Good, Beautiful, and Kind
Week 2: The Power of Unhurried Prayer
Addressing the pivotal question of what it means to live a life marked by goodness, beauty, and kindness through the lens of contemplation and prayer is the focus of our discussion today. Delving into the relevance of this perspective in our lives, we seek to understand why it matters.
Monastic Moments in Everyday Life
While not all of us are called to the life of a monk or a nun in a monastery, there is a compelling argument for cultivating monastic moments in our everyday lives. Drawing inspiration from those who devote their lives to God through prayer, we examine the transformative power of putting ourselves in situations where our full attention is on Jesus.
Goodness, beauty, and kindness cannot thrive without a hidden life of prayer. Similar to the discussion of sin’s power, we acknowledge that, as Christians, our ability to live a life of goodness, beauty, and kindness is reliant on the connection to the Holy Spirit, achievable through unhurried prayer.
Biblical Examples of Retreat and Prayer
Examining biblical examples, we focus on John the Baptist as a model of calmness in the midst of trial. The scripture passage from John 1:19-27 illustrates his unwavering clarity of purpose in the face of intense questioning from the religious leaders. This calmness is attributed to his monastic moments in the wilderness, demonstrating the profound impact of a life grounded in solitude and prayer.
Integrity in Life – The Back of the House
Drawing an analogy from the world of restaurants, we explore the concept of integrity in the spiritual experience. Just as a restaurant’s excellence is directly related to the state of its kitchen, our ability to claim a life of goodness, beauty, and kindness is contingent on the foundation of a hidden life of prayer. The analogy challenges us to assess the consistency between our external actions and the hidden aspects of our spiritual lives.
In times of high anxiety and stress, the way we respond reveals the core of who we are. Authenticity in challenging times stems from the foundation cultivated in solitude and communion with God.
Overcoming Disappointment and Busyness
Two significant barriers to cultivating a life of contemplation and prayer are disappointment and busyness. Disappointment is a common human experience but has the potential to distance ourselves from God. Additionally, the illusion of control is embedded in busyness, and can become a barrier to contemplation and prayer.
Embracing a Secret Prayer Life
Highlighting the transformative power of contemplative prayer, Henry Nouwen says this about solitude:
“In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word; Who healed us before we could make any gestures to help; Who set us free long before we could free others; And who loved us long before we could give love to anyone.”
Invitation to Contemplation and Prayer
Through prayer, the gift of a good and beautiful and kind life is extended to us graciously by our heavenly Father. You may choose just a few minutes a day, or schedule a longer retreat. The key is to simply start.