Prayer

Theory

My friend Irina has been watching this meditation unfold, and she sent this to me. It's a perfect fit. It's about the different kinds of prayer you experience as you grow in the Lord, Oral prayer (out loud in words), blends into meditation (chewing on ideas in your mind) which blends into contemplation (prayer in your spirit without words); and it also mentions the traditional role of the spiritual director....

This is not black-belt Christianity. This is the Lord's plan for every one of His children. Your only role is to rest in His Love and trust Him. Here's His promise to you. '...as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Read this with the eyes of your heart.

The Blessed Elena Guerra (1835-1914), said that praying is:
1) Thinking of God so as to know Him;
2) Knowing God so as to love Him;
3) Loving God so as to serve Him;
4) Knowing, loving and serving God so as to enjoy Him in eternity. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 2:24)
The highest prayer is therefore that which comes from a liberated spirit, when it has learned to pray without the help of the mouth or the mind, uniting itself with God in the high and silent language of inner contemplation, when its inner eye, or eye of the soul, has been opened thanks to the guidance of a capable Saint. This is described by the Saints as the purest and highest form of prayer. Until we reach it, however, we can find comfort by praying from the depths of our heart, in whatever way possible for us. For this reason there are various forms and degrees of prayer.

1. The simplest and most common form of prayer is the traditional or spontaneous oral one, recited alone or in group. Devotional hymns also belong to this category of prayer. This kind of prayer, if performed with care and devotion, can have the effect of calming the mind for some time. Since it only takes place at a physical level, it cannot - however devout it is - free the spirit from the iron tentacles of the mind and senses, so as to open the door to inner access.

2. The next level of prayer is the mental one, performed with the language of the mind. Meditating on facts and readings, pieces from the Scriptures, the words of Saints and Masters, etc. is also mental prayer. This kind of prayer is less spectacular and attracts the crowds less than the previous kind, but it has a more subtle and profound effect. It can, in fact, direct the devotee toward self-analysis and inner concentration. But despite these advantages, not even this kind of prayer can, in itself, make us penetrate into the realm of beatitude and pure divine contemplation. In fact, it uses a limited means (the mind), which can neither contain nor conceive of the Infinite and the Eternal, and is therefore incapable of contemplating and knowing the authentic essence of the Divinity.

3. The next step, which can be taken only with the help of a Saint of the highest Order, or Master of the Word, consists in concentrating one's attention within, elevating it in a practical way above body consciousness and the continuous oscillations of the mind, so as to contemplate, through His grace, the Radiant Light of the Kingdom of God which is within us (Luke 17:21). Contemplation is an act purely of the spirit and only the spirit can penetrate into the secrets of God, tasting His infinite perfection and beauty. Only those souls who truly desire Knowledge, purified by an elevated ethical life and directed by an enlightened Guide, can arrive at this most elevated form of prayer, which, making the devotee know the otherwise invisible God, increases his love and thirst for His unlimited perfection. Having known Him, he can truly love Him. Loving Him above all else, he will want to serve Him in all of His creation. Then annulling himself at the feet of his own Guide [spiritual director] and God, he will receive in exchange, while he is still alive on this earth, endless bliss.

The person who arrives at this last form of prayer will, in time, become capable of contemplating the Divinity everywhere, uninterruptedly, and their every task or act will become simply a song of praise to God, which wells up in torrents of perennial bliss and endless joy from the depths of his liberated soul. (The Path of Spirituality, Pier Franco Marcenaro)"

Practice

Find a quiet spot. Disengage your rational mind. Get into the mind of your heart. Worship the Lord. If any thoughts distract you, ignore them and continue worshiping. Repeat as needed..