Contemplative Prayer by Mimi Saayman

Contemplative Prayer by Mimi Saayman


Gordon Cosby writes: ‘At the place of "central" silence, one’s own life and spirit are united with the life and Spirit of God. There the fire of God’s presence is experienced. The soul is immersed in love’ (from Search For Silence by Elizabeth O’Connor).

For three Tuesday evenings in November 2009 eight of us met at RUC to explore and experience the ‘place of central silence’. There was a brief overview of contemplative prayer – looking at pointers given by mystics, contemporary writers and outlined in the Bible – and an exploration of our physical prayer posture as well as the posture of the heart during contemplative prayer. As a doorway into the silence we experienced the ancient Christian tradition of Lectio Divina: we followed in the footsteps of St Ignatius of Loyola and prayed with Scripture using our imaginations. We also used the symbolism of empty prayer bowls. Although this introductory course consisted of only three evenings, there was a wonderful deep sense of community with one another and with God.

The following quote by Theophan the Recluse expresses for me some of the mystery of contemplative prayer: ‘To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all seeing, within you’. If you yearn for this ‘mind-in-heartedness’ during your prayer times please diarise the next course which will be in October 2010 or come and speak to me about other opportunities for silent prayer offered through the Centre for Christian Spirituality.