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Prayer Guides Course – Level II

ABOUT THE COURSE

The Prayer Guides Course is intended for those who desire to deepen their prayer experience and feel called to accompany others who turn to them for support on their spiritual journey. As part of the course, there will be experiential sessions in which aspects of prayer – forms of prayer, difficulties in prayer, aids to prayer, etc. – will be explored. Presentations on basic skills for leading prayer sessions in different contexts, and on listening skills and relationship dynamics will form part of the course. The Prayer Guides course is, therefore, suitable for a wide range of people: those who work in pastoral settings (hospitals, chaplaincies, prisons, spiritual direction and retreat ministries) and 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.

The Prayer Guides Course is not intended as an academic programme; the course will be mainly experiential and formative. 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.

There are two levels of the course: Level I (The Foundations of Prayer) and Level II (The Experience of Prayer). Each level can stand alone. You may take Level I and then a break to return to Level II at your own convenience when next it is offered. Level II builds on the modules explored in Level I.

VISION

To form people of prayer who are equipped to accompany those who may turn to them for support on their spiritual journey. The course acknowledges other Christian or Catholic traditions of prayer or spiritual formation but draws primarily from lived Carmelite spirituality in preparing course participants to be a prayerful presence in the world.

AIMS OF THE COURSE

  • To form people of prayer in a ten-week course over five months
  • To encourage an experience of living and praying with an online praying community
  • To encourage intimacy with God
  • To broaden an understanding of the variety of approaches to prayer
  • To enrich and deepen the prayer life of course participants
  • To equip the participant to be competent accompaniers for others in their prayer life and experience
  • To encourage learning, exploring and practicing forms of prayer in the Christian tradition

LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • All graduates of the course will have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the experience of prayer in a way that is enriching and empowering
  • An understanding of prayer as an experience of intimacy with God
  • The ability to help people to grow in their prayer and spiritual life
  • A deep knowledge of the contemplative tradition of Christian spirituality
  • An appreciation of our core identity as Beloved of God, informed by insights from Carmelite saints
  • A deep knowledge of the history of Carmelite spirituality, its biblical roots and where it sits within the history of Christian spirituality and in particular contemplative Christian spirituality.
  • Gaining a deep knowledge of the life, writing and teachings of significant Christian mystics: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity and Brother Lawrence. The candidates will have appropriated the disciplines they illuminate so compellingly: silence, solitude, community, contemplation, presence, prayer, listening, discernment, hospitality and integration.
  • A portfolio of resources on prayer and spiritual formation which can be a source for personal spiritual enrichment, e.g., journaling, images, symbols, etc.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

The Prayer Guides Course is open to all who wish to deepen their experience and knowledge of prayer and to explore the journey of prayer with others. Requirements for the course are:

  • Commitment to one’s prayer life
  • Heartfelt desire to draw from the rich tradition of Carmelite spirituality in deepening one’s prayer experience
  • Attendance (we understand that life does sometimes get in the way)
  • Prepare a short reflection paper each month
  • Keep a learning journal
  • Keep a portfolio
  • Level I must be completed but if you would still like to participate in Level II please contact the administrator

Sample Programme

Key Features

The following are the key features of our unique programme.

