Sometimes our relationship with God can be like this – We talk to God, but get little communication back. We get frustrated in our relationship with God and the harder we try to pray the more discouraged we get, until sometimes we give up praying altogether. If this sounds familiar to you, I invite you to try contemplative prayer. Jesus says, "Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me," John 15:4. That's what contemplative prayer means, abiding, resting, remaining or relaxing in God's presence. Contemplative prayer might look different for each of us, it can be simply sitting quietly for 20 minutes, taking a walk in nature, baking bread, gardening, knitting, or anything else that helps you still your mind. The key is the intentionality of "being" with God in these times instead of forcing a relationship.
Brennan Manning, in "Abba's Child" says, "Contemplative prayer is above all else looking at the person of Jesus. The prayer of simple awareness means we don't have to get anywhere because we are already there.” Living in the awareness of the risen Jesus is not a trivial pursuit for the bored and lonely or a defense mechanism enabling us to cope the stress and sorrow of life. It is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ."
My experience with contemplative prayer has been a blessing that has deepened my relationship with God and then extended into my relationship with others.