The Contemplative Challenge


Cloistered Carmelite nuns do it for two hours a day. The late Mother Theresa did it for an hour a day, as do all the Sisters in her Missionaries of Charity today. Our present Pope Francis does it for an hour every evening. 10 to Transform. They all consider it a blessing enough to carve time out of their busy schedules to spend significant time before the Lord in Silent Contemplative Prayer. Theirs is an inspiring, some might say heroic, example.

So it can be done. It is never easy, but it can be done. And you can do it. No matter how busy with work, church, family and other things you will be blessed if you chose to do it. At least try. But don't try for two hours, or one, or even a half.

Ten to Transform

The Contemplative Challenge is to enter into a place of silence, solitude, and stillness and for ten minutes - just ten minutes - sit in Silent Contemplation before the Lord. Put aside all interactive devices, separate from everything and everyone around you, still your body and mind and focus your heart, mind, emotions, and affections on the Lord Jesus Christ. No background music. Just silence.

10 to Transform.

In a place where you will not be disturbed sit as comfortably as you can, back straight to prevent you from nodding off, close your eyes and focus your heart and mind on God. It sometimes helps to use an anchoring phrase such as "Lord Jesus, I adore you," or whatever you feel in your spirit at the time. If (when) your mind wanders down some irrelevant "bunny trail" mentally pray your anchoring phrase. It will immediately bring your consciousness back into the Presence of the Beloved.

Genuine Contemplative Intimacy

I confess I usually have so much going on inside my head I find myself using an anchoring phrase many times during even one short session of Silent Contemplative Prayer. That is unless God grants me the grace of a few moments of genuine contemplative intimacy. Timer. When that happens the entire world fades into the distant background, heaven touches the earth, and time is no more.

Use a timer so you are not opening your eyes to look at your watch. I use a simple kitchen timer or if I am sitting on a park bench I use the countdown timer on my watch. For those few ten minutes you will enter a timeless eternity, one that some days will feel like a sublime few seconds, and other days will indeed seem like an agonizing infinity. On the sublime days you may want to linger in that gift after your timer signals the session has ended.

Proper Approach

Come with purity of heart. Come with no agenda. Come not to hear from God, see a vision, feel His Presence, get power for ministry, or spend time in the heavenlies. Just come to spend focussed time with the Lover of your soul. Should He be pleased to grace you with an unusual experience that is His choice. But we are here to simply be with him, wanting nothing but Him, and Him alone.

His Pleasure, not Yours

In Silent Contemplative Prayer
you are there for His pleasure,
not you own.

This is important so I repeat, in Silent Contemplative Prayer you are there for His pleasure, not you own. Not to see, hear or feel anything. If He graces you with a vision, His still small voice, or a felt sense of His Presence, that is a gift. Let it not be an expectation. This is the one prayer that really is all about Him, and not about you. Simply be present to God. Nothing more; nothing less.

Silent Contemplative Prayer is not a technique with guaranteed results. It is simply presenting oneself before the Lord. Sometimes we are blessed to receive a gift of His grace and we experience the sublime joy of real felt contemplative intimacy with God, other times we are just faithful. Either way, felt or known by faith, the intimacy is there, and God is well pleased.

These ten minutes of intimacy with God will transform your day, and your life. And leave you wanting more.

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