A Transcript of a Majority of Dr. William Lovless’ "Short Meditational Prayer Exercise"

This is 19 minutes of what Dr. Loveless has refered to as "a short meditational prayer exercise to begin a minister's meeting three years ago in the Southern California Conference.  The whole episode no longer than twenty to twenty five minutes."

1) "Imagination is our God given ability to image that which has never been experienced in reality or perceived fully. To imagine that which has not been fully perceived or experienced. Does imagination deal with truth? Is that which we imagine as real as that which is true? Is imagining real or is imagining real? Is it as real as that which we fully experience, if indeed we ever do?"

2) "Let us in imagination go back to that scene, and as we sit with the disciples on that mountainside, in imagination will our imagination be as real as if we were sitting there? Or will our imagination be unreal? Now let us in imagination go back to that scene and as we sit with the disciples on that mountain side enter into the thoughts and feelings that filled their hearts, or will we be entering into our own thoughts and feelings? And will those thoughts be similar to the disciples, or dissimilar? How will we know, quote know whether these thoughts and feelings are similar, or the same, or alike ,or different? Understanding what the words Jesus meant to those who heard his sermon on the mount, we may discern in them, in these words, the sermon on the mount, as we have in the imagination, our own imagination, visualized, or imagined the scene of the preaching of the sermon on the mount, and have entered into the thoughts and feelings of the disciples who sat there 2000 years ago. We may discern in these words a new vividness and beauty and may also gather for ourselves their deeper lessons. All through the use of the imagination, our own imagination. Will our imagination then be dealing with truth? Of course. How will we know what is true? How will know that our imagination is not diseased, or sick, or misused, or errant in some way, and therefore the picture we imagine will be wrong? That’s from the Mount of Blessing, page 1, paragraph 2. That’s the second paragraph of that little book which is Ellen White’s commentary on the sermon on the mount."

3) "let us in imagination go back to that scene. From the Bible Commentary, vol. 7, page 940, ‘The Lord purifies the heart very much as we air a room. We do not close the doors and windows, and throw in some purifying substance; but we open the doors and throw open the windows and let heaven’s purifying atmosphere flow in.’ Very abstract. It’s a compliment to us. We don’t talk abstractly to dog’s and horses. monkeys and fish. They don’t have 3-D understanding, only we do. ‘the windows of heaven, the windows of impulse, of feeling, must be opened up toward heaven, and the dust of selfishness and earthiness must be expelled.’ Very abstract. What does this mean? ‘the grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind. I mean that sounds like a Buddhist talking, doesn’t it. Their a real mystic in action, right there. You know. ‘The grace of God must sweep though the chambers of the mind.’ What in the world does that mean? I mean, give me something solid man, don’t give me that mystic body stuff."

3) "‘The imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God.’ That’s Adventism’s best known mystic in action. "Abstract meditation is not enough; busy action is not enough-- both are essential...’ That sounds like Saint John of the Cross speaking now. Same kind of language. Or William Johnston from the Sophia Seminary in Tokyo, or Morton Kelsey from his desert retreat in Arizona."

4) "So let us in imagination, this God given power to image that which has never been fully perceived in the past, and experience it this morning in concrete terms as it applies to our own experience. Well let’s take then a very abstract idea, let me read it once more. ‘Let us in imagination go back to that scene, and as we sit with the disciples on the mountain side, enter into the thoughts and feelings that filled their hearts.’ So we are going to use our imaginations this morning to image some things that our own lives have never fully imaged before. We will create this morning an image of Jesus. We will image a conversation with Him. We will image interaction with Him on a personal level, and listen to His voice and see what He shall say. (This is two or three statements of over 250 that I have collected carefully from the writings of Ellen White with regard to meditation prayer.) The basis of our meditation is always Scripture, it’s never Ellen White. Ellen White doesn’t take us any place in meditation. She is the lesser light to point us to the major light. That’s he own claim, that’s what works. Forget about the Desire of Ages, Steps to Christ, Ministry of Healing, or any other books for meditation, it won’t work, Stay with the Scriptures."

