In “silent prayer,” we may not utter any words to God but rather express them to him in our thoughts. However, words aren’t always necessary during praying. Indeed, Jesus warned that employing “many words” in prayer may become like rambling (see Matthew 6:7).
Let’s discuss how praying in silence might alter your relationship with God.
What is Silent Prayer?
The practice of silent prayer can help us grow closer to God. While we can provide some basic instructions, remember that the approach is not crucial. In contrast to acquiring knowledge in the real world, where your efforts are what matters, this time around, it’s not about you. Because of your sincerity, God will not hold your failures against you. God sees your heart and hears your prayers, and He will eventually lead you into a time of private prayer.
The most crucial aspect is maintaining your daily sitting time for the time you have set. All your problems will vanish if you can only remain still long enough for the Holy Spirit to work His magic. The benefits of Silent Prayer will become apparent more outside of the time frame than inside it.
The Basic Guidelines for Silent Prayer
It is best to pray in a relaxed position, so sit upright with your back straight and your eyes down or closed. This is not to say that you should fall asleep; rather, it is to help you focus on your prayers rather than your body.
Invest a little time in being mentally and spiritually ready for your prayer time. Let your mind wander, and your muscles unwind on purpose. Pay attention to, but don’t try to alter, your breathing rate and pattern.
Accept God’s presence and activity in your life on purpose. Don’t hesitate to tell him “Yes.” Finding a sacred word to represent your goal is useful. Words like “Amen,” “Lord,” “Jesus,” “Abba,” and “Yahweh.” are examples of sacred words.
Some people may connect more deeply with God through an inward, contemplative look than they would from hearing the divine word. Relax and focus your attention within without haste, or if you’d rather, softly introduce your holy phrase. Don’t cling to the word or fixate on it; let it move to your breath. Let it go if it’s fading away.
In addition, they help us let go of the emotional baggage we’ve been carrying for years, clearing the way for God to heal our wounds and set us free.
The Four Rs of Silent Prayer
Because of this, try the FOUR “R”s as a framework for interacting with our ideas and a reminder to refrain from fighting against them.
- Resist no thought
- Retain no thought
- React emotionally to no thought
- Return, ever so gently, to the sacred word
During our Silent Prayer, we refrain from all external activity and focus instead on receiving God’s inward breath. What you pray is not what you pray. Jesus Christ is the center of your life, and your prayers are an extension of his. God’s love for his Son dwells inside you, and the love that the Son feels for his father surrounds you.
For a few minutes after the prayer session has ended, sit in silence with your eyes closed. This will allow you to reacclimate to your surroundings and bring a sense of calm and serenity into your routine.
A Few Points To Consider
This prayer should be said for at least 20 minutes. However, starting with a shorter time, like 5 or 10 minutes, and sticking to that might assist create the habit and keep you going; you can always increase the amount later. It is recommended to start with one period per day and gradually increase to two periods per day (morning and evening).
While silent prayer can be practiced anywhere, some people find it helpful to designate a certain area of their house as a “Sacred Space” where they can go to focus on their spirituality. To stay committed to your regular practice of silent prayer, it is recommended that you join a Silent Prayer support group.
You may use a timer to signal the end of the prayer time, but be sure it doesn’t make any unexpected noises.
The practice of Silent Prayer is complementary to other forms of worship. Rather, it enriches the significance of every prayer and highlights that are talking to God is only the beginning of a journey that ultimately unites us with Him.
Selecting A Silent Prayer Method
There are many approaches to silent prayer within the realm of meditative Christianity: Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, and the Jesus Prayer.
John Main, a Benedictine monk, is credited with the development of Christian Meditation. In contrast to the Prayer of the Heart, which is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, Christian Meditation originated from Main’s mantra meditation practice, which he picked up as a young man while working as a civil servant for the British government in Kuala Lampur. It is a product of the meeting of several religious traditions.
When Main was a student of the yogi Swami Satyananda, he learned how to meditate. However, with his teacher’s support, he used the Christian term maranatha, Aramaic, for “Come, Lord,” as his mantra. After becoming a monk, Main became well-known as a meditation instructor, and his technique is currently taught all over the globe under the auspices of the World Community for Compassionate Medicine (WCCM).
Unlike the Prayer of the Heart, which has been around for centuries, Centering Prayer is a relatively recent technique that draws inspiration from eastern spirituality. William Meninger, a Trappist monk, invented Centering Prayer, which draws directly on the prayer teachings of the Desert Fathers (particularly John Cassian) and the medieval mystic work The Cloud of Unknowing.
When our thoughts stray during Centering Prayer, we return to a short “Sacred Word,” which is not meant to be repeated endlessly.
If at any moment throughout Centering Prayer, the prayer is content to relax quietly, the Sacred Word need not be repeated. The human heart and soul are often distracted. Thus the Sacred Word appears more like a mantra in daily life, said whenever a distracting idea arises (which for most of us is ongoing).
However, the recital of the Holy Word can be put on hold to rest in the indescribable joy of Divine Love anytime a moment of gracious, quiet presents itself.
The Jesus Prayer
The Jesus Prayer is based on the recitation of a brief prayer, such as “Jesus, Mercy,” or a lengthier version, similar to the ones commemorated in the Russian mystical novel The Way of a Pilgrim: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This practice originates in the Orthodox monastic tradition, which may be traced back to the Desert Mothers and Fathers.
The Jesus Prayer’s emphasis on letting one’s thoughts drift into one’s heart while it is recited hints that mental effort is superseded by emotional commitment. The Prayer of the Heart is another name for this. The words we say “float” above a profound stillness in which God’s love meets the love of humanity via the power of the Holy Spirit.
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