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Continuous Prayer Throughout the Day

Updated on February 28, 2013

Always With the Divine

There is a quality - I call it the Divine, but I could also call it Life, God, Reality, Heaven and Earth - that is always present, and yet also beyond all things. Within all religions, and outside them, there are traditions that seek to be aware of this Divine Presence at all times. In Christianity, mystics of the Eastern church called it "continuous prayer." It is Sufism in the Muslim world, and Bakti to the Hindus. In Judaism and Vietnamese Zen, a verse goes with each and every action throughout the day. Athletes call it the Zone, and doctors call it The Relaxation Response. It doesn't matter what tradition inspires us. What matters is that, however we think of it, we can practice entering a state of Peace that is deeply wonderful and Divine, and become a gift to the world, each moment of each and every day.

How do we remain continuously aware of the Divine each and every breath of the day, waking and sleeping.

We can't, but there is another way.

We can't remain aware of the Divine because distraction and forgetfulness (also called avidya, or ignorance) is simply part of being human.

But we can remind ourselves many times a day. And that is part of the solution.

Three Steps to Continuous Prayer

There are three steps to continuous prayer. And if we want to succeed, we must do them each and every day.

The first is formal practice. I know of five spiritual teachers from five different traditions, all of whom say we must practice in mind and/or body at least an hour a day, or we slide back into illness, confusion, and forgetfulness. That may be prayer or silent meditation, or spiritual reading, or conscious exercise. A blend of body and mind activities is a very good idea. So, an hour or more of formal practice, each and every day. Before you say you are too busy, let me point out two things. One, you can do this while you are on the subway, or driving. Two, if you do this regularly, you will need less sleep and waste much less time.

The second is Last Feeling / First Feeling. Pick a word, such as Love or Peace, and breathe with that word as you drift off to sleep, and then, again, as you wake up early in the morning. Do this each and every evening and morning, and when you take naps, as well. This aligns the unconscious mind with the intention to be with the Divine each moment.

The third is Reminders. Let us accept that we forget. It is our nature. So, many times a day, let us use a reminder. It can be a bell set to ring every quarter-hour. It can be standing up, or sitting down, or seeing a person. It can be clicking the mouse, or writing an email, or answering the phone.

And when we receive a reminder, let us stop and straighten our spine, and relax. Let us breathe deeply three times, and return to our natural breathing. And let us place a prayer, a bit of gratitude, or a reminder of the Divine on our lips, flowing out with the breath.

When we do this, day and night, we let go of the confused and cluttered thinking mind and the tight emotions and fear that keep us separate from the Divine. No matter what our religion - or without religion - we can dwell in this peaceful and joyous state. When we do, we, naturally share peace and joy with the world.

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    • SidKemp profile imageAUTHOR

      Sid Kemp 

      8 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Yes, Rochelle. Every in breath is a cause for gratitude for the air we breathe, and every outbreath a chance to share the gift of life.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 years ago from California Gold Country

      Yes, I think 'mindfullness' or living in the moment is similar to being in prayer.

      I have often thought that the example that Christ gave of being thankful for the bread and wine-- which gave rise to the tradition of grace before meals, was to remind us to be thankful and connected to God daily-- at LEAST as often as we eat-- hopefully more often.... continuing to become as often as we breathe...

    • SidKemp profile imageAUTHOR

      Sid Kemp 

      8 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Randy, thank you for your insightful words. The Vietnamese Zen tradition combines sacred words and the breath in a practice called the gatha, or breath poem. The sacred word can be a point of focus until the mind unites with the Divine deeper than words.

      Words are the link while we are still separate. Deeper than words is union with The Word.

    • Randy M. profile image

      Randy McLaughlin 

      8 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Sid, you have touched upon traditions of the East and West, as did Thomas Merton. Centering prayer centers around the sacred word, and if we keep that sacred word with us throughout the day, we are constantly praying. Some use the breath as in the Eastern meditation traditions, but the sacred word is perhaps a more common choice in Western culture. If one follows that path deeply, entering into contemplation is possible, as did the saints. Merton's work on prayer is deeply inspiring for those who follow this path.

    • SidKemp profile imageAUTHOR

      Sid Kemp 

      8 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      May your prayer life deepen and become more powerful.

    • bigjessy profile image

      Jessica 

      8 years ago from GERMANY

      Your summary will help me a lot! :)

    • SidKemp profile imageAUTHOR

      Sid Kemp 

      9 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Thanks g-girl! The whole world needs more people living in Love and Peace all day and all night long!

    • g-girl11 profile image

      g-girl11 

      9 years ago

      This is wonderfully written and just flowed. I love practical techniques that I can put into action and this hub gave me several. Well done! I look forward to more of your writing on similar topics. Voted up, useful, and awesome!

    • SidKemp profile imageAUTHOR

      Sid Kemp 

      9 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Yes, both the methods I talk about and Merton's Contemplative Prayer, as developed under the name Centering Prayer, have roots in Zen meditation.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      9 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      In Catholicism, Contiuous Prayer is more like a relay race. It's when a group dedicates itself to keeping a prayer going day and night,such as adoration of the blessed sacrament. The term in Catholicism for the sort of prayer described here is, I think, Contemplative Prayer. Thomas Merton wrote a book about it. See also

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_contemplati...

    • SidKemp profile imageAUTHOR

      Sid Kemp 

      9 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      That's a very good point. Yes, mindfulness - even though it is considered meditation, not prayer - is much the same in feeling and effect. And the Buddha did recommend mindfulness at all times, not just during meditation!

    • promaine profile image

      promaine 

      9 years ago from New York

      This sounds wonderful. Your summary of these techniques is really helpful. Is this similar to Buddhist "mindfulness?"

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