Be still and know that I am God
This way of prayer is a quiet, being present to God in which we put aside our thoughts and simply bring our desire to be more open to God in our life.
Be comfortable: Sit comfortably with your feet on the ground and your hands at rest in your lap or by your side. Close your eyes.
Listen: Listen to the sounds of this space: the hum of distant traffic, the creak of floorboards, your own breathing. Rather than thinking too much, give all your attention to what you can hear, and when you feel drawn away from this by your worries and concerns quietly go back to this relaxed listening.
Breathe: Now give your attention to your breathing; be aware of your drawing breath in and then releasing it out; feel the physical change happening in your body as you do so. You’ll become aware of the underlying rhythm of your breathing. Thoughts will come into your head, but rather than dwelling on them or fighting them off, return to the awareness of breathing in, breathing out. After time and with practice, you will find yourself stilling down and relaxing.
Use a prayer word: Hold a prayer word or short phrase before you as you breathe in and out; for example, ‘Jesus’ or ‘My life, my help’ or ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. This prayer word expresses your desire for God. The silent repetition of this prayer word in time with your breathing helps you be open to God who is always present to you.
Stay with your prayer: For a beginning give ten minutes to this way of prayer. If you are at home it may help to us a timer so you don’t become preoccupied with how much time is left. As time goes on you may want to extend the time to 20 minutes or half an hour.
Don’t worry about ‘results’: The aim of this prayer is not to have great thoughts or even to feel God’s closeness. You may feel nothing or even feel bored! What matters though, is that you are expressing your desire to be open and present to God. Don’t try too hard – relax, for prayer itself is not just something we do, but something God begins to do in us: everything is gift.
Written by Chris Chapman, Southwark Diocesan Spirituality Advisor