The School of Prayer is intended for those who realise the importance of prayer in their lives and are seeking a deeper relationship with God and support and encouragement in their search. It is not intended as an academic programme; the course will be mainly experiential. Participants will be invited to take an active part in spiritual conversation, workshops and small group sharing. It will also include essential reading, intended as a framework and support for the ongoing process of prayer, reflection and growth. For participants, it will offer the opportunity to be nourished by the rich treasures of Christian prayer with particular reference to the Carmelite tradition – and at the same time to explore their own prayer journey and share this experience with others.
The course will include the following: experiential sessions in which aspects of Carmelite prayer in the mystical tradition of Elijah, St Teresa of Jesus, St John of the Cross, and St Thérèse of Lisieux will be explored. A wide range of themes will be offered, including:
Individual prayer guidance will be offered as an essential part of the School of Prayer, and the Week of Individually Guided Prayer will be an integral part of the course.
The School of Prayer is open to all who wish to deepen their experience and knowledge of prayer and to explore the journey of prayer with others. One does not need to be a Carmelite or even know much of Carmelite spirituality to be part of the programme. All that is necessary is a commitment to one’s prayer life and a heartfelt desire to draw from the rich tradition of Carmelite spirituality in deepening one’s prayer experience.
The programme will be offered on every first and third Saturday of the month (unless marked with an asterisk), during term time in addition to the Weekend of Individually Guided Prayer. The Saturday programme starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Lunch is included.
The aim of this new course is to train participants to be ministers of prayer who will help others to pray and flourish in their prayer life. The course will explore the dynamics of prayer both in one-to-one settings and in prayer group meetings and workshops. The training will be based on Carmelite Spirituality in the contemplative as well as mystical tradition of St Teresa of Jesus, St John of the Cross, and St Thérèse of Lisieux.
The course will include the following: experiential sessions in which aspects of Carmelite prayer will be explored, biblical ways of prayer, reflections on the experience of prayer, listening skills and relationship dynamics, basic skills for leading prayer sessions, models of prayer, difficulties in prayer and aids to prayer.
One does not need to be a Carmelite or even know much of Carmelite spirituality to be part of the programme. All that is necessary is a commitment to one’s prayer life and a heartfelt desire to draw from the rich tradition of Carmelite spirituality in deepening one’s prayer experience and in accompanying others who turn to them for support on their spiritual journey.
A sample of the themes for the first term of the course, the Autumn Term:
Throughout the year, students will be asked to:
The Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality has an excellent library and bookshop, which are available to the participants on the programme. Throughout the year participants will work in small groups where they will share and discuss various topics and the experience of prayer in the Carmelite tradition. They will be encouraged to organise and lead Morning Prayer.
The course runs on Saturdays (mostly first and third of the month (unless marked with an asterisk) during term time, 10 am - 4 pm, and also includes the Weekend of individually Guided Prayer (dates to be arranged with each participant).
The programme builds on an interpretation of the experience of journeying towards intimacy with God as expressed in the life of Carmelite Saints and deriving from this principle for the growth and flourishing of the spiritual life. Carmelite Spiritual Direction, therefore, is rooted in the spirituality of the Carmelite tradition. At its heart is a prayerful listening and response to the God who befriends us and an expression of this experience through a life of contemplative awareness and friendship with one another.
The training programme in Carmelite Spiritual Direction is centred on journeying with others who seek to grow in their personal relationship with God. There are no set rules for this, no single pathway, but a willingness to deepen one’s contemplative awareness and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who is ever calling and working towards the greater fulfilment and wholeness of each one. One does not need to be a Carmelite or even know much of Carmelite spirituality to be part of the programme. All that is necessary is to have a heartfelt desire to draw from the rich tradition of Carmelite spirituality in deepening one’s own bonding with God and to walk with others as they journey through life.