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Here are five dimensions of silent prayer:

  1. Silence & Stillness: Sit comfortably, but attentively; like you're in the presence of a great teacher (because you are). Posture is also important because sitting with an arched back for too long will cause you to get distracted by discomfort or pain. Relax all of the muscles covering your head, including your face. Release any unnecessary tension being held throughout your body. Be still. Let impulses to shift or move come and go without honoring them more than your commitment to “be still and know” before God, for God.
  2. Attention & Intention: In silent prayer, you are openhandedly surrendering your attention and intention to the abiding love and presence of God. This doesn’t require forcibly thinking about God, but simply lying them down and resting them in God’s trust-worthiness. Repeat a passage, prayer, phrase, or word quietly, slowly, and internally. Doing this gives your mind rest from having to process and articulate thoughts. Be sure that you only repeat them with only focusing on and with it, and not thinking about it. This will influence your entire day! For instance, if you repeat the words, "Dwell in God's love," for 30 minutes every morning, the moments you dwell in anger or frustration or boredom will stand out to you like an alarm reminding you of the abiding hope available for you to live in.
  3. Time: Use a clock or put your cell phone on airplane mode and set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes so that you can fully let go of having to think about your timeframe. If you can't imagine going longer than 5min, start there! Give what you can, and eventually, challenge yourself by adding just 2-5 more minutes. Don't let your mental conditioning tell you how long you can or can't be silent with God. Keep returning to your passage, prayer, phrase, or word throughout your entire designated time of silent prayer.
  4. Acceptance: Whatever your experience, accept it openhandedly. If you are extremely distracted but draw your attention and intention back to Christ 100 times during your 30 minutes, acknowledge how much more effective this is than just giving in to your mental currents. You are building spiritual muscle with by your perseverance and resolute stillness. Likewise, if your experience is euphoric, don't let your attention be more absorbed in your satisfaction than it is with God's humble presence.
  5. Love: The Christian faith is summarized in loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, as well as loving our neighbors as ourself. Therefore, any spiritual practice or discipline should only bring us closer to friends, family, neighbors, and even "enemies". If at any point we find our faith creating any kind of division, we've deviated from practicing Christianity. Silent Prayer teaches us to deny ourselves at the surface levels so that we may learn to dive and live more deeply and aware, and follow Christ, in all and through all. This looks like Love.
If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.
– Saint Francis de Sales
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For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by our steadfast and patient endurance and the encouragement drawn from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.
– Romans 15.4

The practice of Sacred Reading has been a part of our Christian heritage for nearly as long as it’s existed. Saint Benedict formalized it as “lectio divina,” which just means divine (or sacred) reading. It is a powerful approach to sharpening the “ear of our hearts” to the gentle whisper of God’s voice in our lives.

Our aim is to listen for God's gentle whisper with the attention of our whole heart, mind, soul, and body. As we practice and exercise this kind of receptivity with Scripture, it strengthens our ability to be open to God's love and presence throughout our day; in conversations, during busyness, while waiting, waking, or falling asleep.

Sacred Reading takes us through 4 motions:

R E A D – With a listening in your heart, internally hear the words you are reading. Read as though you are getting to know the Author, rather than just taking in information. Give the words your entire attention. If you’re finding it difficult to keep your mind focused, don’t worry, that’s the point. We’re opening our lives to being transformed by the Word, which indicates there being something needing transformation! Just keep reading the text until you get a grasp on what is being read. Be gracious and patient with yourself. Once focused, pay special attention to any word or phrase that significantly stands out to you.

R E F L E C T – Relish that word or phrase that resonates, within you. God is speaking. You’re making room in your life and mind to hear this gentle whisper. Repeat the word or phrase for a moment before reading the passage again. Rather than immediately reducing it in analysis or dissection, focus your attention on being fully receptive to the inspiration. Remain openhearted to God’s gentle whisper as you return to the passage.

R E S P O N D – Allow God’s impression within you to become an internal or written prayer. Keep your words and heart simple. Jesus clearly stated, “When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words. Don’t ... because your Father knows what you need before you ask.” So, you are relieved of having to articulate everything. God knows. God is with you in the very depths of your heart, and beyond. Pray. Simply. Humbly. Lovingly.

R E S T – God has spoken and been heard. You’ve prayed and been heard. Now rest in simply being with God. Spend a number of minutes in the practice of being as present to God as God is to you. These times with God completely transform and reshape our lives and way of living and responding. Be with God as God is with you. Silently. Humbly. Lovingly.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the person of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3.16/17
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