Learning the prayer requires regular practice, with the support of a small prayer group or prayer partner. It is best learned through a program designed to acquaint you with learning different aspects of the prayer and providing ongoing prayer experiences.
Seek a small group program
A basic introductory program to learn the prayer should offer a minimum of fifteen to twenty meetings with time in between for additional prayer and reading. Sample program outlines are depicted on the Resources page. The church or religious organization offering the program should also offer regular times for Companioned Prayer both during and ongoing after the basic instruction. This website is available for groups to list their upcoming and ongoing programs on the Instruction and Prayer Groups page. If there is no introductory program offered in your area, consider gathering a few friends and start one using the resources provided on the Resources page, particularly the combination of the book, Companioned Prayer, and a sample program outline. For questions, encouragement and assistance email the CPCF at info@CompanionedPrayer.org.
Learn the prayer over time
Companioned Prayer takes patience and attentiveness while praying, and patience and regular practice over months, in order to learn the subtleties and depths of the prayer. It is not something to be tried just a few times with the idea that then we know what it is.
This prayer is not just something that we do; it is time we spend being open to, and nurturing of, our awareness of God as the prime mover and shaper of our lives. And when we do that consciously and regularly, we find that we are carried forward in his hands by his love, in ways beyond our knowing, that guides us and transforms our understanding of ourselves as children of him who loves us deeply.
So in faith we turn to God in prayer and give our self to him over and over again. While it is easy to learn the steps of Companioned Prayer with a friend or in a group, learning what the prayer experience truly offers is a process of growth. It does not occur in a month or two. It takes time because it is real; it happens within you as you grow and as your faith and experience deepen in response to God’s love.
Because the prayer experiences are subtle, it can be easy to initially dismiss their value and the value of the prayer. This seems to be true whether the initial experiences are profoundly personally meaningful or are of a more simple nature. The key to experiencing the personal growth of our formation in Christ is to understand that while individual prayer experiences gift us with God’s intimate mercy, the greater gift is his real presence to us. This is a presence of being in a personal relationship with our Lord, a presence and relationship that unfolds and develops over time as our awareness of him is nurtured through our many Companioned Prayer experiences.
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. For additional information, see “Trauma and Major Illness” and “Influences of Other Prayer or Meditative Practices” in chapter 11 of the book, Companioned Prayer, available on the Resources page