Prayer and Meditation

Dear CCOV Family,

I am so pleased to hear how you are all carrying on in my absence with programs, speakers, and a plan to get to know one another more deeply.  How I wish I lived in Scottsdale!  Even though I am enjoying summer travels, sometimes it is hard living 100+ miles away.

Last weekend my good friend Sharon and I traveled to Las Vegas to meet up with some of our other friends. The best part was time spent with Sharon riding in the car.  She is one of the wisest, most deeply spiritual and Christian of my friends outside of our own church.  While passing through the high desert scenery, we had an intense discussion about prayer and meditation.  Her church, Unity, teaches that prayer is asking God for what we need and want (what we are mostly inclined to do), but meditation is more like “being still and knowing that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  In other words, meditation is quieting our minds in order to listen to God speaking to us.  I just love the way that she differentiated prayer from meditation!  Immediately Psalm 19:14 sprang to mind: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  Her words and this verse from Psalms reminded me that prayer is a two-way street.  We ask for things, but we also need to carve out time to listen to God.

I confessed to Sharon that I have terrible time quieting my mind and listening to God.    She suggested several, disciplined approaches.  Mindfulness is one, something increasingly prescribed by medical practitioners.  I downloaded an app on my iPhone that guides me through a daily mindfulness meditation, but I haven’t been terribly faithful.  She suggested I call the Buddhist Temple in Chino Valley to see about a possible class, to which I would commit.  I vowed to do that or find some other structured, in-person practice that would hold me accountable.

Quieting our minds has never been much of a practice in our Christian circles, but oh how we need to do this!  Yoga teachers have long taught that the mind is like a “drunken monkey stung by a scorpion.”  Our brains are full of chatter, consumed by our concerns, but not terribly attuned to God’s reality. My next goal is to open more deeply to God and have the “meditations of my heart be acceptable in God’s sight.”  Perhaps we can share with one another one Sunday later this summer what our practices are of listening to God.  I will be most interested.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Sandi