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

 

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Scripture Meditation: Waiting on God’s Generousity

Jesus taught in the parable of the vineyard laborers:

“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” 
Matthew 20:15, RSV

 

Envy will dismantle the patience that is growing within us, robbing us of the joy of God’s blessings when they finally come to us. God is generous, but we all experience that generosity in different ways and at different times.

God’s generosity will not spare us seasons of darkness and doubt. It’s possible that waiting helps us view his generosity with greater clarity.

 

For Reflection

Meditation for August 24

 

 

 

Friday Favorites

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.

The Human Cost of Digital Technology

Confessions of a Media Protective Parent

Is Contemplation Dangerous?

I Once Was Lost and Now Am Lost Again…

Productivity Apps for Busy Writers

From Ed’s Blog: Evangelicals Need to Sit in a Room and Say Nothing for a Long Time

 

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. Thank you!

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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.

Researchers Find More Changes Are More Effective (Out with the Old)

Is Solitude the Secret to Unlocking Our Creativity

The Age of Loneliness Is Killing Us

10 Recommended Books on Christian Meditation

The Busy Person’s Lies

Ed’s blog: The Hidden Danger of Business for Creative Workers

Looking for more recommendations? Check out our Prayer Resources page.

 

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. Thank you!

Choose a recurring monthly donation:

support-patreon-orange

Make a one-time gift via PayPal (credit cards accepted!)


Donate Now Button

Learn more about how to support us.

Featured Contemplative Book: 100 Days in the Secret Place

100-days-secret-placeWeek Three: Turning to God First

Whether you are encouraged or discouraged, living in holiness or living in sin, the first step in spirituality is always the same: turn to God. In fact, Jeanne Guyon suggests that fighting temptations directly is the sure way to lose.

How is this so? Because temptations flee in the presence of God. As we abide in Christ, we are protected and renewed.

Gene Edwards, author of Divine Romance, has gathered together key writings from three notable Christian mystics from the seventeenth century: 100 Days in the Secret Place: Classic Writings from Madame Guyon, Francois Fenelon, and Michael Molinos on the Deeper Christian Life by Gene Edwards. Here are several quotes to consider today:

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“The more clearly you see your true self, the clearer you also see how miserable your self-nature really is; and the more you will abandon your whole being to God. Seeing that you have such a desperate need of Him, you will press toward a more intimate relationship with Him.”

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“If you attempt to struggle directly with these temptations, you will only strengthen them; and in the process of this struggle, your soul will be drawn away from its intimate relationship with the Lord. You see, a close, intimate relationship to Christ should always be your soul’s only purpose.”

*****

“What does a little child do when he sees something that frightens him or confuses him? He doesn’t stand there and try to fight the thing. He will, in fact, hardly look at the thing that frightens him. Rather, the child will quickly run into the arms of his mother. There, in those arms, he is safe. In exactly the same way, you should turn from the dangers of temptation and run to your God!”

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“Once the heart has been gained by God, everything else will eventually take care of itself. This is why He requires the heart above all else.”

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Learn more here.

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For Reflection

Featured Book May 16, 2016

Saturday Prayer: Litany of Penance

The Litany of Penance may be familiar if you attend services in an Episcopal or Anglican church. A shorter version of it is often included in the Night office of the Divine Hours.

When we run out of our own words or don’t know where to start in prayer, a simple prayer of confession can offer a good place to begin, claiming God’s mercy and trusting in the renewing power of God’s love for you.

The full litany follows:

Litany of Penitence
Most holy and merciful Father: I confess to you and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I have not forgiven others, as I have been forgiven. Have mercy on me, Lord.

I have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on me, Lord.

I confess to you, Lord, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of my life. I confess to you, Lord.

My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people, I confess to you, Lord.

My anger at my own frustration, and my envy of those more fortunate than I, I confess to you, Lord.

My intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work, I confess to you, Lord.

My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me, I confess to you, Lord.

Accept my repentance, Lord, for the wrongs I have done: for my blindness to human need and suffering, and my indifference to injustice and cruelty, Accept my repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from me, Accept my repentance, Lord.

