FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! (To tell you the truth, every day feels a little like Friday right now since summer is here, my girls are out of school, and I don’t have to go to work at my day job at the school–every day a Friday is not a bad thing.)

This week, I have a great round-up of posts and podcasts about prayer, place, silence, life, and writing. It’s summer–read/listen to them by the pool or beneath your favorite tree.

And be blessed.

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For the Love of God and Place via Marlena Graves (ask the Lord how you can seek welfare in this place)

Examen Recordings via The Gravity Center (guided evening examen from Gravity retreats–a great resource!)

Rich Lewis | What to do in the Silence — The Centering Prayer Episode via Matthew Brough (on the Spirituality for Ordinary People Podcast, Matthew Brough interviews Rich Lewis on the practice of centering prayer)

Praying with the Power of Paradox via Julia Walsh (perhaps mystery is not a threat, but an awesome place to pray)

How Will You Live Your One Life? via Michelle De Rusha (on living the ordinary, unseen moments of life)

10 Ways the World is Getting Better via Leslie Leyland Fields (the news is often grim…but are there ways the world is actually getting better?)

Jane Friedman on the Business of Being a Writer (Jane Friedman talks publishing and debunks myths on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast)

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Next week, Friday Favorites will take a break while I am at a Writers’ Retreat led by Andi Cumbo-Floyd, Shawn Smucker, and Kelly Chripczuk. I’ll be leading a workshop/craft talk entitled “Write For the Market or Write For Yourself?” Will any of you be at the retreat?

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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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

 

BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD


Week One: Practicing the Presence
Presence of God cover

This month I wanted to return to a book I’ve always liked – The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence (c. 1611 – 1691) was a lay brother in a monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Paris.

Brother Lawrence is well known for what he calls “practicing the presence of God.” He speaks of this practice as “a quiet, continual conversation with God” and also as “the habitual sense of God’s presence” — a habit of allowing yourself to be always with God.

Brother Lawrence says that, to draw close to God, we don’t need anything but this habit of continually conversing with him. We don’t need lots of complex practices or prayers. In fact, Brother Lawrence admitted in a letter that he had given up all spiritual practices except the ones specifically required by his office. He writes:

People seek for methods of learning to love God. They hope to arrive at it by I know not how many different practices; they take much trouble to remain in the presence of God in a quantity of ways. Is it not much shorter and more direct to do everything for the love of God, to make use of all the labors of one’s state of life to show Him that love, and to maintain His presence within us by this communion of our hearts with His? There is no finesse about it; one has only to do it generously and simply.

I’ll be honest. Brother Lawrence’s method of being with God is so simple that it sometimes seems difficult. Perhaps we are trained to expect drawing near to God to be complicated, to be a method with many steps and a steep learning curve? Or to intellectualize our relationship with God? (Guilty.) But maybe it doesn’t always have to be this way.

In a letter giving advice about the spiritual growth of a mutual friend, Brother Lawrence describes the practice:

Let him think of [God] as often as he can, especially in the greatest dangers. A little lifting up of the heart suffices. A little remembrance of God, one act of inward worship . . . are prayers, which however short, are nevertheless very acceptable to God . . .

Let him then think of God the most he can. Let him accustom himself, by degrees, to this small but holy exercise.

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The following quotation from a letter provides a good overview of how this practice might be worked out in everyday life:

[God] requires no great matters of us: a little remembrance of Him from time to time; a little adoration; sometimes to pray for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, and sometimes to return Him thanks for the favors He has given you, and still gives you, in the midst of your troubles, and to console yourself with Him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; He is nearer to us than we are aware of.

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More quotes for us to ponder:

I cannot imagine how religious persons can live satisfied without the practice of the presence of God. For my part, I keep myself retired with Him in the fund or center of my soul as much as I can; and while I am so with Him I fear nothing, but the least turning from Him is insupportable.

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In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.

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There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because god would have us.

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The Practice of the Presence of God consists of the letters of Brother Lawrence, some of his Maxims, and four conversations with him as recorded by a contemporary, Abbe de Beaufort. You can read them here (other editions are widely available).

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For Reflection

Brother Lawrence week 1

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to this week’s Friday Favorites, where I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, 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 (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

As you read/listen to these posts/podcasts — be blessed. And be a blessing.

