Feb 9, 2011

Contemplative Prayer

In light of the previous discussion here on Celtic Voices, I thought it might be good to look at contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is not so complicated as it might seem. It's simply being in relationship with God, being present, being open to hear God's voice. The Celts sometimes called this centering prayer. The early Celtic Christians were influenced by the Desert Fathers. A 4th century monk named John Cassian introduced the eastern monastic practices to the western world.

Psalm 119: 9-16 NIV
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
   By living according to your word.
 I seek you with all my heart;
   do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
   that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, LORD;
   teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
   all the laws that come from your mouth.
 I rejoice in following your statutes
   as one rejoices in great riches.
 I meditate on your precepts
   and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
   I will not neglect your word.
This is a passage I'm contemplating right now. The psalmist probably wasn't reading his Bible all day. There weren't any Bibles back then. People had to memorize what little scripture they knew, and they sought God through prayer and contemplation. We are fortunate to have Bibles today, but I wonder, am I memorizing and contemplating less because I have a Bible at my fingertips? Am I thinking about who God is and trying to seek Him, less?

Just some food for thought!


  1. I continue to be amazed at the similarities between Celtic Christian and Quakerism. "Centering down" (not necessarily always done with a centering prayer) is a part of Quaker practice, too.

  2. I'd say that's because there's One God! He reveals himself to different people and some of them respond in ways similar to what others are doing. Thanks for stopping by, John.