Quotes from 'Sacred Pathways' by Gary Thomas
“Contemplatives refer to God as their lover, and images of a loving Father and Bridegroom predominate their view of God. ...The focus is not necessarily on serving God, doing His will, accomplishing great things in His name, or even obeying God. Rather, these Christians seek to love God with the purest, deepest, and brightest love imaginable.” (28)
“...holding hands with God. ...we gaze lovingly at our heavenly Father and have our heart’s delight satisfied.
...(Contemplatives) want nothing more than some privacy and quiet to gaze upon the face of their heavenly Lover and give all of themselves to God.” (181)
1. Make use of the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy
on me, a sinner) or some other prayer (Make haste to help me.) Purpose: to practice the presence of God, reminding yourself that Jesus is Lord, you are a sinner, you need His mercy.
2. Practice secret acts of devotion – something you do for someone else without letting anyone else know about it.
3. Carry a pocket piece – something tactile to remind you who you serve, e.g. a small cross.
4. Dancing Prayer – allowing God to lead and follow Him wherever He takes you. Allow Him to speak and place requests before you.
4. Centering Prayer – Choose a word and focus on it (Jesus, God, peace, etc.) repeating it until it becomes a part of you. This is a way to close yourself in with God, away from distractions. You are resting in God’s presence.
5. Prayer of the Heart – “focuses on emotional attachment to, or adoration or, God. ...Its aim is to love God, to have our hearts enlarged so that God owns more and more of us.” (187)
6. Meditative Prayer – this is prayerful reflection of a biblical text or theme, use of something you can see, taste, touch, hear or smell. (Lecto Divina; placing yourself in the passage )
SCRIPTURES TO PONDER
Psa. 63; 116; 73; Song of Songs; Isa. 41; 49; 59; 61; Jer. 2:2; Mt. 26: 6-13; Luke 10:38-42; John 14-17
1. When do you feel most loved by God? In what tangible ways does He show His love to you?
2. What is most important to you in your relationship with God?
3. Do you ever lose the sense of God’s presence? What happens to you then – in your emotions? In your spirit? What do you do to restore that sense?
4. What is your favorite way to picture God? Are there any images of God that you find difficult to contemplate? Why do you think that is? Ask God to show you something about that.
5. What words come to mind when you think of God? Make a list of all the words and phrases you can think of to express your praise to Him.
6. How do you usually approach God? Do you ever feel fear? What might that be about? Talk with the Father about it and write down His response.
7. In what ways is it difficult for you to share your experiences with God with other people?