Are Contemplative Prayer and Meditation Different?

Category: About Christian Contemplative Prayer and Meditation

Yes and no. The short answer is don’t worry about it too much. Sitting quietly doing nothing is fine. The terms contemplation and meditation are often used inter-changeably. But they are different ways of being open to God.  Imagine being shown a picture: If you meditate on the picture you actively engage your mind, imagination, and perception. What is the subject? How was it painted? How does it affect you? What might the artist have intended? If you contemplate the picture you just sit and gaze at it, allowing it to ‘speak’ to you however it may. So in contemplation we just ‘are’ before God with the four ‘S’s: Stillness, Silence, Simplicity, Surrender. See our page ‘A Brief Introduction to Contemplative Prayer’