Sunday, February 6
An Introduction to Contemplative Prayer
This year, our 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting is going to be a little different. As we seek to walk in the way of Jesus and eliminate hurry from our lives, we will primarily focus on adopting the prayer habits that Jesus himself practiced. That means much of the emphasis will be focusing our prayers on what is happening inside of us instead of what’s happening around us.
James 5:16b says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” How life-changing it would be to have a prayer life that has great power and produces wonderful results! Given the option, any Christian would gladly sign up for that. However, that kind of prayer life does not just emerge one day. It takes time to cultivate, requiring an investment of attention over time.
Our focus over the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting is to cultivate a right heart before God through developing our private prayer life. And we do that by following certain disciplines or habits Jesus incorporated into the rhythm of his life, where time in prayer was central to all he did. These practices of Jesus have long been advocated for by the Christian contemplative tradition.
While contemplative prayer may be new terminology to you, these ancient habits have been adopted by Christ-followers for centuries. These habits are beneficial for any Christian, as contemplative prayer cultivates a deeper and richer relationship with God. This kind of prayer takes place in the private world of our hearts, where no one else can see. It is how we develop our inner selves in a way that honors God and remains submitted to Him.
Addressing a question about the biblical merits of contemplative prayer, Focus on the Family wrote:
There is nothing unbiblical or anti-Christian about solitude, silence, and contemplative prayer. Not, at any rate, as they have been practiced within the context of Christian history. As a matter of fact, these disciplines are part of a time-honored tradition. They’ve been central to the church’s spiritual life for centuries.
Contemplative prayer is “the practice of the presence of God,” as Brother Lawrence calls it. It is meditative, as it involves silent reflection before God. The concept of meditation as a form of godly reflection is biblical. God repeatedly commands His people to meditate on His law throughout the Old Testament.
Contemplative prayer is not the only type of prayer we should incorporate. There’s supplication prayer, intercessory prayer, healing prayer, warfare prayer, and many others that complement a full prayer life. Still, it provides us with an effective way to grow closer to God and be transformed from the inside out. Our hearts require daily maintenance with God. Don’t rush it; quiet your soul and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you, convict you, encourage you, and strengthen you. Our daily devotionals will help you do that.
By Dave Mann
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