Resting in God
Christian contemplative prayer originated in the earliest days of the Christian church with the Desert Fathers and Mothers, lay people who lived a life of simplicity and poverty in the deserts of Palestine, Egypt and Syria. These were the first Christian monks, although the church had no formalized hierarchy at the time. Through the middle ages, Christian contemplative practice was preserved in the monasteries and abbeys, although to a large degree these traditions were lost after the Reformation.
In recent years the Church has witnessed a resurgence of these practices, which include, for example, centering prayer, meditation, and lectio divina, the prayerful reading of the Bible. In contrast to many Christian practices that focus on understanding God through ideas, contemplative practices seek to develop an inward peace and quiet so that we move beyond words and ideas to an inward experience of God-within-us.