The first time I tried to meditate was a total and complete disaster – at least it felt like one to me. I loved everything about the candlelit prayer service I was attending, so I was surprised to discover that when we were invited to sit in prayerful silence, I was instantly confronted with something I was not a fan of: the racing thoughts in my own mind. Before that, I had no idea how much I had going on up there! Looking back, I think I was just too busy to pay attention.
I didn’t realize what a gift it was to encounter those thoughts that had been lurking under the surface of my life! I just assumed I was bad at meditating and avoided it for many years after that. No one told me it’s normal for the Holy Spirit to shine a light on unwelcome thoughts in prayer, and no one told me about the deep inner peace and healing I could discover if I persevered in a regular spiritual practice, giving God space to gradually replace all of those thoughts with awareness of Christ’s loving presence in my life. So, I just pushed those thoughts aside the best I could and carried on with a meditation-free lifestyle.
Becoming a mom is what finally motivated me to forge the daily contemplative prayer practice that continues to transform my life from the inside out. In a way, motherhood was like a meditation in and of itself. The love I had for my son brought me closer to God, which brought all of my fears, brokenness, insecurities and doubts straight to the surface to be healed. There was no escaping them!
Instead of trying to distract myself, I chose to persevere in prayer. During the quiet, mundane tasks of motherhood like rocking my son to sleep, taking him for long walks, washing the dishes and folding laundry, I learned to focus on God’s heavenly presence, right there with me.
The more I cleared out my baggage and made room for God in my heart, the more His Spirit began to take over my life. Before I knew it, I was using every free moment to pray, study about God’s miraculous healing power, attend a prayer group, volunteer at church or listen to K-LOVE Christian radio. I began taking small leaps of faith in my daily life, choosing to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and trust God even when He was leading me outside my comfort zone.
Even though there were some serious struggles in my life, God filled me with peace and a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. Inspiring faith-filled people started to come into my life, and we were blessed with many miracles I still hope to write about and one that was particularly significant and changed my life forever. You can read the story of when my second son was miraculously healed of kidney disease here if you want.
When God miraculously healed my son and I encountered the Holy Spirit in a palpable way that confirmed my faith on a deep level, I began wanting to share my belief in miracles with others. Over the years, I have learned this is harder than it sounds! The more I share, the more I realize how much I have to learn.
I tend to get ahead of myself and think I should be doing more than I’m called to do. Instead, God continuously calls me into the stillness of prayer for healing, comfort, renewal, guidance, peace and wisdom. Again and again, God asks me to be patient and surrender my plans to blindly trust His, which don’t make any sense to me. Consistently, God calls me to do small things with love and work on personal holiness in my daily life – this keeps me really busy because I have a long way to go!
By teaching me to let go of my attachment to doing things my way and guiding me into a life of deep spirituality and blind trust, God has called me to realize the inherent value of prayer as an act worthy of our time and attention. Though my faith has been tested and tried beyond what I could have imagined when I said my first “yes” to God so many years ago, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of prayer more than ever, especially in hard times because that’s when we’re given the most pure opportunities for personal transformation.
Sometimes, I feel really close to God in prayer. Other times, I just muddle through. I’ve learned that prayer isn’t about having grand mystical experiences or receiving miracles, though both are well within the realm of possibility and even normal for those, who persist in prayer!
Contemplative prayer is just about showing up into the silence, seeking God and staying there as an act of faith, whether or not we can feel His presence on any given day and whether or not we are getting the “results” we want in our daily lives. I’ve learned that even having the desire to pray is a sign that God is already within us. Our job is just to create space for Him in our lives and leave the rest to Him, gradually learning to trust His will and love Him above all things.
Right now since I have another new baby in the house, I’m right back at square one, where my prayer life truly began. Rather than having a set meditation time, I am seeking God while rocking her to sleep and in the quiet moments of taking care of her. My contemplative prayer practice is largely about trying to be present wherever I am, allowing God’s love to guide me and flow through me to others. It’s the best I can do right now! And thankfully I’ve learned it’s more than enough.
I’m creating Contemplative Prayer Circle because I want to share my love of prayer and knowledge about prayer with others, who are on the same journey of learning to trust God that I am. I want to provide encouragement and support to others, who are willing to persevere in faith and do the hard inner work necessary to grow closer to Christ one step at a time. I hope Contemplative Prayer Circle can be safe place to grow in depth, wisdom and relationship with God through prayer for faith-filled souls, who could use a little support prioritizing prayer in daily life.
Well, that’s more than enough of my own thoughts on prayer and the Contemplative Prayer Circle. I want to hear all about yours!
What is your experience of prayer so far? What are you hoping to gain by being part of the Contemplative Prayer Circle? Do you have any questions about meditation or prayer that you’d like to tackle together? Comment below, and we can start traveling this inner journey toward God together! I look forward to hearing your story.
PS – Don’t miss this outstanding resource on prayer! If you get a chance, I highly recommend listening to the latest Abiding Together podcast on Cultivating a Life of Prayer. You’ll hear three authentic women talk about their prayer lives at different ages and stages – every word is heart-centered and informative! You can listen here or click on the image they created below:
Lord, teach us to pray! Help us find the time to spend with you in silence, and draw us ever deeper into prayer. Guide us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, and help us to hear Your voice in our hearts. Give us the grace to trust in You more. Bless this Contemplative Prayer Circle to be a circle of trust, where we can safely support each other on our spiritual journeys, which can be so arduous and joyful. In Jesus name, we pray.
Written by Nicky Gant for www.uniteinprayer.org 5/28/2019