Contemplative Prayer

“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all”

(1 Timothy 4:15).

“And it is my will that you shall humble yourselves before me, and obtain this blessing by your diligence and humility and the prayer of faith” (D&C 104:79)

Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is prayer in which you still your thoughts … this puts you in a better state to be aware of God’s presence, and it makes you better able to hear God’s voice correcting, guiding, and directing you.

When the Soul Listens

By Jan Johnson NAVPRESS © 1999

“I think we pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion. … Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as ‘a form of private devotion or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.’ Meditation is a form of prayer. …

“Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord” – David O. McKay

“I have learned that the best time to wrestle with major problems is early in the morning. … The blackboard of your mind has been erased by a good night’s rest. The accumulated distractions of the day are not in your way. Your body has been rested also. That’s the time to think something through very carefully and to receive personal revelation” (“Self-reliance,” Ensign, Aug. 1975, p. 88).

“Revelations don’t just follow questions, they follow proposals.  They follow proactive behavior on the part of individuals who care enough to study, who care enough to trust, and who care enough to formulate proposals.  First we need to determine how we feel.  There is no sweet counsel without honest self-examination and assessment.  Then, we need honest expression, but that only comes after careful self-inquiry and perhaps tears.” – J. Bonner Ritchie

Contemplative Spirituality

“It’s a great thing to be responsive to the whisperings of the Spirit and we know that when these whisperings come it is a gift and our privilege to have them. They come when we are relaxed and not under pressure of appointments.” David O. McKay

President McKay said that, “when we are relaxed in a private room we are more susceptible to those

things, that so far as he was concerned his best thoughts come after he gets up in the morning and is relaxed and thinking about the duties of the day… If we are worried about something and upset in our feelings the inspiration does not come.  If we so live that our minds are free from worry and our conscience clear and our feelings are right toward one another [we will be receptive]. Take time to meditate. Many times you will be wrestling with problems, the solution of which can be spiritually discerned. Don’t get so busy that you don’t have time to meditate. Take the time. The most important testimony does not come by sight, but by the inner witness. Christ may be nearer than we have knowledge. ‘I am in your midst, but you do not see me. The Holy Ghost bears the sure witness. Mine eyes are upon you. The day cometh when ye shall know that I am’” [See D&C 38:7–8.].

“Read and study the scriptures. The scriptures should be studied in the home with fathers and mothers taking the lead and setting the example. The scriptures are to be comprehended by the power of the Holy Ghost, for the Lord has given this promise to His faithful and obedient: ‘Thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things’” (D&C 42:61.).  –Ezra Taft Benson

“The more familiar you are with the scriptures, the closer you become to the mind and will of the Lord and the closer you become as husband and wife and children. You will find that by reading the scriptures the truths of eternity will rest on your minds.” –Ezra Taft Benson

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel.” (“What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

“The Holy Ghost causes our feelings to be more tender. We feel more charitable and compassionate with each other. We are more calm in our relationships. We have a greater capacity to love each other. People want to be around us because our very countenances radiate the influence of the Spirit. We are more godly in our character. As a result, we become increasingly more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and thus able to comprehend spiritual things more clearly.” –Ezra Taft Benson

“Revelations don’t just follow questions, they follow proposals.  They follow proactive behavior on the part of individuals who care enough to study, who care enough to trust, and who care enough to formulate proposals.  First we need to determine how we feel.  There is no sweet counsel without honest self-examination and assessment. 

Then, we need honest expression, but that only comes after careful self-inquiry and perhaps tears.” – J. Bonner Ritchie

Meditation 101

“The point of meditation is not to discover some cool techniques to occupy your leisure hours; it’s to make the simple momentous shift from doing to being.  Don’t make the mistake of turning your meditation practice into another urgent item on your list of things to do” (Meditation for Dummies, pg. 6).

n  Meditation is a  willingness to be present with whatever unfolds in the moment

n  Mindfulness is to know ones feelings without having to act upon them

n  Mindfulness confers upon us the capacity to relate to emotional life in an open, balanced, accepting, and tolerant way, while freeing us to act with compassion, rather than on impulse, in response.  – (thoughts without a thinker. Xxii).

n  Pay attention to sensations in your body

n  Repeat a meaningful word or phrase

n  Follow your breath

n  Cultivate lovingkindness, compassion, forgiveness, compassion, or other healing emotion

n  Visualize a peaceful place or visualize Christ

 

Benefits of meditation

n  Stronger focus and concentration

n  Reduced tension, anxiety, and stress

n  Clearer thinking and emotional turmoil

n  Lower blood pressure

n  Increased self-understanding and self-acceptance

n  More love, joy, and spontaneity

n  Greater intimacy with friends and family

members

n  Deeper sense of meaning and purpose

n  Glimpses into spiritual dimension

 

Meditation made simple

n  Benson Meditation

n  Step 1 (half step): Get comfortable – breathe comfortably

n  Part 1 Repeat a neutral word upon exhaling and otherwise empty the mind (e.g., “One”)

n  Part 2 When you fail at part 1, forgive yourself and, because you prefer part 1, return to part 1.  Part 2 is STILL meditating.

n  Spending a high percentage of the meditation on part 1 will yield deep, often profound relaxation.

n  Spending a high percentage of the meditation on part 2 will yield deep relaxation.