Pray Without Ceasing – Really? Part 2

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By Kathy Keary

Part 2 of 3. Read all the articles here.

Embracing that we are the beloved of God, a God who desires to be in relationship with us, encourages the movement from a childlike prayer life to a more mature relationship that will ultimately bring us closer to the ideal of praying without ceasing. Believing in the depths of our soul that we were created out of the unbounded love of God and that the Creator placed within us a desire to be in communion with the Divine stirs an undeniable passion within us.

Accepting God’s invitation to draw close is a first step in realizing an intimate bond with our Maker. As our kinship grows, we experience the truth expressed by St. Paul: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As we grow in our relationship with God, we realize that God is not far off and aloof but very much a part of our daily life and our very being. The words of Meister Eckhart, a 13th-century German theologian, philosopher, and mystic, become our words: “God is nearer to me than I am to me; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God.”

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I have personally found that resting in God or Centering Prayer has opened the door for me to experience the Indwelling Spirit on a palpable level. The awareness that God is just a breath away is heightened as is the felt sense of God’s presence in the depths of my soul.

As this communion flourishes, God dominates the heart much like a loved one captures our focus. Our thoughts and actions become centered in this one who has captivated us and whose presence is with us 24/7. This intimacy becomes the impetus for moving closer to the practice of praying without ceasing.

We offer various ways that may support our efforts as we move closer to praying without ceasing:

  • Contemplation or Centering Prayer strengthens a sense of unity with God that extends into the day and includes an awareness of unity with all creation.
  • Beginning and ending the day with prayer centers our day and night in God.
  • Review your schedule for the day with Jesus with the understanding that he will be walking with you. This increases your awareness of God’s presence throughout the day as well as your conversation with him as you proceed from one activity to another.
  • Repeat a mantra throughout the day that is meaningful to you. Some prefer the Jesus prayer: “Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” This can easily extend to others: “Jesus Christ have mercy on them.” The words that routinely surface from the depths of my soul are: “I love you, Jesus.” Choose the mantra that feels right for you.
  • The practice of meditative prayer such as Lectio Divina or Visio Divina increases our awareness of God speaking to us through our environment. This fosters one’s awareness of the presence of God in everyday life.
  • Write on a card the word or words that caught your attention in Lectio Divina or spiritual reading placing the card where you will see it throughout the day. Each time you see it you will be drawn into further reflection.
  • Paul instructs the Thessalonians: “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:18). Set times during the day to review and give thanks for your blessings. Some prefer to do this at mealtimes or bedtime.
  • Allow certain signals to draw your attention to God. It could be a chime, the sound of a train, or a red traffic light. The number 3 brings the Trinity to my mind and is an invitation for me to pray. I am frequently drawn to look at the clock at 3:33. In the moment, I am delighted sensing that it is God’s way of saying: “Here I am.”
  • Develop the habit of praying for people you encounter in your daily life including strangers, friends, and family. Don’t pass a person that appears in distress without offering a prayer. Allow the sound of a siren to bring you to prayer for the wellbeing of the stranger in need. During these trying times in our world today, I find myself praying for absolutely everyone as so many are struggling in one way or another.
  • Watching the news or reading the newspaper is a good time to remember the intentions of others and the world. Allow the experience to bring you into conversation with God. There are time when the news brings me to tears. I often sense that the tears are God crying in me when horrific things are reported about God’s people.
  • Listening to spiritual music at home or in the car not only brings us to prayer in the moment but catchy lyrics will repeat in our mind throughout the day.

Consider trying on one or more of these suggestions this week. Stay tuned for our next article where we will continue to speak about ways we can implement prayer into our life as we journey toward the ideal of praying without ceasing.

Note: New articles in this series are posted to the website every Monday. The full series can be found here: An Invitation to Something New: The Contemplative Life. On Thursday’s we’ll send an email to remind you of the articles.

[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]

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