The Spiritual Discipline of Contemplation

Contemplation is not a commonly-discussed spiritual discipline for Christians, perhaps because it could easily lend itself to mysticism or reminds too much of the practice of other religions like Buddism.  However, when rooted on the Word of God and balanced with other disciplines like worship and prayer, contemplation can help us practice the presence of God and respond to His Word.

The practice of contemplation includes (taken from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun's Spiritual Disciplines Handbook):

  • Practicing the presence of God and keeping company with Jesus all the time.
  • Taking time to truly see and gaze on life.
  • Sensitivity and obedience to God's revelation.
  • Savoring the symbolic nature of life and faith.
  • Being, not just doing.

Some of the fruits of contemplation include:
  • Freedom from preoccupation with self that keeps you from focusing on others.
  • Living the tensions of life reflectively.
  • Patience with life.
  • Seeing there is more to life than efficiency and productivity.
  • Knowing through faith, hope and love, not just the mind.
  • Opens us wide to life (not believing the lie that experiences alone open us to life)
  • Entering into the moment with a heart alive to whatever might happen.
  • Refusing the compulsion to go everywhere, see everything, and try everything new.
  • Seeking God and the meanings threaded through our days and years so that our experiences of being embedded in the triune life of God deepens and grows.


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