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.

The Perpetual Panic of American Parenthood

Instructions on Prayer from a Trappist Monk

How to Write Every Day

Grace Is Not So Poor a Thing

Being the Gift the World Needs

Protestant Barriers to Contemplative Prayer (see page 6 of this PDF)

From Ed’s Blog: When Your Parents’ Simple Religious Answers Don’t Work

 

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: Understanding What It Means to Be Busy

There’s a good chance you’ve said that you’re “busy” in the past week, and definitely within the past month. However, what exactly are we saying when we are busy? And what is the true cause of this way of living?

In an interview with Zen Habits, author Jonathan Fields shares a number of reflections on what it means to be “busy”:

*****

“Being busy, alone, need not be a bad thing. What makes it good or bad is why we’re busy, what we’re busy with, and what we’re giving up along the way.

Being busy as a reaction to the compounding agendas others, to what they’ve chosen to heap into our lives, without considering whether any of it matters to us, that’s a problem. It drops us into a state of mindless autopilot busyness, reacting rather than responding.”

*****

“Did you choose, “I will begin checking my email first thing before I get out of bed, and then respond to what everyone else says is important today?” Was there a moment where you said to yourself, “I will respond immediately, in real time to every email that hits my inbox, every to-do I’m tasked with and every status update on Facebook?”

Not likely, you just started doing it, and the technology that supports this behavior is the perfect intermittent reinforcement machine. In short order, it becomes habit.”

*****

Read the rest here…

 

 

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Three: Real Freedom… from Ourselves…

 

What gets in the way of our freedom? Most of the time, we do!

In Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the way the ego, our desire to uphold our self images, and the ways that we judge others all can lead us away from our true selves, union with God, and union with others.

This week’s quotes include the following:

 

*****

“When we live out of the ego, we impose our demands on reality. But when we live in God’s presence, we await reality’s demands on us. “

*****

“As long as we are comparing and differentiating from the other, we can’t love the other. We judge it.”

*****

“Most don’t know how to surrender to God. How can we surrender unless we believe there is someone trustworthy out there to surrender to?”

*****

“We don’t live in our bodies where we can feel our own feelings and trust our own experience. Instead, through commercials and advertisements and jingles we live in images and appearances.”

*****

“I’ve seen far too many activists who are not the answer. Their head answer is largely correct but the energy, the style, and the soul are not.”

*****

Read more…

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-19

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.

Spinning and Being Spun by Nancy Nordenson

Intimacy for the Avoidant

The Sanctity of Your Calendar

Stop Adopting Other People’s Anxiety

In Pursuit of Silence

Yes, the World Is Going Berserk, but Inner Peace Is Still Possible

From Ed’s Blog: Why Evangelicals Lack Compassion for Doubters and Doubters Lack Compassion for Evangelicals

 

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

Scripture Meditation: The Intentional Pursuit of God

Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.
Psalm 111:1-2

How do we become aware of God’s presence in our lives?

First, we prioritize time spent in Christian community, giving thanks together for the ways God has been present and provided for us. As our faith struggles or falters, we’ll find encouragement through the stories of God’s faithfulness among others.

Second, we grow in our delight of God by pondering the ways that God has been at work in our lives.

We shouldn’t be surprised that we struggle to see God at work if we don’t take time to ponder his presence each day.

 

For Reflection

meditation-for-october-16

Scripture Meditation: Worship and Reconciliation Go Together

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:23-24

How do we enter into prayer and worship? Self-examination is always helpful, especially if we have a reason to confess a wrong to a friend, colleague, or neighbor.

The monks who instructed novices in prayer typically noted that some distractions were a from God. A distraction may illuminate an area of our lives that requires repentance before we are free to pray.

Self-examination preemptively faces our distractions or failures and gives us a chance to take action before we enter into prayer. And if you don’t have time to pray because you’re busy seeking reconciliation, I trust that this obedience is precious to Jesus.

 

For Reflection

meditation-for-october-4

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

Week One: Surrender to God’s Mercy

everything-belongs-rohrIf everything belongs in our contemplative practice, then we must give up the charade of denial or wearing a mask to hide our flaws and pain. Our only hope will be completely surrendering to God’s mercy.

Once we face our pain, struggles, and failures, we remove ourselves from religious systems that gain their power from setting moral standards that cannot be violated by their members or call for simplistic answers. This is why those who have faced their own dark sides and found God’s mercy are so able to share mercy with others.

This month we’ll look at Richard Rohr’s book Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, with quotes this week about the process of exposing and moving beyond the obstacles that keep us from intimacy with God:

 

*****

“In God’s reign ‘everything belongs,’ even the broken and poor parts. Until we have admitted this in our own soul, we will usually perpetuate expelling systems in the outer world of politics and class. Dualistic thinking begins in the soul and moves to the mind and eventually moves to the streets. True prayer, however, nips the lie in the bud. It is usually experienced as tears, surrender, or forgiveness.”

*****

“In terms of soul work, we dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.”

*****

“We do not find our own center; it finds us… We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

*****

“It seems that we Christians have been worshipping Jesus’ journey instead of doing his journey.”

*****

“It is much easier to belong to a group than it is to know that you belong to God. Those who firm up their own edges and identity too quickly without finding their center in God and in themselves will normally be the enemies of ecumenism, forgiveness, vulnerability, and basic human dialogue.”

*****

Read more in Everything Belongs

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-3

Why We Need Solitude, Especially for Creativity

Solitude and giving ourselves short breaks throughout the day for our minds to wander aren’t just healthy for our spiritual practices. They can also help us with our creative work. The following article from LifeHacker explores the research behind creativity, and the ways that we can nurture creative thinking.

The short version is that taking a walk can be extremely good for both your prayer practices and for your creative project!

*****

“What Barron found was that the most creative thinkers all exhibited certain common traits: an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for ambiguity and complexity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray (and vodka and orange juice if we’re talking about Capote); and the ability to extract order from chaos.”

*****

“From a social, cultural, and scientific standpoint, creativity seems to come more freely when we’re able to utilize the parts of our brain that are less connected to reality and more free flowing in nature.”

*****

“In almost every ‘system’ of creativity devised, the most important part of the process involves a letting go of your consciousness to let the deeper parts of your mind come in and make connections. Without incubation—that space away from direct thought—there is no Eureka!”

*****

“One of the traits that Barron found during his creativity study was that creative people are more introspective. But not only in the sense that they have an increased level of self-awareness, but that they also have a familiarity with the darker and more uncomfortable parts of their psyche.

You’ve probably read about the creative benefits of daydreaming, but one of the things that is rarely mentioned in these essays is the importance of uninhibited daydreaming—not letting your brain filter the thoughts coming into your head.”

*****

Read more…

 

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.