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Parker J. Palmer: Penetrating Illusions–On the Brink of Everything via Lisa Colón Delay (in this Spark My Muse podcast episode, Lisa interviews Parker Palmer on the art of listening, living with our shadow sides, the function of contemplation, and more)

Why God Loves Weddings, Families and Good Black Preaching via Patricia Raybon (how can the royal wedding help us move forward in healing, forgiveness, and love?)

“Just Become Yourself”: A Bad Line from a Disney Movie or the Wisest Counsel of All? via Chuck DeGroat (a spirituality of becoming, the beginning of a lifelong journey)

Concentrate! And don’t concentrate! via Simon Parke (I’m intrigued by this — we’re told to and sometimes need to focus; but when does concentration take us away from awareness?)

Befriending Silence via Kyle J. A. Small (on our need for reconciling silence in worship, communion and community, and relationships)

How to Inspire Your Writing (and Your Life) Every Day via Margarita Tartakovsky (writing is work, yes–but what sparks your heart, mind, and soul to do this work?)

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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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly round-up of posts about prayer, writing, and living the contemplative and connected life. I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s finds.

As always, if you have someone else’s article or post you’d like to see featured, please let me know by Thursday at noon.

Be blessed!

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Love Each Other Deeply via April Yamasaki (a beautiful litany for Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday)

What’s the difference between Ignatian Spirituality and Centering Prayer? via Carl McColman (exploring the differences between two historical prayer practices)

For the Ones in Hiding via Tasha Burgoyne (what if our fragility is the one thing that we all have in common?)

You’d Never Know It From Looking At Her via Alia Joy (for those who need to know that they are not alone)

What To Do When Other People’s Words Leave You Feeling Bad via Traci Rhoades (when you’re haunted by hurtful words)

You Are Not The Problem via Heather Caliri (on the struggle of writing and learning to write)

Remember This the Next Time You Are Rejected via Courtney E. Martin (if you’ve ever applied to something or submitted your work, you need to read this letter)

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I also wanted to remind you, friends, about the upcoming Writers’ Retreat hosted by Andi Cumbo-Floyd, Shawn Smucker, and Kelly Chripczuk on June 22-24 in Radiant, Va. Read about it here and join us for 3 days dedicated to recharging, relaxing, and refocusing on our writing life.

Writers Retreat1

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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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly round-up of great finds on the web. We are in the second week of Lent, so today we have some posts and a podcast to help us in this season. How are you keeping Lent this year?

I also wanted to share some wonderful posts by #WOCwithpens, and an exploration of how we can learn to ask questions and receive God with our hands open.

Enjoy, and be blessed.

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Breathe . . . via Colletta Rhoads (wow, I love this beautiful poem!) #WOCwithpens

Interview with Piper Huguley via Gena Thomas (author Piper Huguley talks about POC in publishing and gives advice for writers) #WOCwithpens

I am 200 Percent. I am Chinese-American. via Kaitlin Ho Givens (trusting the Creator that he made us exactly the way he wants us to be) #WOCwithpens

Simple Advice for Christians: Trust Your Instincts via Ed Cyzewski (if you have questions about the “Christian machine,” you’re not crazy . . . or alone)

Meditation Monday — Spiritual Practices for Lent via Christine Sine (some disciplines for the season)

The Examen with Father James Martin, S. J.: The Second Week of Lent (this podcast leads us through a traditional Jesuit prayer)

When My Heart is Heavy, and the Days are Hard via April Yamasaki (a really unique way to meditate on Psalm 23, with a writing prompt that’s great for Lent)

 

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, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

This week, I found such a wonderful variety of posts: some for Lent, some celebrating #WOCwithpens (“women of color with pens”), and a poem about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Also, writing — we can’t forget to look at our writing.
I hope you’ll be blessed by these posts, as I was.

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Still {For the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting} via Christian Hubbard (a poetic response to the tragedy in Florida)

Citizens of Heaven {Guest post by Alice William} via Alice William and Kate Motaung (“Heavenly citizenship breaks barriers and unites us all in Christ.”) #WOCwithpens

Watching Black Panther With God via Patricia Raybon (a powerful reflection: “When the movie stopped…my question still remained: Who does GOD say that I am?”) #WOCwithpens

With a Puff via Mihee Kim-Kort (a beautiful audio Lenten reflection) #WOCwithpens

I’m Not Fine via Abby Norman (on giving up self-sufficiency for Lent)

Field Notes on Praying the Hours via Traci Rhoades (starting a new practice for Lent)

Seven Tips for Getting Started With the Divine Office via Carl McColman (another post on getting started with this worthwhile practice)

4 Lies That Are Keeping You From Writing a Book via David Safford (read this post and gain commitment and confidence; there’s even a practice at the end)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, where each week I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. Today, I especially want to share some posts to help us begin our journey through Lent. And I’m continuing to highlight the talented writing of #WOCwithpens (“women of color with pens”).

