to savor that precious intentional time…
to guard it…
for being in His Nearness, His manifested Presence,
by stopping, quieting, and acknowledging him.
A few years ago, I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to “just be” before what I thought was a season to “become” again. It was during a few years of a valley of physically painful grief while processing our son’s diagnosis that was not present from birth. That was about three years ago, and happened upon a note reminding me of the nudging to be. A blessed season of being in His Nearness transformed my soul in new ways last year as it was dedicated as a Sabbath 7th Year. Special times graced with not praying aloud, not doing… just sitting and being in His Nearness for extended periods of time, although it was what I later learned was called contemplative prayer and centering prayer. While there have been sprinkles and heaviness of His Presence in my faith walk, this last year brought a whole new season that is quite hard to describe in mere words concerning the awareness and acknowledgement of His Presence.
Centering prayer is a receptive silent prayer and active listening. Matthew 6:6 is a hallmark of this type of prayer when Jesus was teaching on “prayer in secret” in the Sermon on the Mount, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen…” which has roots in the Old Testament and Elijah’s experience on Mount Horeb as “sheer silence,” the pillar of cloud in the desert, the cloud in the temple at time of consecration, and Psalms 46:10 of
“Be still and know that I am God”
and has been a part of early Christian tradition along with lectio divina prayer which is another form of prayer.
Contemplative prayer is a shift beyond supplication and conversation and different from intercessory prayer as it is rather described as communion or union with Him, or a gift of resting in the Lord, or just time loving God where we just sit and become aware of His indwelling Nearness as a believer. Early Church History records many accounts of this through early church history and medieval writings.
“You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” -Augustine
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone…
toward God [is] my soul silent, From Him [is] my salvation – Young’s Literal Translation
Ironically, when we make a habit of these types of prayer, just being silent in His Presence, receiving his revelations to our hearts or Scripture coming alive in a new light, we crave more. It’s as if a repetitive cup of hot tea and a comfy spot to just rest in him has such transformative power that is only realized over time.
Last year, an epiphany occurred that “being” is really the place to stay, and to drop the paradigm of “doing” at least on my own notion and being sensitive and more aware to be led by the Spirit more intentionally. Perhaps it has also been that I have become weary in past years from “doing” ministry with glimpses of His manifested Presence instead of intentionally focused on a paradigm shift of acknowledgement and abiding there.
It’s in that “being” place that our souls become saturated, we are more attune to the leading of his Spirit, and embrace a gentle pace of being unhurried while following the example of our Lord. It’s in being, one stays connected to abide in Him. It’s in being that we can have divine influence as He is searching for all who will embrace a “come sit with me and follow me” theology as if to enjoy a spot of tea with His company!
A gentle reminder for us to heat the kettle! Perhaps it is and was just a season out of necessity of circumstances, but it is a much more peaceful place to serve than known previously.
Jesus said, “if any one may minister to me, let him follow me, and where I am, there also my ministrant shall be;
and if any one may minister to me — honor him will the Father”.
– John 12:26, Young’s Literal Translation
May we be assured that He first calls us to Himself, that we may be One with the Father as Jesus prayed before right before he was arrested and betrayed in John 17:21:
“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.
And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me”.
Sitting and being in silent communion with Him allows one to be receptive with a listening heart. Our strength lies in our intimacy with God. He who called each of us is faithful to lead us and will accompany us and enjoy those precious spots of tea, or coffee if you prefer!