Please select an issue from the list on the right, to view the articles which have been uploaded to the website.

Issue 32

The Experience of the Local Prayer Group

The Heart of the life of the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer rests on the life and the experience of the local Contemplative Prayer Group.  Many readers of this page will know exactly what I mean and will have been involved in a group for many years.  Others may not, and may wonder the value of belonging to a group or perhaps starting one of their own.                      

 We have a group which meets each month and I asked the members to write down a couple of sentences of what it meant to them.   Here are some quotations from their responses: 

 Mary writes: I have found the opportunity to leave behind the noise and business of the world for a while to be a gift.  I find the focus on a short but meaningful ‘saying’ is of a great help when I have been overwhelmed by sadness or loneliness of guilt.  Then we go deeper … Finally, we enfold others in the love and prayers of the group

 John writes: I have a ‘butterfly brain’, ‘a shopping list mentality’.  I am still easily distracted … but words from the Bible which are so familiar take on a fresh meaning as I apply them personally.  It is so much easier to do this in company with others, than if I was on my own.  

Jean writes:  In the first part we look at the context in which the words were first used so that we can imagine ourselves as part of it  … then we listen more deeply in the context of our own lives … this is very moving before we  voice our concerns and allow God to speak through us to those for whom we are praying …  

Jill writes: The importance for me is that the group is led contemplative prayer, in silence, with a group of Christian friends.   It is a special time to experience the presence of God … something to carry with me into the days ahead.  

Andris writes: What I have brought with me … recedes into the background and is subject to the healing influence of the saying.  Even if I cannot attain a higher state of contemplation, I am made aware of God’s loving presence among all the things that concern me.  

 Elizabeth writes: It is a wonderful hour of reflection and peacefulness with friends and a chance to concentrate on God and listen to him.  Later, I emerge with a feeling of calm, happiness and hope in God’s reassurance for us all.  

David writes: I thought I would be escaping from reality.  What I find is that I am engaging with the reality of God and what Jesus has done for us, but also engaging with the reality of the suffering of my friends and of the world around us.  

We meet twice a month, one is in the day-time and one in the evening, one is in Church and the other in a home, one is primarily arranged so that people who go out to work can attend more easily.  We use the same material from ‘Sayings for Stillness’ which is published by the Fellowship for each meeting of the group.