Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Learning the Prayer
THE CPCF IS IN THE PROCESS OF EXPLORING A NEW, VERY MUCH SIMPLIED, METHOD OF LEARNING THE PRAYER, WHICH SHOULD NOT NECESSITATE A LONG PROGRAM OF MANY MEETINGS. WE ANTICIPATE UPDATING THIS WEBSITE'S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING THE PRAYER IN THE FALL OF 2021.
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM PRIOR TO THESE ANTICIPATED CHANGES:
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.
Learning the prayer during a pandemic
In response to the Corona virus, prayer groups gathering at churches or at homes should follow the guidelines of your local or national health authority, e.g., in the U.S., the CDC. If you are at home with a friend or family members, you can learn the prayer by downloading material on the Resources page, and begin to try out the prayer. We have also found that learning and practicing the prayer remotely via Zoom or similar program can work well, although in-person gatherings are preferred when it is safe to do so. In any case, simply be supportive of one another, and open to new experiential learning. In this time of uncertainty and challenge, you will find that after a while, this prayer is just what you need: the closeness and love of God.
Seek a small group program
Introductory programs to learn the prayer are currently designed to offer at least fifteen to twenty meetings. Sample program outlines are provided 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 includes the role of a prayer companion who reads text and accompanies the person who is praying. The prayer is offered 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 or a searching for that relationship. 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 not practice or continue to practice any prayer that you are not comfortable with. 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