Two months ago, we were visited by members of The Community of the Transfiguration, a Baptist monastic community situated in Teesdale, Victoria, and we had the opportunity over five days to experience different forms of contemplative prayer.
As you know, one of our church goals is exploring what it means to follow Jesus today, and this year we have been focusing on prayer, along with other spiritual disciplines which have can invigorate our lives as individuals and as a community. Our emphasis has been more than just praying set prayers at set times but seeing prayer as an opportunity to ‘wake up’ to the presence of God in our lives no matter where we are or what we are doing.
To continue to inculcate this way of approaching prayer, there are several gatherings happening in the life of our church.
This afternoon, from 5 to 6pm, in the Lounge, Martin will be leading a time of Centring Prayer. This form of prayer was developed largely by three US Trappist monks; William Meninger, Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating. They researched sources from the early church to develop a simple method of silent prayer. The name ‘Centring Prayer’ probably developed in reference to Thomas Merton’s description that prayer is ‘centred entirely’ on the presence of God.
Anyone is welcome to come to this time, to explore this form of prayer if it is new to you, particularly those ‘whom grace has drawn to contemplation’.
Prayer in the Spirit of Taizé
Next month, on the second Sunday, 10th November, we will be gathering again for a time of contemplative prayer, this time drawing on the resources of the Taizé community in France. It will be a time of prayer where we sing some of our prayers, simple chants that are repeated so that the ‘words can move from our head to our heart’. Between the sung chants there are times where Scripture is read, times of silence and spoken prayer.
Wednesday Prayer at 7:30am
Every week, however, there is also the opportunity to gather for a time of quiet prayer. Usually we read or listen to a passage of Scripture (sometimes using the Pray as you go app https://pray-as-you-go.org/) and take time to meditate or to pray out loud. As well as those who gather at church there are others group who join with us in prayer from their homes. We have moved this time to 7:30am (from 8:30am) in the hope that more people might be able to make this part of their Wednesday morning routine.
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them…” Let us give thanks for these opportunities to become aware, to ‘wake up’, to the presence of God among us.