Praying the Psalms can be one of the most powerful ways to expand your prayer language and express inner longings that may otherwise go unspoken. Additionally, they’re an invaluable source of learning about both theological truths and emotional responses.
Use images as tools for meditation and contemplation, drawing upon Buddhist meditation practice with a Christian goal in mind: deepening your relationship to God.
One of the most creative forms of prayer is visualization. This technique involves seeing something in your mind’s eye before it happens – whether that be a desired outcome, task to be completed, or sport match to take place. There are various methods you can use for visualizing such as finding a quiet place and closing your eyes while thinking about an object or situation you want to envision and visualizing it with all of its details; you could also focus on feelings associated with it as part of this practice.
Another form of visualization involves icons. Icons are religious paintings which depict various theological principles. Although once commonplace in churches, icons are no longer frequently utilized nowadays. You can still use icons as visual cues during prayer to help focus on Jesus as you pray alone or sing praise songs to Him.
Scriptural Prayer is a form of devotional prayer which uses biblical texts as a means to draw closer to God. It can be practiced individually or communally and there are a number of approaches you can take when engaging Scripture through prayer such as Lectio Divina, Meditative and Centering prayer.
Reading scripture aloud or reading it aloud and praying aloud (while pausing your game of online poker on sites mentioned on https://centiment.io meanwhile) allows God to reveal its meaning for you, while reading aloud makes it come alive with sound. Christian prayer also allows for specific graces such as peace, consolation and hope to come into your life more quickly and smoothly. You could even take a pilgrimage through your life visiting each place where God has graced your journey – thanking him for joyous experiences as well as seeking his aid during difficult ones.
2. Centering Prayer
Christian meditation comes in various forms, some rooted in scripture while others more focused on interior life. Scripture meditations such as lectio divina and gospel contemplation provide ways of listening for God through passages from Scripture while other methods may focus on particular prayer themes (peace, consolation or healing) or certain aspects of Christianity such as holiness, evangelism or service.
Centering prayer is one of the most beloved silent meditation techniques, often described as an avenue that leads to “beyond thought”. A practitioner chooses a sacred word that they gently introduce into their mind at the start of each 20-minute sit to symbolize consenting with God’s work in their life and releasing any other thoughts which arise during prayer time.
Many people require the aid of sacred symbols during centering prayer; others prefer breathing deeply or gazing upon God without verbalization. Whatever method you select, be consistent and set an initial time limit of five minutes twice daily and increase it gradually up to 20 minutes twice a day.
Scriptural contemplation involves reading slowly and carefully through a biblical scene, immersing oneself into it through imagination, interacting with characters as you read by asking questions of them or watching how they react as you go along. It can be an engaging way of meeting Jesus and his Gospel narrative; but you could also pray using other biblical narratives.
Christians have used images of Jesus and saints for centuries to help connect to God more directly. These icons may take many forms – wall art or prayer cards can both use icons. Icons typically feature a halo around their images which symbolizes Christ’s light. Icons provide a simple yet effective way of praying through art – especially helpful for those struggling to maintain focus during prayer sessions and who find their minds drifting often!
The icon method of prayer involves softly gazing upon an image and then allowing your mind and heart to interact with it. Take note of its colors, shapes and lines before considering why or what aspects resonate with you – some aspects might evoke feelings such as self-understanding or passion while others provoke doubt and division.
Once you are ready, extend both hands palms up towards an icon to show your surrender to God and spend some time listening for His guidance while letting your thoughts and prayers surface freely.
Psalms provide another means of prayer. Simply read each line aloud as though you’re speaking directly to God and eventually these lines may become part of your own personal prayers. Sing along to musical versions of Psalms when praying to create rhythm, emotion and theological truth into each of the songs – you may even discover personal ones! Utilizing scripture this way helps prevent your mind from wandering while making prayer more like conversing with a loving father: you won’t run out of things to say! And your prayers may more closely align with Scripture and God’s will.
4. Visio Divina
Visio Divina (divine seeing), an ancient form of prayer related to lectio divina but featuring images instead of Scripture as its source, can help us encounter God through them and listen for what he may be showing us through them. This form of engagement with prayerful contemplation can take place with religious icons, art from other cultures or images from nature itself.
Begin your prayer session by choosing an image you can pray with, such as a stained glass window, icon or painting by an established artist. Your focus can either be overtly religious or exploring something you haven’t experienced before.
Take one to two minutes to pause and observe an image carefully for one to two minutes, noting its colors, people and places. Engage your imagination by considering whether this scene might represent something from biblical history. Observe any reactions to it – positive or negative. Finally, reflect upon these responses and ask what God may be communicating through it.
When you feel ready, pray to express your thanks, intercession or lament to God or simply rest in his presence.
Visio Divina differs from Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina by using any image – religious art from church services or websites can even be used. Saint John’s Bible uses various artistic styles to tell its tale.
5. Group Prayer
Prayer in groups allows Christians to open up and share details that they might feel uncomfortable revealing alone. Group prayers can serve as times of worship and fellowship as well as being an avenue to share worries and needs with fellow Christians. Group prayers can range from short informal gatherings to longer sessions with more organized activities – either way group prayer can harness the collective power of many to further God’s work on earth.
Preparing for a group prayer session requires providing clear instructions as to its purpose and structure, in order to prevent people from feeling awkward or lost during prayer time. Furthermore, having someone lead and direct this event would be useful; but ultimately the group can pray as they feel led.
Agenda Items may include Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Requests. For instance, groups could read a Scripture passage and pray it aloud together as Adoration; after praying aloud they could discuss what the Lord showed them during that prayer session.
Other ideas for group prayer time could include having everyone write out their requests on an index card, then passing it around for everyone to pray over throughout the week. Another suggestion could be dividing into pairs and praying over each other’s needs – for instance missionaries they sponsor, children they sponsor etc… This will create deeper bonds among members and allow easier discussion about personal matters.