Day 12: Unpacking “Contemplatio” (Contemplation)
1. Center Down
Before you begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “Our rest…” As you exhale whisper, “…is in You, Lord.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the Godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the Godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. (Psalm 1, NLT)
3. Kingdom Prayer
Eternal Father God, we humble ourselves before You and bless Your holy Name. Thank You for being our loving Father and Provider. Thank You for redeeming us from the grip of sin and bringing us back to You through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You for endowing us with Your Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our redemption, who guides us into all truth. We come before You acknowledging that You are God. It is You who made us and we are Yours. We are Your people and the sheep of Your Pasture. We enter Your gates with thanksgiving and we enter Your courts with praise. We give thanks to You and praise Your Name. For You, O Lord, are good. Your unfailing love continues forever, and Your faithfulness continues to each generation! Because of Your unfailing love, we can enter Your house. We will worship at Your temple with deepest awe!
Glorious Father, we reverence and honor You. You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is no God like You in all of heaven above or on earth below. You keep Your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before You in wholehearted devotion. Oh, how great are Your riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand Your decisions and Your ways! Your goodness to us as a Church Family has far exceeded anything we could have ever imagined. Thank You for endowing us with Your divine favor and allowing us to be the body of believers through which You have manifested blessings into the southwest region of Houston. We bless You from the depths of our hearts for all the souls You have empowered us to draw into Your Kingdom by proclaiming the Good News and sharing the love of Jesus. Who are we that You should think about us and care for us? You are the God of compassion and mercy! You are slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Lord Jesus, You are our Savior, our Redeemer, and through You we are justified. Holy Spirit, You are our Advocate, our Helper, and the source of our power. We offer up praise to You, the Holy Trinity of Almighty God. Hallel-YAH!
All-Powerful Father, please let Your ears always be attentive to our prayers. Holy Spirit, help us not to bring sorrow to You by the way we live. But, teach us how to reverence and treasure You. Help us to remember that our bodies are Your temple and that we don’t belong to ourselves. Please touch the hearts of those who do not adore the Lord, and help them to love Him with all their hearts, souls, and strength. Remind each of us to be more grateful and to never forget the good things the Father has done. How He forgives all our sins, heals all our diseases, redeems us from death, and crowns us with love and tender mercies. Holy Spirit, keep us mindful of Your presence in our daily lives and help us to be quick to respond when You move us to action.
Compassionate Father, forgive us for sins of pride, rebellion, disobedience, selfishness, hatred, and idolatry. Lord, forgive us for being lukewarm in our worship and devotion. Forgive us for disrespecting Your Name and treating You irreverently. Forgive those who will not bless and honor You during Your feasts, which are Your special times of celebration. Forgive those of us who are parents for not teaching our children to respect and adore You. Lord Jesus, forgive those of us who take Your sacrifice for granted. Forgive those who do not acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. Holy Spirit, remind all of us of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive.
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Lord, we honor You for the glory of Your Name. We worship You in the splendor of Your holiness. Your voice is powerful and majestic! Your voice strikes with bolts of lightning. You rule over the floodwaters. Lord, You reign as King forever! From Your mouth will come a sharp sword to strike down the nations. You will rule them with an iron rod. You will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. Lord Jesus Christ, on Your robe at Your thigh will be written, “King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: II Corinthians 5:18, John 16:13, Psalm 100:3-5, Psalm 5:7, I Kings 8:23, Romans 11:33, Psalm 8:4, Exodus 34:6, Psalm 130:2, I Corinthians 6:19, Deuteronomy 6:5,
Psalm 103:2-4, Revelation 3:16, Psalm 29:2, 4, 7, 10, Revelation 19:15-16
4. Concepts to Consider
In the Gospel of Luke, we read that we should
“consider the ravens” and “consider the lilies .” The word translated as “consider” here in the Greek is κατανοέω [kah-tah-no-AY-oh]. It carries with it the implications of “to contemplate on, or to intently gaze upon for the purpose of understanding.” In Psalm 131:2, we see the image of a child at rest in its mother’s arms, content to know the presence of the parent as a place of rest and comfort.
In “contemplatio” we simply contemplate the reality of God’s loving Presence with us. We don’t seek to gain knowledge or to achieve any particular goals; but rather, we seek simply to be in God’s presence. Remember: We are human-BEINGS made in God’s image. We are not human-DOINGS.
A famous French prayer for peace (often erroneously attributed to St. Francis of Assisi), published widely during WWI and WWII, contains these hopeful words, “O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love….” These noble sentiments can only become a reality in our lives when we begin to understand that we are completely understood, consoled, and loved by our Father God and Compassionate
Creator. Contemplation gives us space to experience our Lord and His love in authentic, life-giving ways.
So our task today is this: to just simply sit with God. No music, noise, or distraction. You may want to close your eyes. Imagine God gazing lovingly at you and you gazing lovingly back. (“You are beloved…”) Rest in the arms of your loving Parent and breathe in the shalom of His grace. Do this for 5 to 15 minutes, as time allows.
(You are encouraged to record your responses to the following inquiries in some tangible, meaningful way, i.e., write, draw, create, vlog/blog, sing… etc.)
- Personal Reflection: As you sat before the Lord and contemplated /rested in His Presence, what did you feel? What did you think?
- Kingdom Reflection: Our contemplation is meant to give us a solid foundation in the love of our Divine Parent. When we know we are truly loved–just as we are–we then are empowered to move out into the world and join God in His Kingdom work. As a result of your resting in the Lord, what are you empowered to do today in the Lord’s Kingdom?