December 7, 2000

LEARNING TO DO NOTHING

WE HAD A wonderful time at the prayer day. It was held in the library -- this seemed to be a good spot as there are lots of little alcoves, etc., which could be used to hide away if necessary. The teaching was wonderful, and everyone gained tremendously from the whole day.

Personally, I was able to build on the evening of centering prayer that we had together earlier in the year. Practicing contemplative prayer has made a huge difference in my life.

I am reading The Wink of Faith as a meditative exercise every day. There are a few books which I have found life-changing, and "The Wink" is one of them.

Thank you for starting us off on this wonderful journey. I am learning so much, mostly to do nothing but allow Him to work in me.

-- P.N. - Melbourne, VIC AUSTRALIA


A SLOW DEVELOPMENT

WE HAVE A QUIET Day planned soon -- but I think that silent prayer will have a slow development in our church. We need some input from our priest -- who seems to be at a loss with the "contemplation" idea, which has surprised me a bit.

The journey to God is different for each of us, no doubt, but it is good when one finds a fellow-pilgrim on the same track. It's my prayer that everyone on this journey will stay encouraged. We'll have a good laugh in heaven one day when we see our silly sidetracks and fears for what they were!

My new home is taking shape slowly, but my inner solitude and peace is settled, thanks to the Holy Spirits' good work these past years.

-- Name Withheld


A PROFOUND EXPERIENCE

Just wanted to let you know that we are meeting every Tuesday morning for Lectio Divina with the Scriptures, doing it just the way you suggested.

People can hardly wait for the next week, it is such a profound experience. Praise God!

--- L.J. - Austin, TX


BORNE UP BY LOVE

TODAY I MET WITH two people, both of whom were present at the Retreat on Saturday. Both had loved the teaching and the prayer. It is only a few weeks since I prayed for one of them after the Sunday service. Her problems are immense, and so often I've seen such pain in her face. Towards the end of last week she felt so desperate that she wondered whether she could continue in the faith; but on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, after the Retreat, she was able to come to the Lord wordlessly and trustfully, and experience His presence. My heart is rejoicing for her and with her.

This year has been life-changing for me. Bill Volkman's chapter on "The Tree of Unknowing" [in his book, Basking in His Presence], was significant, as well as parts of Philip Yancey's, What's So Amazing About Grace? A process of letting go of some of the rigidity of my opinions has been both painful and exhilarating. I don't know where it will end, but I know I can trust the God Who is ever with me.

Two or three years ago our prayer group decided to spend the major part of an evening in just coming silently before God. On my way there I was involved in a car accident (not hurt), and couldn't make it. The group, however, was unable to concentrate on their prayer because they were worrying about me! All this time later, all but one of those present that night attended the Retreat on Saturday. God lovingly answers our longings.

I feel borne up by love. I am so glad that God leads us so gently into His presence.

--- Name Withheld