Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

Tuesdays and Fridays over the summer I’ve been meeting with a small handful of students to practice contemplative prayer. It is a surprisingly convivial time, actually, as we are delighted to finally see and spend time with each other and excited to learn something new. We sit in the Edge House chapel and chat a little about a form of contemplative prayer, then practice it together, often in silence, then share about what we noticed. We also incorporate silence at the beginning of Nosh and our discipleship groups, on retreats, even in some of the board games we play, if you can believe it. In silence, we hear sirens on the road, our stomachs growling, the dishwasher finishing up. And in silence, we can hear the still small voice of God welcoming us into where they already are. 

I have found this contemplative time immensely filling in my own spiritual life. It’s hard to talk about because most things I could say about contemplation sound cliché or even weak for what the experience is. Human language falls short. Taking time to pause, to pay attention, to breathe, allows me to be present in the moment. I can see myself more clearly. God draws near, or rather God was already and always near and I’m more able to see that. I find an ethereal calm that I wish for at stressful moments. Yet contemplative prayer or meditation are not about inducing a permanent state of calm, much as that would be helpful! They’re about that presence, about being aware of what’s happening within you and without you in every moment, and about inviting God’s presence in every moment. Do you see what I mean? It starts to sound odd when you try to put it into words. 

Now, all that said, I’m pretty bad at keeping a regular contemplative discipline. My kids get up before me so my prayer corner isn’t the quiet haven I want, I get distracted by my phone, there are any number of reasons I miss a day or 5. But when I am meditating every day, it changes me. It doesn’t induce that permanent enlightenment that many of us want—regular prayer doesn’t stop us from being offended or irrationally sad, it doesn’t take away our grief or make our celebrations purer. But it does help us to be more aware of here and now, which are all we really have anyway. Contemplative prayer allows me the space to be aware of God already moving.

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