These three words (writes Jan Johnson) take us to the heart of what contemplative prayer is all about.
Resting in God
‘The shadow of the Almighty is a safe place to rest for a soul that is scattered, parched, guilt-ridden, or uncertain.’
Psa 4:4 – ‘When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.’
Psa 37:7 – ‘Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;.’
Psa 62:5 – ‘ Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.’
Psa 116:7 – ‘Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.’
Waiting on God
This is ‘a frequent, honored pursuit in Scripture, is very different from the impatient waiting in a medical waiting room or waiting for a lost child to be found. Instead of being boring or anxious, it’s hopeful. Indeed, the words wait and hope often appear in proximity to each other throughout Scripture.’
Psa 130:5 – ‘I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.’
Isa 8:17 – ‘I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.’
Rom 8:25 – ‘But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.’
Tit 2:11-13 – ‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.’
‘Waiting on God is filled with an alert, expectant peacefulness. The psalmist is certain God will answer: “But it is for you, O LORD, that I wait; it is you, O LORD my God, who will answer” (Psalm 38:15, NRSV, emphasis added). The expectancy is electric as described by the Proverbs figure Wisdom: “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway” (Proverbs 8:34, emphasis added).’
Delighting in God
Scripture teaches us to delight in God not only for what he has done, but for who he is.
Psa 37:4 – ‘Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ (He will give you, that is, not necessarily health, or wealth, but his very self).
Psa 37:23 – ‘The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.’
Psa 43:4 – ‘Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.’
Isa 61:10 – ‘I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.’
When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer. The Navigators.