This week was the fourth session at the University of St. Thomas of the Fall Prayer Series I’m offering this Fall at both UST and at St. Hubert’s in Chanhassen. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the series is designed to introduce participants to different prayer forms and styles (although even those with some familiarity and experience with the particular styles and forms of prayer can benefit from hearing something they have heard before in a different way).
Our subject this week was “analytical meditations,” a type of meditation that brings into play creative, intellectual thought. It rests on the idea that an important step in developing insight is to gain a deep conceptual understanding how things are. It is a form of meditation that aims at forming a conceptual clarity that ultimately brings one to a direct and intuitive knowing. I became exposed to this type of meditation during my years as a Buddhist. While many of the analytical meditations are peculiar to Buddhist thought and have no relevance to a Christian, others are easily adaptable, and indeed helpful to a Christian pray-er.
During my talk, I explain what this form of meditation is and why and how it might be used by Christians in their prayer. You can access a podcast of my talk here. (The podcast runs for 31:56, that last 10 minutes or so of which are a guided meditation on compassion). You can access a handout with my suggestions for the participant’s prayer for this week here.