5) "I Would suggest you take your glasses off. if you wear them. You’re not going to need them to see anything here with them. We’re going to see some things, but we’re not going to see them with our glasses. I like to sit, rather than lie when I meditate. Now pews are awful, but they’re the best we have. You can’t drop your hands at your sides. You can’t do the tense and relax exercises to get ready for meditation with pews, but we don’t expect anything to happen in church anyway. That’s why we have pews. I like to put my feet out on my heals, and then bring them back so they’re kind of at the minimal where there’s any weight, and I can imagine in my mind if I wanted to that I’m floating. I can almost feel I’m floating. I’m not a Majarashee University levitator, who by the way they don’t levitate. All they do is jump. I have seen several of them in my living room demonstrate to me their levitation, and what they do is basically hop. They don’t levitate at all. Its important to be in a quiet place, and this certainly is that , as our prayer said at the beginning. It is a delightful place to sit in. It’s quiet, and calm this morning, and the lights are indirect, and that’s all good. Physically setting is very important. We need to teach our people how to do what I am doing with you now in church. If I can do it in the University Church with 3500 people sitting there jammed together elbow to elbow, you can do it in your church regularly."

6) "Our people don’t know how to deal with silence. They don’t know how to deal with quietness. They have a difficult time with all of this. We need to teach them how, to work with them, and the only time we have them at our command, in a sense were going to hypnotize them, suggestible people-- the only time we can do this is Sabbath. That’s when they’re together."

7) "We need to teach them that breathing is important. That body posture is important. They need to learn how to relax their muscles, starting with their face. so then if we are sitting up relatively straight, that’s hard to do again in a padded pew, but possible. And our legs are in a position that is comfortable, and we have our hands loose on our knees or at our side if we could, but some place where it is relatively comfortable. We are going to enter into some simple exercises in preparation for meditation, in preparation for prayer. We need to have church services like this every week for our people so they can learn how critical it is to take time to reflect and to pray and to dialogue with heaven. Because you see, I believe that your imagination in conjuring up images is dealing with equal truth to scripture. Because the Scriptures say the same Spirit that inspired it inspires us to understand it. That what we mean by the doctrine of inspiration. People who are not every day mediators shouldn’t even be discussing the doctrine of inspiration because they don’t know anything about it. And we shouldn’t be talking about things in public that we don’t know anything about."

8) "Some deep breathing like three or four times, just on your own, way down deep. I suggest you close your eyes to block out all outside interferences. In our own words we invite the Lord to come to us in His way."

9) "Visualize or image or picture a day. What kind of day is it? Draw the weather in your mind. Picture a day. It can be today or yesterday or a day of your imagination. And when you have picked the day, place in the day your home. And because we are using our imagination as a vehicle for this prayer, the home can be the one you live in now, it can be a childhood home, it can be a dream house you have never lived in. Picture your home and surround it with weather, with the day. And be aware how tense you face is, your neck and your shoulders. As you picture your home surrounded by the weather and the day, see if you can relax your face and shoulders. Let your face sag, just let it droop, Concentrate in relaxing which is the paradox of Christian meditation, we concentrate to relax. Focus on loosening, and relaxing the muscles of your neck and shoulders. Let your face hang. There comes a knock on the door of your house and you walk to the door to open it and Jesus is standing there, and you invite Jesus to come into your house and you go into the room and the two of you sit down together and begin to talk. There may be thing you’ve wanted to ask Jesus, or things you’ve been wanting to say to Him all your life, since you were a child. In your own words say them to Him now, as the two of you sit in your house talking. Go ahead ask Him or say it to Him. In your imagination visualize the face and form of someone outside your family who has most clearly represented Jesus to you in your life. Someone who has been a real help to you. Someone who has been a blessing, who has represented Jesus. See if you can picture them clearly now in your mind’s eye. Come time to eat and you and Jesus go to the kitchen, and as you prepare food, Jesus stands in the door and talks with you, as you make preparations, and soon you sit down together to eat. And after the meal is over Jesus stands to His feet and indicates that He must be leaving now. As you walk Him to the door and bid Him goodbye, He leaves and walks down the road, the road or path or sidewalk that He came on and you close the door quietly and you stand there thinking--[comment made from the audience]-- Oh yea, it’s a good children’s story for church. This will lead them into meditation. Take a pencil and paper, I hope you brought something to write with, ‘cause we’ll certainly need it most of the day, and listen carefully to me. Do a three entry journal reflecting on this experience for yourself. What I have done is try to model for you what you can do with your church, and what you should do with your church on a regular basis. If not every Sabbath at least a couple of Sabbaths a month. I’ve briefly got you in touch as you need to get your congregations in touch with the physical preparations for meditation. Importance of quietness, importance of breathing, importance of body tone and posture, are all significant, and our people need to know this. They need to why it is significant. Not a lesson in physiology and anatomy, but a simple lesson in what the great mystics through the centuries have learned and told us, and taught us about this." q

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