In the Image of God
To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? Is 40:18
We are often perplexed about what it means to be created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26, 27) We are told that we are all created in his image. What is the image? Is it a Him or a Her or an It? Does the image have hands and legs and one head?
A recent study at Baylor University suggests that most respondents saw God as distant, angry and critical. Who would want to hang out with such an image of God? Such images are the legacy of the dawn of faith and in no manner reflect the truth of God's Presence in our very souls. These images also betray the reality of a God of Unconditional Love, a God who does not change his opinions of us, but, who loves us as infinitely valuable sons and daughters.
Contemplative Prayer answers the question of image by suggesting that we are looking more at qualities than we are at facial features. These qualities are divine qualities and reflected in the idea that we are indwelt by a fragment of God, a Thought Adjuster, a Mystery Monitor, the Presence of God. What a supernal realization: that God is present within! The great Stoic philosopher, the Roman slave Epictetus, put it this way: "You bear God about with you, poor wretch, and know it not... O, slow to understand your nature, and estranged from God!"
Contemplative Prayer brings about a new quality of being, a new way of being in the world, in which, as Paul suggests to the Colossians: there is "heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another." Imagine if everyone reflected this image toward everyone around them. It would be a new world!
This is why Contemplative Prayer is so very important in our daily experience. God yearns for our companionship. Will take the step? Only by spending time with God, do we become transformed into the image of God. It does not happen in any other way. The experience of Contemplative Prayer, communion or worship makes the worshiper increasingly like the Being who is worshiped.
And so, Contemplative Prayer invites us into an experience of depth in which we are privileged to commune with the very God who indwells our soul. Contemplative Prayer enriches our lives in unspeakable ways. You are invited to taste and see the reality of this experience, that God can be known and loved as the most benevolent and loving Friend that we shall ever be in relationship with.
"Of God, the Most Inescapable of all Presences, the Most Loving of all Friends, we have the Right to be the Most Certain of all Universe Experiences!" The Urantia Book
Guidelines for Contemplative Prayer:
1) Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's Presence and Action within.
2) Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God's Presence and Action within.
3) When engaged with your thoughts (ideas, inspirations, sensations, feelings), return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
4) At the end of the prayer period (twenty to thirty minutes), remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes. The sacred word can be any word that expresses your deepest intention to be present to God's Presence. (Father, Mother, Peace, Love, God, Glory, Abba) Bless You as Enter the Sacred Gate of the Infinite and Eternal God of Love!