I was excited to discover notes that my husband Mark took when he was studying Abiding Prayer over thirty years ago. I found them helpful as I have been on this journey for awhile and starting to see some pieces go together.
Even though, I am beginning to experience the fruit of sitting in silence at the beginning of each day and “tuning” into God’s presence, it is not an easy thing to do. But what I find is the more I practice each day, the more I am aware of God throughout the rest of my day. It is the same thing I find when I practice thanksgiving. I find myself starting to look more during the day for things to be thankful for, knowing that I am accountable to write in my journal at the end of the day.
Here are the notes Mark took during his study: One of the challenges we all encounter in living the Christian life is the integration of prayer and service, contemplation and action. As people grow in payer, they tend to thirst tor more — and to feel frustrated by the endless struggle to find adequate time for prayer.
Jesus Himself gives us a model in establishing priorities. Luke tells us in his Gospel: “His reputation continued to grow, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where He could be alone and pray.” Luke 5:15,16
As Christians through the ages have sought to imitate Jesus, they have developed some classic approaches to prayer. Here are some examples;
a) “Flee the world”: The Desert Fathers fled from the world and sought God in the solitude of the desert, as far as possible from “distractions.”
b) The balanced life: Some orders of monks provided for a balanced division of time into periods of prayer, spiritual reading, and work.
c) The mixed life: Pass on to others the fruits of your contemplation: In keeping with the ideals of St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of “the mixed life” — contemplation plus action. St. Thomas formulated the celebrated saying: “Pass on to others the fruits of your contemplation.”
d) “‘Gas-pump Spirituality: We come to pray to be refueled” tor apostolic service.
e) Contemplation in action: We contemplate God in the very midst of activity. We find Hill quite literally, “in all things.” For active people this may be the most useful. Finding God is all things, depends on focusing our attention on His work. Finding God in people, even sickness, and sad things.
However, in order to be sensitive to and aware of God’s presence in all things, we need regular times of alone-ness with Him, just as Jesus needed to commune with His Father in solitude and silence.
So ask God to help you to be aware of His presence all day long. Sometimes I stop and kneel or throw my hands in the air, just to acknowledge Him as I would in a worship service.