  • Hybrid Model: The unique combination of live-presentation sessions and online support through a phased release of learning resources makes it possible for people with various jobs and other commitments to have access to the programme without needing to give up these other commitments.
  • On-Demand: As the full course and all learning resources are accessible online, this makes it possible for people to participate on the course from anywhere in the world.
  • Focused in Structure and Approach: The course modules taught over a ten-month period by seasoned experts explore in depth the essential aspect in the topic of prayer and spiritual formation. They are delivered with sustained momentum which facilitates continuous learning while allowing dedicated time for exploring and experiencing the key features in the contemplative practice of prayer.
  • Contemplative in Focus: The programme is intent on introducing participants to, and immersing them in, formats of learning and the practice of prayer that will encourage them to grow in intimacy with God and in their own capacity for contemplative awareness, which is a way of being, living, seeing, listening and perceiving reality in an integrated and holistic fashion.
  • Authentically Catholic: Our Programme is based on an understanding of prayer in the Catholic Tradition rooted in Sacred Scripture.
  • Ecumenical in Outreach: Christians of all faith traditions are welcome on the Programme and our selection process deliberately encourages this diversity. Our Programme recognises that the Spirit is at work in all Christian traditions and so offers a forum where the mutual enrichment of Christians from diverse faith traditions, ministerial experiences, as well as educational and cultural backgrounds, can be made possible.
  • Carmelite Tradition as Foundation: Our Programme is founded on a tradition with an 800-year history from which has emerged a host of great saints and writers who have enriched the Church and guided countless pilgrims along the road of prayer. Saint Teresa of Avila is officially known in the Church as the Doctor of Prayer in recognition of her eminent teaching on prayer and the spiritual life. Her work and those of other saints in the Carmelite tradition such as John of the Cross, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Thérèse of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity and Edith Stein illuminate so compellingly the disciplines appropriate to the life of prayer: solitude, silence, community, contemplation, presence, listening and discernment.
  • Led by Seasoned Practitioners: All who contribute to our programme – speakers, mentors and facilitators – are experts in their fields with many years of experience in striving to lead a dedicated prayer life. Each member of the team has completed the required formation in the Carmelite contemplative tradition and is faithful to living a contemplative lifestyle (a mindful attunement to the Divine Presence and integration of prayer practices into their daily lives).
  • Accompanier-Guided: Throughout the Programme, personal and interpersonal care remain in view. The accompanier’s role is to support and assist course participants, both one-on-one and in a small group. Accompaniers help to facilitate participants’ engagement with the learning process, integration of the insights from shared guidance and discernment of the journey towards ownership of the gift of prayer.
  • Experiential and Practical Learning: Each course module facilitates experiential and practical learning by providing opportunities for growth and integration gained from personal reflection and communal activities.
  • Individually Guided Prayer: Online prayer guidance will be offered as an essential part of the Prayer Guides Course, and the Week of Online Individually Guided Prayer will be an integral part of the course.

Course Dates

PRAYER GUIDES COURSE (LEVEL I)
THE FOUNDATIONS OF PRAYER

March 20th 2021

Invitation to Prayer in the Carmelite Tradition (live-presentation)
PRACTICE: Central themes of Carmelite prayer
Spiritual conversation: responding to some Carmelite statements on prayer – what speaks?
Challenges? How would I express it? Collective concerns and opportunities for Carmelite
prayer in pastoral settings.
Workshop: planning a guided meditation.
Task for next session: opening up Carmelite images of God for others.

April 3rd 2021 

Personality, Experiences and Prayer (video lecture)
PRACTICE: A Carmelite approach to meditation
Spiritual conversation: Carmelite imagery of God.
Workshop: opening up these images for others.
Task for next session: how would I introduce a Carmelite approach to meditation?

April 17th 2021
May 1st 2021 

May 15th 2021

Drawing from the Wellsprings of Scripture (live-presentation)
PRACTICE: Biblical roots of Carmelite prayer and lectio divina
Spiritual conversation: looking for Christ in Scripture.
Workshop: leading a guided meditation on the theme of desert/waiting
Task for next session: introducing and leading a lectio session.

May 29th 2021 
June 12th 2021


June 26th 2021 

A Learning Hidden Deep in the Heart: Reflections from The Third Spiritual Alphabet,
Guide of St Teresa (video lecture)

PRACTICE: Disposing oneself for the gift of contemplation
Spiritual conversation: how is prayer a battle for the heart? what disposes the heart for a
place of loving communion?

Workshop: introducing an exercise in the prayer of recollection in everyday life.
Task for next session: planning a session on “personal prayer and the Eucharist”.

July 17th 2021
July 31st 2021 
**July 19th – 23rd -Week of Individually Guided Prayer

Course Dates

PRAYER GUIDES COURSE (LEVEL II)
THE EXPERIENCE OF PRAYER

September 18th 2021

Praying in the Company of Mary
PRACTICE: Living in the Company of Mary
Spiritual conversation: Mary, mother and sister: her place in my life.
Workshop: introducing a session on “praying with two Hebrew mothers” (Lk 1:46-55; cf. 1
Sam 2:1–10; Ps 113).
Task for next session: developing a meditation on Mary from a Carmelite perspective.

