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The Arising of Names In Meditative Prayer

Page 3

So, let us return to the arising of names, now that I have given some logical context for it. A name may be of a person you know, the name may be of an unknown person, or the name may be the name of someone you know, without any felt certitude that the known person is the referent of the arisen name. You may know, for example, a “Brian.” The name “Brian” arises to mind in meditation, but you may not sense it is the “Brian” you know.

The question arises, then, “When a name spontaneously arises within the Silence, what shall I do with it?” I offer these suggestions:

1. Take the name and, within the Silence, offer it to God, without dictating what God is to do for the person. At this point, do not try to decide what that person needs or does not need.
2. You may know who the person is, and doing some visualized prayer for him or her might be appropriate.
3. Within this offering of the name, you may feel some particular energy; feel free to move your mind to that area of the body and hold the name there within and before the Presence who brought that name to your attention.
4. You may know a particular or general need to pray about: for example, you may know who the person is and that she is going through a particular crisis; so, after holding the name in the Presence, you can offer specific request—or this might take the form of thanksgiving or praise. Once you sense the felt-energy recede regarding the name, or person, or sense a completion to the Silent Intercession, then, return to your resting in Silence.


5. Always, remember, simply offering the person before God is prayer, for God knows fully why that person was placed on your heart at that particular time. So, do not try hard to get specific in the prayer; Love itself is Prayer.
6. If you wish, you may decide to contact the person, if you knew who it was, and inform the person that he or she was placed on your heart and received prayer. However, only do this after discerning that you have peace to do it. Also, do not do it with a motive to impress the other person. Generally, I do not tell the person, but sometimes I do. There is no absolute rule here that covers every situation, but there is a principle: Only reveal such if you feel confident and at peace that it will be an encouragement to the person.

In this practice, as in others I give, be assured that such can take shape differently at different times and, also, based on your particular calling in Prayer. So, take my suggestions here, as elsewhere, and shape them as fits how the Holy Spirit is working in and through you, at a particular time in your Journey with God. My suggestions are like “hints” that arise from my experience, as well as hearing of and reading the experience of others, including experiences found in the Scripture, and to that reasoned extent, they do warrant openness to see them as, at least, a beginning point. However, contemplative practice, like life, has signposts, but there is more mystery than the mind can contain and, thus, we learn in the process and keep learning.

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