1. Our Starting Point
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS for choosing to read these introductory pages. Many people tend to skip the foundations, take a short cut, and look for an easy, quick "method" of meditation.
It is no wonder so many give up so early in the process.
The Christian Church has an absolutely vast literature of spirituality and pathways to prayer. Its roots, of course, go back over 4000 years to the origins of Judaism. Our heritage is so rich, with so many diverse approaches that we will begin by taking a "sample cross-section" as a starting point.
Some may think this is simplistic. We offer no excuses just what has inspired us for many years.
Christian prayer is the prayer of Christ...It sounds rather obvious, doesn't it? But it is such an important understanding. For us, as with Saint Paul, there is only one prayer: the unceasing prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ to his Father made present in us by the Holy Spirit.
When we talk of the "unceasing prayer" of Christ we mean his eternal beholding of The Father, his unbroken attention to The Father's Holy Will, his constant intercession on behalf of his disciples down through the ages. We are members of his Body, the Church — of which he is the Head.
As such, we are united in a way which enables our prayer to be one with the prayer of Jesus Christ. This is our starting point.
We start our brief journey taking a look at two amazing events in the ministry of our Lord when he is much honored and affirmed by his Father. These are at the core of the whole of the New Testament teaching. We refer to them as his Baptism and Transfiguration.
We then look at two very special features of our Lord's spiritual life which demonstrate Jesus' constant affirmation of his Father: his love of the Sabbath and his practice of regular withdrawal for prayer. These likewise are at the heart of what he models for his followers to continue.
Finally, we consider the key role affirmation plays in the relationship between Jesus and his Father, and between Jesus and us. This is so very important for this reveals to us our Place where we "fit" in the scheme of things. And we find ourselves in the very "centre" of the Trinity.
These few pages will provide an essential foundation to sustain a life of prayer in what increasingly for many of us is a hostile environment. But in the words of our Lord, "Do not be afraid."
So please relax and as you have time, read a section (i.e. one section) of the following notes, pause, think it over and when you feel ready — move on. Take it gently piece by piece.
There is no hurry!
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