Our faith-based senior living communities offer plenty of opportunities to engage with God in corporate worship. Church, devotionals and other activities are scheduled regularly for residents that want to participate, and many of our Bethesda Senior Living Communities have chaplains available for seniors who want to talk one-on-one about faith or growing with God. But older adults can also continue their faith journey in individual ways, including meditative prayer.
Meditative prayer is not the same as the type of prayer we often engage in, where we speak to God and bring him our thanks, worship, worries and requests. During meditative prayer, you specifically prepare your mind to receive the return communication from God, whether that comes from the still small voice, God's Word or another form.
Meditative prayer helps you break free of traditional formats you may have developed over the years to really listen for what God has to say. It also helps you develop a stronger communion with God and open yourself up to new possibilities from him.
Meditative prayer does take a bit of practice, but the good news is that anyone can do it. And while there are some best practices you can follow, you can also customize this prayer activity to fit your needs and personal relationship with God. Here are a few steps you might consider following if you're new to meditative prayer.
Find a time and place that affords the right environment for you. Many people need a quiet, still place to meditate in, but some people actually prefer some white noise in the background. Try praying in your own assisted living apartment, the community library or gardens or while walking.
Make sure you have enough time. This isn't a quick prayer before meals. Meditative prayer can take 20 to 30 minutes.
Begin with Scripture that you can pray over. Start with something you know and means something to you. As you develop your meditative prayer practice, you can branch out to verses that may be confusing to you or which you want to ask God about.
Pray the Scripture. Start by reading it and thinking about it. Then speak out it to God.
Don't try to fill your entire prayer time with your own thoughts or words. Quiet your thoughts and give time for God to speak to you or simply sit in fellowship with God for a while to gain a feeling of peace and restfulness.