Center Down: Prayer in the Struggle for Justice

Today’s blog is by Jessie Smith “How good it is to center down! To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!” — “How Good To Center Down,” Howard Thurman Spiritual nurture: essential and pragmatic Walking the three or four blocks to Capitol Hill from Union Station week after week takes its toll. For the […]

What Holding A Newborn Can Teach Us About God’s Amazing Love

Today’s blog is by Tom Adams Sometimes I find it very difficult to appreciate and accept how much God loves me and you. The world seems kind of gloomy; my own and others’ imperfections seem to shout at me. Other times I get a glimpse of the tenderness and sweetness of God’s love and am […]

Meditation Club

Today’s post is by Bryan Berghoef I recently gathered with some friends for a time of silence at what we are calling, “Meditation Club.” There’s no big agenda. No expected outcomes. Simply the chance to come and meet in the quiet. I try to take time to meditate on my own regularly, but I have […]

Remaining Calm

Today’s post is by Bryan Berghoef I recently came across these words from Thich Nhat Hanh, which he wrote nearly thirty years ago: “Many of us worry about the situation of the world. We feel that we are on the edge of time. As individuals, we feel helpless, despairing. The situation is so dangerous, injustice is […]

Being Contemplative in the Digital Age: 6 Tips to Nourish Your Prayer Practice

Prayer is often thought of as speaking to God but prayer doesn’t have to be about speaking. It can be about silence and listening. This practice from the Christian contemplative tradition can serve to help calm the storm of stimuli that is part of living in the digital age.

St. Benedict, a sixth century spiritual leader, advised his monks to “listen with the ear of the heart,” that is, to listen deeply, noticing the many ways God spoke to them in their daily activities as well as through scripture and worship.

There are many ways to pray, many ways to open to God’s living presence and nurture an awareness of the sacred in daily life. Whether you are just beginning on a spiritual path or seeking to deepen your spiritual practice, here are some ways to begin or begin again.

Sit.

I was praying and filled to the brim with so many ideas, desires, and hopes. I was looking for a new direction, a calling, next steps, and a road map clarifying the journey ahead. In my earnest prayer, I asked, “Lord, what shall I do next?” I sensed a small whisper of an answer. I heard this:

“ Sit.”

Surely, I must have missed something. Sit? Was this it? I was hoping for something with at least two syllables, something grander, maybe even life changing! I thought perhaps I must have misheard, so I prayed again and again and then again on another day. The answer was always the same, a gentle loving nudge to do nothing else but “Sit.”

Just a Minute

During a turbulent period, my regular practice of spending time in silence fell apart. I turned to a local meditation teacher, seeking guidance to re-establish my practice. His advice blew me away.

Open and Available [audio guided meditation]

Today’s post is an audio guided meditation by Patience Robbins. Feel free to tune in on your iPhone or mobile device, and find a quiet place to listen.

Pause, Wash, Rinse and Drain

Today’s post is by Christine Berghoef. Growing up in an old farm house with limited kitchen upgrades, I used to question my mom and dad’s sanity in their choice to not install a dishwasher. Between my parents, me, and my three growing brothers who seemed to put down several meals between meals throughout any given […]

Soul Assignment

Today’s post is by Susan Rowland. This is a transcript of her audio testimony highlighting her experience in Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program. You may also listen to her tell her story by clicking on the video above.

My experience with the Shalem program “Leading Contemplative Prayer groups and Retreats” was unique in so many ways. At the residencies, we were among a circle of talented people, gathered with the intention of deepening their life and leadership in contemplative practice. The breadth and expression of faith was so rich. Small groups provided a safe opportunity to try out different prayer practices in an open, experiential, supportive space. I will be forever grateful for the emphasis on simple explanations of prayer practices so that the Spirit is “free to move about the cabin” of the gathering.

What made that possible was the Shalem program leadership, modeling something so beautiful and authentic in all that they offered. I have been to programs where they teach by telling you what to do. At Shalem, the leaders revealed their personal passion to us through each teaching. Their words and presence were alive – resonating and bouncing off all of our hearts– together, we laughed, we walked, we played with art, we talked a lot over meals. They truly entered into the community with us.