Praying with a labyrinth is a form of walking meditation, a physical expression of the interior journey towards Christ that characterizes all Christian meditation. Like a pilgrimage, forms of walking meditation evoke our earthly journey towards heaven while simultaneously giving us time and space to listen and respond to the Lord.
Centering prayer cultivates a disposition of interior silence intended to make room for God. It is a way of disposing ourselves to receive the gift of contemplation, an encounter with God’s presence. As St. John Vianney said of his time in Eucharistic Adoration, “I look at him and he looks at me.” This contemplative gaze or time of being with God is at the heart of centering prayer.
The Ignatian Examen is a prayer that helps us to identify and pay closer attention to God’s activity in everyday life. When fully adopted, the Examen becomes a habit, a daily inventory of the ways God has been at work in our lives and of the ways that we either have or have not responded to this activity of God.
Most Catholic parents would agree on the importance of praying with our sons and daughters. The Church teaches us that we are the primary faith educators of our children, and what better way to teach them about God than by talking to God? That being said, praying with young kids can be difficult at times. It’s hard to get toddlers and small children to sit still for thirty seconds let alone engage in a focused dialogue with an invisible God, and it can be tempting to put off lessons about prayer until our kids are a little bit older.
The phrase lectio divina means “divine reading” in Latin and is a fitting name for this prayer practice of listening to Scripture with the ear of the heart. Lectio divina (often called “lectio” for short) is a dialogue with God through Scripture that includes the whole self: thoughts, images, memories, desires, etc. The movements within lectio divina involve reading, listening to, responding to and resting in the Word of God. It can be practiced alone or with a community.