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Contemplative Life

Contemplative Spirituality at DaySpring

The Christian contemplative life is rooted in Christ as revealed in Scripture. It is anchored in prayer and Scripture and seeks to create space in our lives to attend to God who is always present with us, trusting in God who is the author and sustainer of life. In the Christian tradition, contemplation and meditation are not about emptying the self but more about being filled with the transforming love of Christ. 


The Benedictine phrase  ora et labora means prayer and work. and has often undergirded our ‘work’ and ministry here.  Our prayer is our work, and our work is our prayer.


Prayer isn’t something that we just do on Sundays or just at mealtimes, but our lives are prayer. Prayer isn’t so much about the words we say to God but about opening our hearts and our lives to God. It is about a posture of receptivity and it involves listening to God, in the silence, through scripture and in worship.

Aspects of  Christian contemplative spirituality include

the practice of spiritual direction

and different ways of practicing prayer.

The following are some definitions or descriptions of aspects of contemplative spirituality.

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction focuses on

tending to one’s relationship with God,

seeking growth in the Spirit,

and deeper intimacy with the Holy One.

It is also called "spiritual companioning" or sometimes "spiritual friendship."


In spiritual direction, the directee shares what they are experiencing in their relationship with God. The role of the director (or group, in group spiritual direction) is to listen, walk alongside, pray, and encourage. All are listening for God and noticing where God is already at work. Spiritual Direction is not giving advice, telling someone what to do, counseling, therapy or coaching. It is about accompanying someone on the spiritual journey.


DaySpring has both Spiritual Direction groups and Spiritual Directors in the congregation who offer personal, or one on one Spiritual Direction.

Contemplative prayer can take on many forms and be practiced in different, life-giving ways.

Contemplative prayer creates space for

listening to God,

slowing down,

and meeting God in the stillness.

We practice opening our hearts to God and receiving the life-transforming love of God.

Aspects of contemplative prayer might include:

Lectio Divina

Latin for “Divine or holy reading” is a contemplative way of reading the Scripture.  It means praying Scripture. In lectio divina, a passage of Scripture is read at least three times with pauses in between each time for silence and listening prayer. In these moments of silence, we listen not for analysis but for invitation from the Holy Spirit. We ask: What does this passage call me to do? What might God be inviting me to think, believe, do or feel? How am I to respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit in this passage? Lectio divina can be practiced individually or corporately. We often practice lectio divina in worship, during Wednesday evening prayers and in our spiritual formation and spiritual direction groups at DaySpring.


The prayer of examen originated with St. Ignatius, and calls us to pay careful attention to how the Holy Spirit might be at work in our lives. In prayer we place ourselves in God’s presence seeking God’s grace to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We prayerfully review the day, noticing specific moments, feelings, thoughts, actions or words and ask ourselves, did we draw closer to God in those moments or further away? Reminded of God’s grace, looking towards tomorrow we seek greater cooperation with God in the detailed moments of our lives.

Prayer Trails

Many people connect most clearly with God while in nature. It can also be helpful to pray while walking and moving our bodies. Our prayer trails at DaySpring are designed to engage all of our senses in prayer. It is a great way to introduce children to contemplative prayer as they have a natural tendency to express wonder and to be engaged by nature. DaySpring’s prayer trails are open to all.

Centering Prayer

Centering prayer emphasizes a personal relationship with God. In centering prayer we seek to let go of our distractions, concerns and desires in order to more fully receive from God. In centering prayer we practice being in the presence of our loving Lord and Savior, to be filled and reoriented for our work in the world. We seek to let go of words and develop communion with Christ. It is about receiving from God and opening our hearts to God. 

Church Candles

Contemplative Prayer

Join us for Centering Prayer for Beginners,

Wednesdays at 9 am in the DaySpring chapel.

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