October 2nd 2021
Praying with St Paul

October 16th 2021

Discerning Growth/Regression in Prayer
PRACTICE:
Discerning Growth and Regression
Spiritual conversation: beginning to think about quiet days and retreats for growth in our
prayer life.
Workshop: continuing to reflect on my experience as a participant in a day of recollection; a
retreat; a time of guided prayer.
Task for next session: Beginning to think about planning quiet days and retreats.

October 30th 2021 

Feelings, Mystical Experiences and Prayer
PRACTICE
: Feelings, Locutions and Experiences
Spiritual conversation: how do I respond to talk of ‘favours’, visions, locutions? How does
Carmelite teaching affect this?
Workshop: brainstorming what is needed in planning a retreat day and how lessons drawn
from prayers of Scripture and the saints can help enrich the experience.

Task for next session: Continuing to reflect on retreats: individually guided retreats and
themed retreats.

November 13th 2021 – Contemplative Listening: Lectio Divina – Live Session
November 27th 2021 – Contemplative Vision: Praying with Art / Photography – Recorded Session
December 11th 2021 – The three ways of the spiritual life and prayer – The Fiery Nights – Live Session
*December 21st 2021 – The Living Flame of Love: Encountering the Mystery – Recorded Session

January 8th 2022
The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Prayer
PRACTICE
: Living in Appreciative Abandonment.
Spiritual conversation: how can I listening more appreciatively to life? what are the
obstacles and resistances to appreciative living? how do I live the Eucharist?
Workshop: Presenting a meditation on the mystery of the Trinity using brief Carmelite
meditations.
Task for next session: Planning for the closing session.

January 22nd 2022

Transformed by Prayer
Endings and new beginnings.
Participants will have the opportunity to prepare and lead our worship on the Day of
Graduation.
Closing ceremony of Graduation.

*January 10th – 14th
*Week of Individually Guided Prayer

Schedule

Saturdays 3:00-8:15pm Ireland/UK time
(US time 7-12:15pm Pacific / 10am-3:15pm Eastern)

2:45pm – Zoom Room opens
3:00pm – 3:05pm        Welcome, Introduction and Opening Prayer
3:05pm – 3:40pm        Session One
3:40pm – 3:50pm        Break
3:50pm – 4:25pm        Session Two
4:25pm – 4:45pm        Break
4:45pm – 5:15pm        Small Group Conversation
5:15pm – 5:40pm        Guide/Silent Prayer
5:40pm – 6:00pm        Feedback, Questions and Closing Prayer
6:00pm – 7:00pm        BREAK
7:00pm – 7:10pm        Follow-up on main theme of the day
7.10 pm – 7:35pm       Spiritual conversation in small groups
7.35 pm – 7:40pm       Short Break
7.40 pm – 8:05pm       Workshops – moving into practice – in small groups
8.05 pm – 8:15pm       Plenary Session and Closing Prayer
8.30 pm – Zoom Room closes

The second half of the live-session days of the course have a three-fold aim:

  • To ensure a firm grasp of the main themes, expanding and deepening them as necessary
  • To facilitate personal assimilation of the teaching that is presented, through the opportunity for prayer, through journaling and through spiritual conversation in small groups
  • To facilitate a capacity to articulate what has been assimilated and to practise it using the knowledge and insights gained to foster prayer in others, through spiritual conversation in small groups, practical sessions and preparatory work for these sessions.

On most days one topic raised on one Saturday will be the focus for the workshop of the following session so that there will be two weeks in which to think about it, read and prepare the required activity. Some activities will be modelled first by the tutors.

Registration and Next Steps

STEP 1:

To register please complete the registration form.
Any questions please email admin@carmelite.org.uk

STEP 2:

Proceed to payment

Cost

One off payment

£500

Cost

£250
over 2 monthly payments


(For alternative payment options, please call us on 07849 596572 or email: admin@carmelite.org.uk)