Since intimacy with Jesus is so very personal, and His way of coming to us is defined by Him according to who each of us are in relation to Him, our experience with Him will be unique and very personal. We do not want to define contemplative prayer by a certain method.
Through the ages this devotional approach has been called various names. Madame Guyon called it, “The Inner Way.” Brother Lawrence named this practice of contemplation and fellowship, “Practicing His Presence.” Others have referred to this practice by such names as; “Waiting on God,” “Basking in His Presence,” “Centering Prayer,” “Beholding the Christ Within,” “Way of the Heart,” and the “Prayer of Silence”. These names and many others are as diverse and unique as the individuals who pursued communion with the Indwelling Christ.
In Contemplative Prayer, a silent waiting in faith on the Indwelling Christ is our beginning point. Our intention is to focus on our reality with the Indwelling Christ, who has taken up His abode at the center of our being. This devotional life begins with an opening up of our hearts to receive from Him. Our first priority is not to give something to Him or even love Him. We are simply responding to the hunger that He has put in our hearts, we are responding to this hunger by quieting ourselves in His presence to receive His love.
Having received His love, we now are able to begin to return love back to Him. Contemplative Prayer is not so much about searching to “go” someplace to find Him; Christ is already there within us, waiting for us to come apart in silence and to know that He is God and that He works on behalf of those that wait on Him.
In one sense there is no place to get to in contemplative prayer because He is already there, waiting for us. Yet, in another sense there is an interior castle within each one of us that the Lord loves to invite us into. There are depths in His presence reserved for those who come apart and give Him first place. This is our entrance into the glorious inner life that Christ died to give us. May this journey within lead us to the very depths of union and perfect love as Christ lives His life through us!
“Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful and loving infusion of God, which, if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love.”–St. John of the Cross —Used without permission from Chris & Susan Berglund’s site www.christwithin.com