Guarding the Heart: A Guidebook of Contemplative Prayer Practices

Guarding the Heart: A Guidebook of Contemplative Prayer Practices

by Michael Connell


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Guarding the Heart: A Guidebook of Contemplative Prayer Practices is designed for people who are on the faith journey and who want to experience more from their prayer life. For many on that journey there is a strong sense of being drawn by the Spirit towards a deeper way to enrich one’s contact with one’s source and to strengthen that relationship. This guidebook will provide some simple and powerful prayer practices to experiment with to continue that deeper descent into the Divine. Each of the prayer practices is designed to be a general starting point for the user to experiment with. If, after trying some of the practices, one resonates with you, I have provided an extensive list of resources where you will find many wonderful books by the experts in the world of prayer and contemplative practices.

This guidebook can be used as a personal guide for your prayer life. It can also be used with contemplative prayer groups in a congregation or in prayer gatherings in peoples’ homes. It is also designed to be a resource for spiritual directors in their work with those they are guiding on the faith journey or for students in spiritual direction training.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943995493
Publisher: Mission Point Press
Publication date: 01/20/2018
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL CONNELL has been practicing Spiritual Direction for nine years and has been leading Contemplative Prayer groups over the last several years. He was certified in spiritual direction after completing a three-year Spiritual Formation program at the Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is currently participating in a spiritual formation program with the Shalem Institute in Washington, D. C., working towards a certification in contemplative prayer group leadership and retreat leadership.

Table of Contents

Foreword … ix

How to Use this guidebook … xi

Chapter One: Taking a Contemplative Stance … 5

Developing A Prayer Practice

Some Practical Issues

Some Thoughts on Contemplation

Chapter Two: Developing Awareness … 19

The Present Moment

A Body Awareness Meditation

Practicing Presence

Chapter Three: From the Monastic Tradition … 31

The Practice of Lectio Divina

The Practice of Lectio Divina in Small Groups

The Examen Prayer

Chapter Four: Imaginative Prayer … 45

Scripture Imaging

Developing a Prayer Group or Prayer Council

A Conversation with a Spiritual Giant

Chapter Five: Praying for Others … 59

Praying For Others

The Blessing Prayer

The Practice of Tonglen

The Practice of Metta or Loving Kindness

Chapter Six: Meditation and Contemplative Prayer … 71

Meditation and Contemplative Prayer

Centering Prayer

The Welcoming Prayer

Christian Meditation

The Jesus Prayer

The Yahweh Prayer

Mindfulness Meditation

Chapter Seven: Active Prayer and Contemplation … 95

Contemplative Walking


Composing Your Own Prayer

Final Thoughts … 105

Prayers … 111

Suggested Readings on Prayer

and Contemplative Practices …

Bibliography … 137

About the Author … 141

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