Experiences of Companioned Prayer
Some people object to contemplative prayer because they feel that it may not be a personal relationship with Jesus, or that it may be practiced as a technique of silence rather than a prayer to our Lord. But my experiences with Companioned Prayer are very different from that. My experiences, and others I know who practice Companioned Prayer, are consistently personal; that is, they are always prayers of personal relationship with the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. When we take our prayer topic to the loving heart of Jesus in Companioned Prayer we are essentially saying, “Yes, Lord, in you I trust; in you I open my own heart.” When I take my prayer to him and abide in him, I am often graced by his personal presence, his mercy, insight and love – all specific to the prayer topic that I carry in my prayer. You simply cannot believe how personal this prayer is, and how personal is the encounter and the relationship with him, that can happen when we open our hearts to him in this way.
For example, once I felt God’s strong call to assist with the Eucharist as a Eucharistic minister. This was something that I struggled with over a period of weeks because I felt that I was not worthy, that I was too broken a person to be offering the real presence of our Lord to others. But when I found myself praying with this issue in Companioned Prayer, Jesus said to me, “You are more useful to me broken than perfect.” You would think that would have sufficed, but afterwards I still felt great hesitancy. So a week later in Companioned Prayer I again found myself drawn to this issue. And then in the prayer suddenly Jesus was there, face to face, his divinity overwhelming; and he showed me the cup of wine, and then I saw that it was his real personal presence, the same personal divinity, his being. And with that very personal encounter all of my hesitancy was replaced with joy, knowing not only that it was okay to share his gift of himself, but that what a great joy it would be to offer this divine love of Christ’s real presence.
Is this type of prayer experience typical? Based on my experiences over 25 years and the experiences of others, I know that his real presence is often encountered in different ways when we pray to him in Companioned Prayer. But we also find that everyone’s experiences are unique to each of our unique needs at the time of our prayers. Sometimes our prayer experiences are rather dramatic as in this example, or more frequently they are more subtle or simple. But in every case, when practiced consistently in community with others over time, the effect is dramatic. Our personal relationship with him deepens; the importance of the Church and scripture increase; we find ourselves on an inspiring personal journey of wholeness and spirituality as he gradually frees us from our inner bonds and gives us his awareness of his presence, his love and his light within. This is my experience with Companioned Prayer. Perhaps you might have some Companioned Prayer experiences you would like to share.