Contemplative Thought as Prayer

Growing up in the Southern Baptist and Non-denominational Christian traditions, I’ve always viewed myself as being someone who struggled exceptionally with prayer. Prayer always seemed to be discussed from the pulpit as being immensely private or public, depending on the pastor. It was my experience that prayer involved lots of social activity. Prayer seemed to be strict, formulaic, and filled with the things like chit-chat and uninteresting topics.
At youth retreats, Prayer felt like a very extroverted and emotional activity. For me, the emotionality of it was always confusing. Why did I need to talk to God in a way that felt was more emotional or expressive than I was in my normal relationships? I Often wondered why Chit-chat seemed so important to God, or at least the God I’d learned to believe existed.
It wasn’t until I was 17 or so that I began talking with God in prayer seriously; that meant talking with God about what I was thinking. Over the years since then, I found that including those times of contemplative prayer allowed me to grasp what it meant for God to know me. To express any intellectual anguish or frustration with the thoughts in my head. Emotions and day-to-day life are important; they have their place in my prayers. But I’ve grown in my faith by introducing times of contemplation and thinking as part of my devotional life.
I wonder what Churches would be like if introverted or more head-oriented kids had opportunities to explore what prayer is like for them?
I don’t know where all this is going. But this is something I’m starting to think about more as I get older.

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