Beside the Still Waters

Creative Meditations from the Woods

Janice Gray Kolb

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ISBN: 1-57733-122-2, 276 pp., 6x9, paper, $16.95

Beside the Still Waters is a personal view of prayer. Janice Kolb suggests a variety of ways to be in constant contact with God. She uses these techniques regularly and has developed a prayer life that is powerful, satisfying, rewarding - and that works for her. These meditations can transform your prayer life into something entirely new - a source of personal fulfillment, power and strength. Use what works for you, discard what does not, but consider carefully what might bring you into a closer relationship with God.

Many of these prayers may be familiar; others may be new to you. Being open to all that you read, you may discover new pathways to God and loving consolation. Though written from a Christian perspective, these prayers can be adapted to conform to other traditions.

The meditations include personal sharings and poetry. Certain prayer forms may feel comfortable at once. With so many to choose from, you can try different ones for different situations and different people in need. Eventually you may use every form of prayer in the book. The book can serve as a guide, refresh your spirit, and to inspire you to pray always.

This collection of prayers and meditations will uplift your heart and soul and draw you closer to God.

Table of Contents

A Word in Preparation
Meditation 1: Prayer Language and Laying-on of Hands
Meditation 2: Visualization and Relinquishment Prayer
Meditation 3: Prayer of Self Worth
Meditation 4: Subconscious Prayer
Meditation 5: Prayer of Walking
Meditation 6: Mary-Blessed Mother of Jesus
Meditation 7: Prayer of Journal Keeping
Meditation 8: Prayer Shawls and Prayer Blankets
Meditation 9: Reflections on the Scriptures and Memorization
Meditation 10: Prayer of Sorrow and Grieving
Meditation 11: Prayer of Hypnagogic Imagery
Meditation 12: A Suspension of Time
Meditation 13: Imaginative Prayer
Meditation 14: Contemplative Reading
Meditation 15: Prayer of Trees, Creatures, Flowers and Rocks
Meditation 16: Listening Prayer
Meditation 17: Ahimsa, Rochester and Angels
Meditation 18: Creating Your Own Books
Meditation 19: Prayer Candles
Meditation 20: Angel Unaware?
Meditation 21: Prayer of Photographs
Meditation 22: Prayer of Story Telling
Meditation 23: Prayer Kittens-and Other Earth Angels
Meditation 24: Prayer of Letter Writing
Meditation 25: Prayer of Fasting
Meditation 26: Prayer of Music
Meditation 27: Prayer of Guiding Words
Meditation 28: Prayer of Forgiveness
Meditation 29: Prayer of Drawing
Meditation 30: Prayer of Gathering
Meditation 31: Prayer of Litany
Meditation 32: Prayer of Poetry
Meditation 33: Poustinia
Hymn for Bedtime: As I Lay Down to Sleep


Alfred Lord Tennyson has penned, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of," and this simple powerful statement can be an inspiration to any one who reads it. I have written it often into my journals and whispered it to myself after intensely praying for a special intention. Prayer! How can we live without prayer being an accompaniment to all that we do? No, even more than an accompaniment, how can we not make prayer an integral part of our lives woven into the very core of our existence so that we do not have to turn to prayer because it is already continually there. Talking to God should be as natural as breathing, whether it is interiorly or in whispers or aloud. He is present to us in every moment. We simply have to trust in Him.

Jesus has said "Let the children come to me; the kingdom of God is theirs" (Matthew 19:14). I have known and heard that verse since I was a little child and prayer has been a part of my life since childhood. I prayed naturally as in conversation as well as recited the "Lord's Prayer" and "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep," the "Apostle's Creed" and other well known prayers. But it was in talking with Jesus in a natural way that made me feel close to Him and safe. But we are all His children no matter what our age, and if we come to Him simply as a child in utter trust we can find peace of heart and soul. I not only talk to Him, but I write to Him too. Often instead of talking to Him I write letters to God in my journals. Writing for me leads into deeper prayer, just as a loved one comes to mind when writing to him or her. The person then becomes present as I write and I feel this presence in spirit and see the person in my mind's eye. So it is then with God or Jesus. Writing to me is a form of prayer also. It always has been.