For my waste and pollution of your creation, and my lack of concern for those who come after us, Accept my repentance, Lord.

Restore me, good Lord, and let your anger depart from me, Favorably hear me for your mercy is great. Accomplish in me and all of your church the work of your salvation, That I may show forth your glory in the world. By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord, Bring me with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Follow this updated page of the Divine Hours

Scripture Meditation: Trusting God to Care for Our Souls

 

“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; my God I put my trust in you; . . .”
Psalm 25:1

Meditation

I bible-1440953-1279x852have long wondered what it means to “lift up my soul” to God, but I recently read one suggestion that “lifting up” our souls to God is a surrender. Lifting up my soul is a handing over of control to God.

A weary soul is consumed with the cares of this world, distracted by entertainment and greed, or caught up in pleasing others. Perhaps we “lift up” our souls to others each day as we hope they’ll notice us, affirm us, or meet a deep need.

Trust is no small matter. Is God worthy of our trust? Will God show up if we lift up our souls to him?

The practice of contemplation opens our souls to the presence of God. It’s a lifting of our souls to God, inviting him to care for us and our souls. Over time, we will learn to place greater trust in God, but we must begin by lifting up our souls in faith and expectation.

 

Reflection

How is your soul today?

Are you lifting up your soul to something or someone other than God?

What does it look like to trust God with your soul

 

 

 

 

Announcing The Contemplative Writer: Soul Care and Spiritual Practices for Writers

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Where does your identity come from?

I’m going to guess that anyone attracted to a site called The Contemplative Writer looks to their faith and their writing as important parts of their identities. Writing is extremely fulfilling and can serve others, but it will fail anyone who looks to it as as an identity.

The foundational principle for everything that follows at The Contemplative Writer is this: Your identity is determined by God’s love for you, and you’ll only find that identity by caring for your soul. While there are many ways to care for your soul, the goal of this website is to lay a strong foundation of Christian contemplative spiritual practices so that you can pray and write with a healthy, well-grounded soul.

Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation says that he focuses on 80% contemplation in order to guide 20% of his action. Our actions (or writing) will be rooted in love and purpose when they are grounded in an identity established by God through our contemplation.

For those of us who write, our identities can be particularly fragile. While anyone can benefit from this website in the weeks and months to come, writers of faith will especially benefit from the practices and mindsets presented in daily posts and weekly newsletters.

If your identity is dictated by outside voices and circumstances, there’s every reason to believe that your soul will suffer and your actions will veer in any number of wrong turns. At the contemplative writer the content I share each day follows Rohr’s 80/20 approach: 80% guiding contemplation and 20% guiding writing practice. If we can use the tools of Christian spirituality to help you connect with God and to care for your soul, I believe we’ll be in a much healthier place for our writing.

Each week you’ll find the following brief blog posts (100-300 words) to aid your contemplative journey:

  • Monday: Quotes from a book of the month on contemplative prayer.
  • Tuesday: Scripture meditation.
  • Wednesday: Featured article or book on contemplative prayer or writing practices.
  • Thursday: Contemplative profile or history.
  • Friday: A list of prayer or writing links.
  • Saturday: Guest writers and spiritual directors (coming soon)

Each month you can also expect a weekly newsletter that will soon be adapted into a podcast as well.

Finally, a small disclaimer…

I have not set up this website because I am the most accomplished or knowledgable contemplative Christian. I do not view myself as an expert. I am merely someone who has immersed himself in Christianity since my youth, and the contemplative prayer practices I started learning in the early 2000’s have been the most important, formative, and longest-lasting aspects of my faith. The more I lean into contemplative prayer, the more essential it becomes for my faith and my calling as a writer.

I set up this website because I wanted to immerse myself in contemplative prayer while also sharing my journey with others. I hope that this new venture helps you find space to meet with God, guidance for the road ahead, and rest for your soul as you create and bless others. I’ll share some simple ways you can keep in touch and support us below.

Thank you for visiting!

Ed

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For Reflection or Sharing:

Quote for Contemplative writer launch