproductive soils, and the good seed will never fulfill the purpose for which it was sown in the first place.

Friendship with Jesus—an amazing invitation.  An invitation to communion, companionship, and (ultimately) commissioning.  Meditative prayer is the consecration of our lives to Christ that opens the door into experiences with Jesus that are holy, whether they are ordinary or transformative.

 

 

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Ministry Musings: Meditative Prayer (4)

  1. Jim Bradshaw says:

    I liked this one Steve. Understanding and practicing this will help us elevate much of our practice of prayer. While prayer lists get mundane and powerfulprayer experiences are meant to be extra-ordinary, walking in the Presence can be our daily reality. Lord, let it be!

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