Len Delony1This past week, as part of our Healthy Plate Discipleship, we began a new and intentional focus on prayer. In reality, I believe prayer relates to everything we do, because it helps us know who we truly are. But it can be helpful to focus on specific prayer practices to grow in our relationship with God. In the Methodist (or Wesleyan) Quadrilateral, we are encouraged to grow and discern as Christians by balancing 1) Scripture, 2) Tradition, 3) Reason, and 4) Experience. For most of us in this busy, materialistic culture, we have barely scratched the surface of our Experience of God, and prayer is what helps us get to the very heart of the matter.

There are as many ways to pray as there are people. The right ways to pray are the ways that best help you to experience God’s grace and love. And through those deep and personal experiences of God’s grace and love, we become more able to relate to others as instruments of God’s healing presence in the world. Through prayer we discover our unique callings and authentic ways to be God’s light in the world.

These are a few of the ways we pray in our church:

Intercessory Prayer
Centering Prayer
Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”
Welcoming Prayer
Prayerful Listening and Discernment
Prayer Walk — In Nature or Around the Labyrinth

Below are some quotes that I have found helpful in my journey of trying to be faithful to God’s call. I hope you find some of them helpful for you. Please let me know how I can be of help as you explore old and new prayer practices.

Grace and peace on your journey,

Len

Quotations about the nature of prayer drawn from Christians throughout the centuries:

“Pray without ceasing.”

— Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:17


“A life with God is a life in which the rhythms of silence and listening alternate with the rhythms of sharing and service. By praying with every part of who we are, we allow the grace that pours from the well of living water to trickle through all the aspects of our being, nourishing, and hydrating that which was parched and diseased.”

— Saint Benedict


“Christian practices are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice (and Presence) of God.”

— Craig Dykstra, “Practicing Our Faith”


“Contemplation is the ever-fresh world of the spiritual heart.”

— Tilden H. Edwards Jr.


“Intercessory prayer — Begins with our intention to join in God’s prayer. It is an open availability to God — Being present to God’s Presence for the sake of another.”

— Rosemary Daugherty


“Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us.”

— Fr. Thomas Keating


“Lectio Divina, literally meaning ‘divine reading,’ is an ancient practice of praying the scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the ‘ear of the heart,’ as if he or she is in conversation with God.”

— Fr. Thomas Keating


“Welcoming Prayer is a method of ‘praying without ceasing’ . . . consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life.”

— Fr. Thomas Keating


“Christ filling the hearing, sight, touch, taste, and every sense.”

— Origen


“Divine wakefulness with pure and naked intuition.”

— Gregory of Nyssa


“Seeing truth in purity and simplicity.”

— Richard of St. Victor


“Right understanding, with true longing, absolute trust,and sweet grace-giving mindfulness.”

— Julian of Norwich


“Finding God in all things.”

— Ignatius of Loyola


“Awareness absorbed and amazed.”

— Teresa of Avila


“The window of the soul cleansed perfectly and made completely transparent by the divine light.”

— John of the Cross


“The pure, loving gaze that finds God everywhere.”

— Brother Lawrence


“Seeing God in everything and everything in God with completely extraordinary clearness and delicacy.”

— Marie of the Incarnation


“Continual communion through all things by quite simply doing everything in the presence of the Holy Trinity.”

— Elizabeth of the Trinity


“The world becoming luminous from within as one plunges breathlessly into human activity”

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


“Seeing through exterior things, and seeing God in them.”

— Thomas Merton


“A continual condition of prayerful sensitivity to what is really going on.”

— Douglas Steere


“Continually renewed immediacy.”

— Thomas Kelly


“Awakening to the presence of God in the heart and in the universe around us . . . knowledge by love.”

— Dom Bede Griffiths

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