What is Companioned Prayer?
Companioned Prayer is an interactive prayer that is typically practiced with another person, a companion. In this prayer you will find yourself praying about the normal things that we all pray about, such as issues of personal concern. However, in this prayer we take those issues to Jesus’ loving heart and hold them gently in his love as we wait for some movement of the Holy Spirit, of God's grace or gift of understanding. Thus in Companioned Prayer the traditional contemplative blending of devotion, alert listening, and faithful waiting come together with personal and private prayer. And when we feel it is over then we take time to rest in God’s presence and to acknowledge his personal gift to us.
How long does the prayer take?
It is different each time you pray, but generally anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes. So it is best to allow sufficient time and to have a somewhat quiet place without interruptions. If you have time constraints, let your companion know and he or she will watch the time for you.
Can I do it by myself?
You can, but it is much easier to do it with a companion. Having another person involved helps provide structure to a fluid and dynamic inner process. It is easier to focus on your inner prayer experience if you are not concerned about where you are in the mechanics of the prayer. In addition, our community in Christ is strengthened when we pray together.
Is Companioned Prayer easy to learn?
It is easy to learn, particularly if you are learning it as part of a structured introductory program, and if you give yourself sufficient time to regularly experience the prayer over a few months.
Reading the prayer itself, it doesn't seem to be like any other prayer that I’ve seen. And it is not taught in the Bible. Is it really a Christian prayer?
The wording of the prayer is certainly different from most traditional prayer forms. However, it is not just the wording that makes it a prayer. It is also the intention and faith of the person praying, and that of the companion, that makes this a prayer. And it is the reality and love of God, and the practitioner’s willingness to surrender into that living relationship, that creates the prayer experience. The wording and format of the prayer facilitates that experience, but is not the prayer itself. In the Bible, Jesus calls us into a personal faith relationship with him, and that is what this prayer responds to.
What kind of experiences do people have with this prayer?
Experiences are as varied and as personal as people are different. However, often there is a combined sense of peace, personal understanding, mercy and grace experienced as something more than we could have created by ourselves; within a sense of God’s divine presence or gift. This may become known soon after a few times with the prayer, or it may develop over time. As one prays over time, one experiences an increasing closeness of Jesus Christ.
Is this prayer form too deep or involved for people new to Christianity?
No. It is a prayer form that allows a Christian to come before God at any level of spiritual maturity and to grow in his grace. However, it is very important that the person practicing this prayer understand that this is a Christ-centered prayer. The primary requirements for successfully experiencing and growing from this prayer, at any place in one's spiritual life, are humility and trust in our Lord.
I have had some significant emotional challenges in my life. Should I practice this prayer?
This prayer asks each of us to be open and honest with ourselves, acknowledging our current state. We do so privately within our prayer relationship with God, placing ourselves in his loving hands. We all have emotional challenges in our lives, and prayer is often a good way to be open to strength and understanding regarding those challenges. Companioned Prayer is taught and practiced as a Christian, interactive, contemplative prayer. The prayer experience is between the person praying and God, and requires an active faith relationship with Him. Neither the companion nor the person praying should view the role of the companion, or the prayer practice or prayer experience, as a substitute for professional therapy or treatment. Companioned Prayer is not a form of therapeutic treatment. If you have related questions or concerns about Companioned Prayer, discuss them with your therapist, doctor and/or priest before beginning or engaging in any further practice of the prayer. You should never practice this or any other prayer that you are not comfortable with.
I do not want to talk about my personal issues with others. How private is the prayer experience when practiced with a prayer partner or in a prayer group?
It is completely private. Your prayer partner and other people in your prayer group should have no expectation of learning what your personal issues are, either before, during, or after the prayer. If you wish to share, that is your prerogative, but it is neither the expectation nor the focus of the group.
Who is the Companioned Prayer Christian Fellowship (CPCF)? Is it associated with a particular church?
The CPCF is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization registered in California. The CPCF has no formal membership but considers anyone who practices Companioned Prayer to be part of a fellowship of Christ. The CPCF organization is not affiliated with any one Christian denomination.
Is CPCF a “virtual parish”?
No. It is very important for any Christian to be in fellowship with other Christians. It is therefore important for all Christians to find a church home in which they receive spiritual leadership, worship, and guidance from a legitimately trained pastor.
Do the CPCF and Companioned Prayer offer a new theology?
No. Companioned Prayer simply offers the awareness of the personal presence of Christ and the gift of his gentle grace. When practiced over time, this gift naturally deepens our personal appreciation of our Christian faith and worship. Although the prayer form is relatively new, the experience is as old as Christianity.
What does the Catholic Church say about Companioned Prayer?
The late Bishop Francis Quinn said, "Companioned Prayer is a prayer with a friend that can eventually bring you to the real purpose of your faith, which is an intimate, daily, loving relationship with God. It is a miracle that you will feel taking place within you. It will take time, but it will happen in you. ...I hope everyone can participate in the Companioned Prayer program. It can change your life." For more see his Companioned Prayer blog post.
How is the Companioned Prayer Christian Fellowship supported?
The CPCF is supported by the generous donation of time and activities by individuals who form and lead prayer groups and prayer ministries. The CPCF has no financial support from organizations, and relies on donations from individuals who practice the prayer. Your donations are greatly appreciated. The CPUC is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization. To make a donation please contact the CPCF at info@CompanionedPrayer.org.
How can I learn more about Companioned Prayer and the CPCF?
Principally by practicing the prayer and expanding the ministry within your Christian community and service ministries. The authentic knowledge of Companioned Prayer comes from doing it. The best way to learn the prayer is through a twenty-session structured experiential learning program together with ongoing prayer group support. The knowledge gained by reading about it is very different from actually experiencing the prayer, especially as experienced over time.
Can I contact the CPCF for additional information?
Yes. You may send an email to info@CompanionedPrayer.org. Or go to this site's blog page and view blog posts and comments, and post your own comment or question. You may also want to read more about Companioned Prayer by downloading A Short Summary of Companioned Prayer. But reading about it is not the same as doing it.