Saturday, September 26, 2015

Prayer is a Skill



It should likewise be emphasized that cultivating a contemplative practice, such as using a prayer word, the breath, sitting in stillness, is not to reduce prayer to a technique. Techniques imply certain control and focus on the determined outcome. Contemplative practice is a skill, a discipline that facilitates a process that is out of one’s control, but it does not have the capacity to determine an outcome. A gardener for example, does not actually grow plants. The gardener practices finely honed skills, such as cultivating soil, watering, feeding, weeding, pruning. But there’s nothing the gardener can do to make the plants grow. However, if the gardener does not do what a gardener is supposed to do, the plants are not as likely to flourish. In fact they might not grow at all. In the same way a sailor exercises considerable skill in sailing a boat. But nothing the sailor does can produce the wind that moves the boat. Yet without the sailing skills that harness the wind, the boat will move aimlessly. Gardening and sailing involves skills of receptivity. The skills are necessary but by themselves insufficient. And so it is with contemplative practice and the spiritual life generally. 

— Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Take Me



Take me, O God, take me
to lands where you were made known long ago
to lands where I may know you more
to lands where I may make you more known

To lands where you were made known long ago
take me, O God, to the wild edges of your love
to lands where I may make you more known
take me, O God, to the land of saints who guide me

Take me, O God, to the wild edges of your love
to lands where I may know you more
take me, O God, to the land of saints who guide me
take me, O God, take me

This poem came to me at 36,000 over the north Atlantic as I prayed for the Lord to lead me on my Celtic pilgrimage.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lonely Encounter

One need of our age is for each person to capture enough solitude so that the soul may face God, unattended either by family or congregation. Corporate worship of God is indeed edifying, but it is in a lonely encounter that God can search the soul and lay it bare to receive both scalpel and the balm of the divine physician.
     - Alvin N. Rogness in the introduction to Dairy of an Old Soul by George MacDonald
  


Prayer and time alone with God are the foundations of our faith and the abundant life in Christ. Yet we receive little training in these basic practices that anchor and sustain us in the busyness and loneliness of our often hectic lifestyle. Come join us on a one-day PrayerReach guided, silent prayer retreat as we explore recovering ancient words and practices that have sustained the church for millennia.

Our first retreat will be Saturday, September 19 at the beautiful Biedenharn Garden and Museum in Monroe Louisiana. Go to PrayerReach.org for more information and other dates and cities. While there you can also request a FREE copy of Monty Peregrine’s book PrayerReach – ‘Withnessing’ Among the Unreached.