Bringing the Reader to Speed
In the first article, I wrote on definitions on prayer, when prayer starts and some of the components of prayer. While in the second article I finished my brief exegesis on components of prayer. The third article is centered on those who should pray. The fourth is on some of the reasons why talk (pray) to our heavenly father. The fifth article is on places of prayer while the sixth and seventh centered on occasions that move men to pray unto God. The eight article is on period (time) that men can pray. The ninth article focuses on how we should be praying. In the tenth article I write on a type of prayer, which is the prayer of thanksgiving.
While in the eleventh article I talked about three types of prayers which are, prayer of praise, prayer of worship and prayer of dedication (consecration). In the twelfth article I have talked about the following types of prayer: prayer of supplication, prayer of agreement, corporate prayer, prayer of commitment and prayer of imprecation. And in the thirteenth article I talked about prayer of vengeance, prayer of restoration, prayer of forgiveness, prayer of repentance and silent prayer. Article fourteen focuses on prayer of binding and loosing.
As I continue with different types of prayer that we have in Christianity here, I shall be focusing on the prayer of contemplation.
16. Prayer of Contemplation
Contemplation is defined by Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as the act of thinking deep about something or the act of looking at something in a calm and careful way.
The person who will be praying this kind of prayer is a person who thinks deep about something, the person who is not in hasty and more importantly the person who have a deeper reflection and thought about the Lord always. This type of person is the person who delights himself in the Lord.
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Ps. 37:4)
It would perhaps be difficult for someone to delight himself in something that he hardly thinks about. As we think about such thing our heart would tend toward becoming like the thing with time, or better put we would start imitating such thing.
How to Grow in Contemplation
Having seen that this kind of prayer talks about someone who thinks deeply about God and wanting to be like that God. The beneath shows us how we can grow in this kind of prayer.
I. Having a Venue and a Time of Prayer
It is when one starts thinking about someone that one would be creating time for the person. Thus, when we have become intimate with God, we would also want to create time to be talking to him as a friend, a partner, a lover. Jesus himself, who always thinks about his heavenly father creates time to meet with him daily. (Acts 3:1ff; Mk. 1:35)
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mar 1:35)
So many people living in the industrialized towns usually complain about time to pray. But they can do as Jesus did, rising before dawn to pray unto their heavenly father. They may return home tired and fagged out daily, but in the morning before dawn they can turn that to time of talking with their father.
This has happened to me before, I used to be worn out when I return home and would hardly have time to pray, but then when I discovered this verse, rising up in the morning, before the day break, then I resort to using this Jesus method and my mind was at ease.
You can also try this. He does not say at midnight, but before the day eventually break forth.
II. Everything That One Needs for the Prayer Should Be Taken Along
This kind of prayer sometimes may require one leaving for the wilderness, a place of prayer to talk to his God, and when one wants to do that one should ensure that he takes along those things that he would need for the prayer.
Sometimes back when I was frequent at some solitary place of prayer, I discovered that some people would come to the place without taking things they would require along and when they get to the place they will start borrowing. This is not very good. One should be wiser than the devil by taken along those things that one would need during those periods along.
Although at times irrespective of well preparation one may still discover that one forgets something or that some of the things one takes along to the venue gets finished during the course of staying there, and one would borrow one or two things before one leaves the venue. That is understandable it is not like a person who now goes to a place and completely rely on someone else for his sustenance during the period of staying at the place. We should try as best as we could while embarking on such trip not to inconvenient others. (Gen. 22:7…)
III. The Reasons for Praying Such Prayer Should Be Clear
While embarking on a prayer of contemplation, a prayer of deep thought that may likely take us our of where we are to another place, we need to have a reason or reasons for embarking on such trip.
“And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” (I Kings 19:5)
Prophet Elijah prayed this kind of prayer when he was depressed and was wearied of life. However, when about to go to the place he was met with by angels who fed him before embarking on such trip. It worth stating that he had a reason for embarking on that trip, despite having knowledge about Yahweh, yet he had reason for this trip at this time.
Thus, we should not say it is because someone says this or that, that that is why we are embarking on the trip, but we should also have what we are seeking for by ourselves.
