Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is Contemplative Prayer

I found contemplative prayer...no wait...contemplative prayer found me at the moment that I most needed it.  My life was not making sense.  I seemed to be absent from every moment of my life always thinking about what was supposed to come next and what tragic mistake I made or miniscule thing I had forgotten.  I was stressed out and I hadn't even noticed it.  Being a musician and performer I had always thought that I thrived on that last minute adrenaline.  I thought that it kept me on my toes and helped me to think more clearly.  But God did not make our bodies to live in that constant state of near panick no matter how much we think we are good at "managing" our stress.

Contemplation is slowly teaching me to shed my desire to control and "manage" stress.  Rather, it is teaching me that life without stress is a very real possibility.  Contemplation is teaching me what the writer of Genesis meant when they said, "God created....and it was good."  I trust more, worry less, believe more richly, and see more beauty, and think more clearly.

It may be odd to say it but the answer to my prayers was prayer itself.  Time that is spent in the hospitality of God is never time that is wasted.  And for those who say that contemplative prayer is a waste of time (and there are naysayers out there) I only offer this.  You will not know what God is capable of doing in your life until you take the time to stop and listen for God's call. 

Listen, God is...calling.

Contemplative Prayer

As I begin a new ministry setting my plan is to periodically speak to the ways that I am learning to lead a life with God.  For those of you that do not know I have accepted two new positions recently.  One of those positions is as the coordinator of a ministry that works with first call pastors in the Northwestern Minnesota Synod and the Eastern North Dakota Synod.  The other position is as a pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead MN. 

One of the things that beginning a new ministry affords us is the opportunity to start over with good habits.  Much of my first call was spent trying to figure out which end was up.  Towards the end of my tenure I began to feel upright and capable of exploring what it means to be a spiritual leader. 

The next two blogs are an invitation to contemplative prayer and some musings on first days in a new place.