Listenings: Contemplative Prayer

The means to our spiritual formation is contemplative prayer.  Because we caricature the word contemplative to mean someone who is so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good, we move away from the very kind of prayer which can lead us into the heart of God.

Nouwen invites to practice contemplative prayer as the means of “seeing” God, of moving life from the place of opaqueness to the place of transparency (p. 5).  Transparency is not possession; it is vision.  It is entering into the Mystery so that we can see how “high, and deep, and wide” God really is; how greater than our minds can comprehend or our language describe.

Perhaps more than anything else, contemplative prayer unmasks the false self—the self that believes it can “control” anything.  Contemplative prayer’s vision of the Magnificent is the means to humility.


About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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