Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46v10
PRAYER is encounter – God’s action in us
Place & Posture
Find the right place for you – that fits what you need.
The best posture is what leads you to be attentive and relaxed at the same time.
Pray as you can, Not as you can’t!
Here are three ways of coming to greater stillness and attentiveness – ways into deeper prayer.
Find what Suits you – These can be just relaxing exercises – attentive preparations for other methods of prayer – or in themselves a still, attentive prayer of presence.
“I need to be still and let God love me I need to relax and let God take over” (African American Hymn)
Prayer is a gift
Sit in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes or simply gaze (at nature, a candle….)
Allow a feeling of relaxation to flow from the top of your head into your forehead…
as you breathe out, breathe away any tension in your forehead…
let that feeling of relaxation flow into your face…
into the small muscles around your eyes, nose, mouth..,
let your jaws relax..,
as you breathe out, breathe away any tension in your face…
let that feeling of relaxation flow into your neck, across your shoulders…
breathe away any tension…
down your upper arms, lower arms to your fingertips…
breathing away tension…
with each breath you take, let the tension of the day ebb away…,
with each breath you take, allow yourself to become as deeply relaxed as you want to be at this time..,
continue down through your body…
relaxing the muscles..,
down into your chest..,
the trunk of your body…
down the front of your legs, into your ankles, into your feet, into your toes…
then from the top of your head down the back of your head into your neck,
down your back, your buttocks, the back of your legs and into your feet…
gently and slowly breathing away the tension,
letting go and letting God be God.
Sit in a comfortable position – relaxed with back straight
Concentrate all your attention on the physical feeling of breathing in, then of breathing out. Do not deliberately change your breathing.
If this exercise were to cause you breathlessness, abandon it!
If the exercise makes you feel so relaxed that you become drowsy, then you are doing it well!
If you are rested and want to turn this exercise into more explicit prayer, then let your in-breath express all that you long for, and your out-breath be a surrender of yourself together with all your worries, anxieties, guilt, pain. (Don’t moralize or judge yourself.)
Identify each sound you can hear. (Don’t rush, don’t strain, concentrate attention wholly on each sound you can hear.)
Sudden sounds and distractions should be acknowledged – Then bring attention back to where you were.
For a sequence, seek the sound… move from inside to outside the room and back again, then inside yourself finally to the sound of your breathing.
This exercise can be turned into explicit prayer by recognising God’s presence in the sounds and what they symbolise: people, nature etc.