As part of my Advent discipline I am re-reading Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird. It’s a precious, accessible book on contemplative prayer; we highly recommend it.
This morning I again gave myself over to contemplative, silent prayer and chose the the prayer word, “Here,” for my time. As I breathed slowly and collected my attention by repeating this word, “Here,” several intentions with that word came to mind:
1) “Be Here”
God invites us to be in the present, not traveling through time to the past or future in our minds, but just here. Not doing, not planning, not scheming, not regretting, not worrying… just breathing. Open, available, receptive, still. Blaise Pascal is oft quoted as saying, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” God invites us to be here.
2) “God is Here”
God meets us in reality, right here, right now. The courage to face the present moment is a doorway into being in God’s presence. “Here” is the affirmation that God is available and at work as I offer myself to the present moment.
3) “Here, God”
God receives and gives, I am able to turn over and lay down and receive and give whatever is needed. As God’s presence is made known, the prayer word “here” for me becomes a surrender of whatever comes up; whatever needs to be yielded to God in that moment I say, “Here,” and God receives it.
This brief exercise of silence (it lasted about 7 minutes for me this morning) is one way we create the wilderness space we proclaimed this past Sunday.
Praying for our church that we may know the things that make for Peace this Advent. May your wildernessing be replete with the presence of God.