IV. We Need to Learn How to Be Still and Quiet Before Him
Praying this kind of prayer, prayer of deep thought, deep reflection about something, God, our faith, our relationships, our business and all what not, we need to learn how to be silent before him. We should not make it a monologue in the sense that we are the only one talking but we should make room for God to also speak to us on the issue apart from what he would drop in our hearts. It is because we want to meet with God and know him more that we have embarked on such trip, thence we should allow him to speak to us.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” (Isa. 30:15)
“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” (1 Thes. 4:11)
Points to Note About Being Still Before God
a) Being still is Not Easy to Practice: It will interest you to know that being still is not easy to practice. At least the present global lockdown has shown many people that it is not easy to be kept somewhere for days. While embarking on this type of prayer, being still is essential it is one of the requirements.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still…” (Ex. 14:13a)
We shall understand this when we read of the story of King Saul, we shall all recall that it was because he was unable to be still before God that was why the kingdom was not established with him. (I Sam. 13:13-14)
b) Being Still Requires Discipline: A person who shall grow in this prayer life would be a person who could discipline himself. Some people cannot discipline themselves when it comes to doing some things, watching television, using their phones, they cannot leave their business for a while to have dialogue with their heavenly father. We have to learn to discipline ourselves.
c) It Requires Constant Practice: Being still before the Lord to think about some things in our lives and or think about the Lord and talk to him require constant practice. Nothing comes easily. Anyone who would become a good writer would constantly be practicing it. Sportsmen do not get to the limelight the day they started, even those who depend on metaphysical powers, would still practice for a while before they emerge as stars in their field. It is same with us if we want to grow in this “stillness” before the Lord, we must be practicing it regularly.
d) It Will Not Happen Overnight or in a Day: As a child does not start to walk immediately the child is given birth to, so can this not happen overnight, it would take time and we must know that. (Ecc. 3:1ff; 11:1ff; Ps. 126:5)
V. Constant Reading and Meditation is Required
It requires reading and meditating in the word of God.
“And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
“And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
“In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
“And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” (Acts 8:30-34)
This man of Ethiopia, a eunuch, reads the scripture regularly having gotten it while on assignment for his master, but despite reading it, he never understands what he was reading until he met with someone who tutored him, who puts some of the word straight to him.
Every time this man thinks of the Lord and of what he reads in the scriptures. This is what God wants from anyone who wants to grow in this type of prayer.
VI. Journal Your Prayers
Sometimes it is good to pen down what we are discussing with God, what we are thinking about. Someone says, “write daily love letters to God”. We can write love letters to the Lord daily by penning what we are deeply reflecting on down.
“Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.” (Jer. 36:2)
VII. Chronicle What He Seems to be Saying
As stated earlier that we need to be still to hear well what he is saying. Those things that we think and or know he is saying to us, we can chronicle them down, stating them in order as it is being said unto us and or rearranging those with the human understanding that we have.
Take as instance when you think about a child before pregnancy, or you think the revelation talks about a child before pregnancy you know that can possibly not happen if you do not want to adopt a child, pregnancy would come before a child. thus, you can rearrange the words along the line so as not to be confusing, for our God is not a God of confusion.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Cor 14:33)
VIII. Prepare for Wandering Thoughts
When praying a prayer like this you should be sure that wandering thoughts would stray in, but then it would fizzle out again. Some people when they are at solitary places of prayer and wandering thoughts come into their minds, they would think some demons have overwhelmed them, some would think by that they have backslid. No, not at all. Wandering thoughts would come, especially at the initial moments but then when you fixed your focus on the Lord those wandering thoughts would fizzle off.
I remember when I was in a solitary place of prayer like this, wanting to know more about God and some other things, wandering thoughts filled my heart of what could probably be happening with the people I left at home. What could be happening to the brethren. What could be happening to the business. And I was tempted to leave the place, but I ignored it and focused on what I have come for, and then the thoughts fizzled off.
IX. After Overcoming Wandering Thoughts Return to Your Prayer
After this initial setback from the wandering thought have been overcome, then we should return to prayer, talking to the Lord within our hearts, thinking about him through his words and expecting to hear from him too.
X. Don’t Fear Drowsiness
Since the mind is at work, there is high probability that you may be feeling drowsy. Someone would say of something like this, that, “it is not a sin to fall asleep in God’s hands”. You should know that you are in God’s hand, and as a child to his father, no child would complain of fallen asleep in the hands of his parents.
XI. Infuse Intercession with Contemplation
If you can also intercede for people during this time it would be helpful. Think about the loved ones, connect with them in your mind and hand them over into the hands of God through thine silent prayers.
The prayer of contemplation is prayer of silence, it is a deep prayer, a prayer that is deeply sited in the minds of people who are mindful of God. It is prayer being offered through deeper understanding of the word of God. Reflecting on him, how he is and want to know him the more. It is a prayer to know the mind of God about certain things. When we practice it often we shall grow in it.
Having seen some things about this kind of prayer, contemplation, I will be writing on another type of prayer in the next article.
© 2020 OLUSEGUN