Dig deep, and may God bless you as you journey through the Lenten season.

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Was Blind, But Now I See: My Sankofa Story via Nilwona Nowlin (a journey to Ghana and the hard work of reconciliation)

Caught Between Two Languages: Unlocking discoveries to God and family via (writing as discovery, language as distance)

The Making (A Lenten Poem) via Prasanta Verma (read this beautiful poem for Lent)

On Lent and What To Do About It via Tina Osterhouse (check out this list of resources for Lent, including a devotional to which Tina contributed)

The Wilderness Is Where Christians Go to (Eventually) Move Forward via Ed Cyzewski (a step that uncertain evangelicals can take, which happens to coincide well with the season of Lent; while you’re there, take a look at Ed’s new book)

Midlife Is Like Lent via Michelle Van Loon (on a season of life that carries with it a reminder that we are dust)

Dani Shapiro On the Hard Art of Balancing Writing and Social Media via Dani Shapiro (on sorting out the quiet from the noise…good for writers…good for Lent…warning: spicy language in this post)

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, or just “be” better, 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 (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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How I Met My Inner Ezer: 7 Suggestions for Ditching the Past and Embracing Your Truest Self via Amy R. Buckley (finding the fullest expression of God’s purposes for us)

Blogging Benedict: Sleep with your clothes on via MJ Hos (what we can learn from one commandment in the Rule of St. Benedict)

The Totality Effect: Thoughts for a New Year via Melanie Bishop (on learning to see the phenomenal in everyday life)

Best Spiritual Books of 2017 via Spirituality & Practice (check out this great reading list)

Capturing the Numinous: Mary Karr’s Sacred Carnality via Annelise Jolley (lessons from Karr’s writing on putting the spiritual into words)

I Copied the Routines of Famous Writers and It Sucked via Nick Greene (a long read but very funny on the desperate bid of writers to find a writing routine that works)

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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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This month, FF will focus on the Advent season — a rich time of waiting, prayer, and expectation as we prepare for the coming of Christ. I’ve included some wonderful resources below. Let me know about others you’ve seen that you are finding helpful this year.

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I love the online, interactive Advent calendars I’ve been seeing in many places. Here are three of my favorites:

Advent Calendar 2017 – Best Books of 2017! via Englewood Review of Books (a new book every day)

2017 Advent Project via Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (includes scripture, devotionals, art, video, and music each day)

Bodleian Libraries Advent Calendar via the Bodleian Libraries (a beautiful manuscript or work of art every day)

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Elsewhere, the web offers some lovely resources on journeying through the Advent season. Feast on these podcasts and articles/posts as you prepare for Jesus this year.

First Sunday of Advent 3-Minute Retreat via Loyola Press (take an online 3-minute retreat to begin the Advent season)

Finding Time for God in Advent via Chuck DeGroat (tapping into ancient rhythms and sacred story this season)

The journey to Christmas via Simon Parke (you do not have to put your wonder into words this Christmas – silence is okay)

The Liturgy of Waiting via Richella Parham (a Renovaré podcast)

The Dark Storm of Advent, a Humble Light of Christmas via Gwen Jorgensen (why the darkness at this time of lights?)

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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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites are back this week! I hope you enjoy this round-up of posts on prayer, writing, and the contemplative life.

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 (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Feeling Frayed? Me Too. That’s Why We Need Advent via Tina Boesch (with the help of Annie Dillard, Tina explores why we need Advent in our wreck of a world)

The Image Advent Calendar via Image Journal (today, Image is launching an interactive Advent calendar!)

Marriage as a Spiritual Practice via Sarah Wells (what is the practice of marriage and how does it help us become more complete followers of Jesus?)

Gaining Me: A Plea for Self-Care via Cara Meredith (sometimes we need to advocate for ourselves as much as we advocate for others)

Rhythms of Gratitude in a Mass-Produced World via Ashley Hales (“how we can recover the simple art of remembering, nurturing small moments of sustained attention?”)

Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Write What You Know’ Is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard via Emily Temple (lots of hot writing tips from noted author and Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro)

Is It Too Late to Start Writing After 50? via Julie Rosenberg (yes, you can begin a successful writing career later in life)

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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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today