by Rodney Marsh
For about 15 years I have been using John Main’s trinitarian prayer to introduce my twice daily, thirty minute meditation sessions: “Heavenly Father, open our hearts to the silent presence of the spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call, ‘Maranatha…Come, Lord Jesus” On Trinity Sunday I thought how immensely grateful I was that John Main left us this prayer.
When I was first struggling with the practicalities of meditation I thought of changing John Main’s prayer “my heart” and “lead me” but I remembered that Jesus himself taught us to say, “our Father” and when I meditated I was praying with all those who, in Jesus name and in the power of the Spirit, pray to the Father of every family in heaven and on earth.
The Worldwide Community for Christian Meditation has preserved this prayer as part of the goal of Community to “communicate and nurture meditation as passed on through the teaching of John Main in the Christian tradition in the spirit of serving the unity of all.” It is the trinitarian nature of John Main’s understanding of the ‘prayer of the heart’ that makes our meditation “Christian”. John Main makes clear that, through the work of meditation, we are joining our spirits with the Spirit of Jesus in communion with his and our Abba in our hearts.
John Main explains, “Meditation is …. an incredibly simple means of leading us into an integral awareness of the nature of our own being and of the central, authenticating fact of our being which is the Spirit (of Jesus) praying ‘Abba, Father’ in our heart.” Speaking of different forms of all prayer (including meditation), John Main says “There is only one prayer, the stream of love between the Spirit of the risen Jesus and His Father, in which we are incorporate.” (quotes from Word Into Silence)
Entering into the mystery of stillness and silence in meditation I experience my being resting in God’s being and, for me, John Main’s trinitarian model gives voice to my experience. As the Greeks say, “theology springs from prayer”.
I wrote this poem to signify the communion of all prayer.
What is Prayer?
The Spirit hovers over a deep darkness
God listens for the wordless sighs
Abba speaks again the first Word of creation
“Let there be light”
The suffering love of Christ shines
To me and through me
Returning glory to God