In this book I have written only about the things I know, about the prayer forms that I have used and the ones I continue to use. Therefore, this means there will be many types of prayer not included in this book because they are not part of my experience or I may deliberately have chosen not to use them for a specific reason. Too, perhaps another book on prayer covers these excluded ones in a more in-depth way. There are however, many prayers in this book sufficient enough to touch and help people in all walks of life and of any age and for always.

Some prayers I have purposely excluded like the Rosary, the Lord's Prayer, the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed, Prayers for the Dead, Baptismal Prayers and Marriage Prayers, because these would all be in prayer books or hymnals for individual religious disciplines. Some may be briefly mentioned but only in passing in the text of some other prayer form that is written about in depth.

Many of these prayers in this book you may be very familiar with and may even regularly use. Others may be unknown to you. I pray you will be open to all that you read, meditation after meditation, so that you may discover new pathways to God and loving consolation. Though I am writing as a Christian the prayers included in this book can be adapted as is or changed slightly to conform to other traditions. Even Christian prayers differ somewhat in the Protestant and Catholic faiths in whose framework I am involved, and even these two have outreaches to other Christian denominations that are countless, and each would have some Christian prayers that are totally for their own tradition. I have and own books on Judaism and Buddhism and have learned about deeply spiritual practices and prayers and meditations that adapted to my own Christian faith and directed to God or Jesus have been spiritually beautiful and rewarding. So it is in this spirit I offer to all readers no matter what your religion, or even if you have none or are still searching, this collection of prayers and meditations to uplift your heart and soul and to console and to draw you closer to God. You will know how to receive them and sense a "knowing" in your spirit. If you were attracted to this book on prayer in the first place, God is at work in your life even if you should doubt this. So just slowly and meditatively read. You will be led as to how many meditations to read at one reading. You may wish to reread some that particularly appeal to you as you go on. Then too, you may wish to reread the book or reread one meditation a day. You will be led.

In each meditation are personal sharings and confidences related to that particular type of prayer as well as poetry. Perhaps there will be certain prayer forms you will be drawn to at once and will begin to use. With so many to choose from you can try different ones for different situations and different people in need. The Spirit will guide you. Eventually you may use every form of prayer in the book. The book will or can forever serve as a guide to refer back to and refresh your spirit in and to inspire you to pray always. Jesus has asked us to pray always. In his inspiring book "Pray All Ways" author Edward Hayes states, "To pray all ways is the unspoken admonition that is cleverly hidden in the spoken request of Jesus, 'Pray always.' To learn how to 'pray always' is to master the art of learning how to pray in all ways and at all times."

To pray in these ways means we must be in communion with Jesus and His Father and this in itself is prayer, this living communion. It means all we are engaged in is permeated with this prayer. We cannot abandon and turn away from all our other activities and responsibilities to family to go apart continually for prayer, and so we must unite ourselves to God and then all we do becomes living prayer. There are so many ways to pray and all becomes this amazing living prayer when we are bound to Him. It is what I expressed at the very beginning of this introduction.

Also, to gain all that is possible from these forms of prayer, I suggest that you reflect upon the closing section of each meditation and record your responses. To do this you will need a journal or notebook and a pen. If you are already a journal keeper you could use your present journal, but perhaps it would be nice to have a special journal, a new one, to use just for this book. Then when you are finished reading and writing you will have written your own personal prayer book. You will feel a closeness to it and it will feel Holy to you. You may wish to go back and reread my book at times or certain meditations in it that you are particularly drawn to and then you can add to your written responses, for in all probability new thoughts will come to you in the reading and through your personal prayers.

Lay hands on your journal and bless it. As a child of God you have this power. Perhaps write a personal prayer you have created in the front of your journal or a prayer by another that has meaning to you. Write a dedication in it too if you wish. Possibly use different color inks for your responses to the different meditations. You will be led as you read and write. Things will pour out from your pen that will surprise you. Treat your journal with great respect for with each entry it becomes more and more personal and Holy. Keep it in a special and protected place. You are meeting God through the reading of this book and through writing in your own journal.

Blue Dolpin Publishing, 2003

Other books by Janice Kolb:
Compassion for All Creatures
Journal of Love
The Enchantment of Writing
Higher Ground
Beneath the Stars & Trees ... there is a place
In Corridors of Eternal Time
Solace of Solitude
A Pilgrim on Life's Road
Silent Keepers
Reflections by the Lake
The Adventures of Luki Tawdry
Reverence for All Life
Whispered Notes

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