Saturday Prayer

This Saturday’s Prayer: 

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Source

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Who’s Your Favorite Christian Mystic? (And an exciting new book)

The Spiritual Practices I Do Not Know

How to Be a Writer

The mystery of Fr Jacques Hamel’s final words

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

Featured Article: Is Social Media Bad for Us?

The average person is not going to delete every social media profile no matter what researchers tell us about social media, so what should we make of the many studies that tell us about the impact of social media?

Facebook is a favorite target of researchers, and some studies would lead us to believe that Facebook “causes” depression. However, it’s also possible that depressed people are more likely to use Facebook, which hardly helps matters. One compilation of these studies offers some insight into what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can be reasonably certain about when it comes to Facebook helps us dig a little deeper into its impact.

As we approach writing and prayer, social media is one of the many influences that can impact our moods, mindsets, and mental space for prayer or creative thought. Here are a few quotes to consider from the article:

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“People who had taken a break from Facebook felt happier and were less sad and lonely,” an online presentation of the study said. Those on a Facebook “fast” also “reported a significantly higher level of satisfaction” and significantly less stress than those sentenced to remain on the site.

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According to a 2013 research paper from Germany, for example, “upward social comparison and envy can be rampant” on Facebook and other social networks. The online environment promotes “narcissistic behavior,” the researchers found, “with most users sharing only positive things about themselves.” Among the 357 participants in the German studies, the researchers turned up a large number of what they called “envy-inducing incidents” — most frequently related to travel and leisure, social interactions and “happiness.”

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A 2012 study found that posting status updates decreased loneliness, even when those updates elicited no response. And a 2010 study recorded moment-by-moment physiological responses when using Facebook. The equipment logged indicators of pleasant emotion when users actively sought out information or directly communicated with their Facebook friends, but fewer such positive feelings when passively browsing.

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Read more…

 

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Scripture Meditation: God Expects Lament

“Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?”
Psalm 44: 24, NRSV

The writer of this Psalm of lament notes in the the earlier verses that God surely would know if he had lifted his hands to worship another God. It’s just as likely that God wouldn’t be surprised to hear the laments of his people in the midst of their suffering.

Of course God doesn’t literally hide from us or forget our suffering. In our darkest moments it can surely seem that God is distant and hidden, but even if these remain impossible things for God to do, the Spirit guided these poets to share their laments, frustrations, and fears in the starkest language possible.

What do you fear today about God?

What do you leave unspoken about God?

What if today you could be completely honest with God?

It’s possible that the scriptures telling us about God’s knowledge of our thoughts can assure us. God knows our deepest laments and fears but continues to reach out to anyone who is thirsty and heavy-burdened.

 

For Reflection

 

meditation-for-september-13

Featured Book: The Way of the Heart

Week Two: The Struggle of Solitude

way-of-the-heartSolitude is good for us, but that doesn’t mean it will be an easy or tranquil time. In fact, Nouwen assures us in The Way of the Heart, that solitude is where we struggle to find our identity.

Each day we are hit with new expectations, desires, and compulsions that could pull is in so many different directions. The voice of God can be drowned out if we don’t pull back, face the worst parts of our false selves, and quietly wait on the Lord.

This week Nouwen describes some of what we can expect in solitude:

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“Solitude is not a private therapeutic place. Rather, it is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where the emergence of the new man and the new woman occurs.”

*****

 

“This struggle is far, far beyond our own strength. Anyone who wants to fight his demons with his own weapons is a fool. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ. Alone, we cannot face the ‘mystery of iniquity’ with impunity.”

*****

“We are responsible for our own solitude. Precisely because our secular milieu offers us so few spiritual disciplines, we have to develop our own. We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord.”

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“Solitude is not simply a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world.”

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Read more in The Way of the Heart.

For Reflection

featured-book-september-12

Saturday Prayer

Let us bless the Lord God living and true!

Let us always render him praise, glory, honor, blessing, and all good things!

Amen. Amen. So be it! So be it!

-St. Francis of Assisi

Source: The Divine Hours

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Something to Learn from the Last Generation Before the Internet

Three Weeks After My Book Is Published (It’s no secret that I appreciate the writing of D. L. Mayfield)

The Spiritual Practice of Writing a Book

Father Thomas Keating on the Meaning of Life (Hint: It doesn’t come naturally!)

From Ed’s blog: When Do Christian Books Cause Too Much Damage?

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous gifts of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Scripture Meditation

“Let your loving-kindness, O LORD, be upon us, as we have put our trust in you.”
Psalm 33:22

 

Lasting, truly healing relief from our anxieties and burdens comes from trusting in our loving and kind Lord.

Perhaps we’re so preoccupied with the weight of our worries that we forget his loving kindness could be resting upon us.

Ask God today how you can take another step of trust and rest in his loving and kind presence.

 

For Reflection

Meditation for September 6

 

Featured Book: The Way of the Heart

Week One: Head for the Hills

Henrí Nouwen distills the teachings of the desert fathers and mothers into a brief but incredibly useful book on silence, solitude, and prayer called The Way of the Heart. Grounded in the experience of ministry, Nouwen’s insights are refreshingly accessible and practical.

Readers need not be involved in ministry. If anything, ministers face heightened or exacerbated situations that call all the more for the wisdom in this slender book. This week we’re looking at why we need to head for the hills.

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“The words flee, be silent and pray summarize the spirituality of the desert. They indicate the three ways of preventing the world from shaping us in its image and are thus the three ways to life in the Spirit.”

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“Our calendars are filled with appointments, our days and weeks filled with engagements, and our years filled with plans and projects. There is seldom a period in which we do not know what to do, and we move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, or do are worth thinking, saying or doing.”

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“Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self. Jesus himself entered into this furnace. There he was tempted with the three compulsions of the world: to be relevant (‘turn stones into loaves’), to be spectacular (‘throw yourself down’), and to be powerful (‘I will give you all these kingdoms’). There he affirmed God as the only source of his identity (‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve him alone’). Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter – the struggle against the compulsions of the false self, and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self.”

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For Reflection

Featured Book for September 5

Saturday Prayer

Today’s prayer comes from the Common Prayer app:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me;
body of Christ, save me;
blood of Christ, inebriate me;
water from the side of Christ, wash me;
passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good ­Jesus, hear me;
within your wounds hide me;
suffer me not to be separated from you;
from the malicious enemy defend me;
in the hour of my death call me,
and bid me come to you
that with your saints I may praise you
forever and ever. Amen.

Find more prayers in Common Prayer