What is Prayer? Why is it important in the Spiritual Life?

As human beings we have a natural inclination toward the transcendent, and prayer is an expression of that inclination. The impulse to pray precedes theology and belief; 'wherever one finds humans, one finds humans at prayer'.* Thus, it is not a surprise that prayer,and prayerful contemplation or meditation, occupy an important place in all faith traditions. What is prayer? People use the terms prayer, contemplation and meditation in different ways. Some think of prayer as referring only to communication with God that we initiate - our talking to God or asking something of God, reserving the term 'contemplation' for listening to God. Some use the terms 'meditation' and 'contemplation' to ref

Struggling with Prayer : A Psychological Perspective

Many people following a spiritual life are often mystified by the fact that when they are most troubled and in need of quiet prayer, they are least likely to find the space for it. There can always seem to be reasons why there isn't time, we have other pressing obligations or we simply forget. And even when we do pray there may be inner resistances to focussing on the very areas of our lives that are most troubling to us. Here, I highlight some of the psychological defences that can, at times, undermine our prayer life. Resistance to prayer may be the result of wanting to avoid some psychological feeling or experience that threatens to surface if we become quiet and relaxed; something that

Prayer Life Series

For most people following the spiritual life prayer can be a source of great strength and joy. It can, however, at other times also confront us with questions, problems, guilt, confusion and even discouragement. Certainly, in the work of spiritual direction it never ceases to be a topic of reflection for those following a spiritual path. So, in this series I seek to explore what is prayer? What is its purpose? And to look at various practical issues around prayer drawing on my work in the interface of spiritual direction and psychology. Prayer is a place and source of great joy and great struggle in the spiritual life, whatever your tradition may be. It also has the capacity to be the very m

Spiritual Life and Our Emotions Part 3 : Practical Prayer

Having looked at some of the benefits and challenges of our emotions in the spiritual life and journey, we can now explore some practical ancient ways of meditative prayer to facilitate this process. The key is to find, and rest in, a place of undefended awareness where we can open to the divine with intention of heart in the midst of our emotional turmoil; returning again and again to the unconditional divine embrace that offers us this freedom of heart. So, below, I explore a practical meditative way of being with all our emotional and feeling process as it is, without getting caught up in all our pained stories about it. This is a contemplative process of giving time to assimilate and dig

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    © 2019 Anne Solomon@Spiritual-Life.