“For God alone my soul waits in silence” Ps 62:1
God is always “Other”. God is not our image of God. Our understanding of God can be more of an enslaving idol than any physical representation. The prophets call us to reject idolatry. “Be still and know that I am God” Ps 46:10
To be with a person is different to being with our ideas of that person. How can we be still? In God’s presence? Not just in the presence of our ideas about God?
*Allot yourself a time period, aim to stick to it: 20 min., 30 min, or more.
*Place, posture, relax…
*Presence: start by becoming present to God’s presence – eg. by using the Collect for Purity.
*Stillness: in a relaxed way interiorly repeat a word the Spirit gives (this may come out of the “listening prayer”, and may naturally continue it.) Don’t say it with emotion, or think about its meaning, or imagine anything. You can just feel your breathing, or count breathing… don’t keep changing “method”. It can’t not work, as there is nothing, which is trying to be achieved!
*Distractions: just gently return to the word or breathing… The holiest thoughts, the deepest insights, the loftiest visions are distractions in the work of silent prayer.
*Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer grateful to God.
This prayer is very sacrificial, it can even feel like wasting time, it can feel like it does not “achieve” anything, and you don’t get anything out of it. There is neither a “good” prayer period nor a “bad” prayer period. Whether there are few or many distractions is irrelevant. This is prayer stripped to its naked essentials: faith and intention. Prayer at it’s simplest.