Meditative prayer involves thoughtfulness, introspection, and reflection; usually a lot of sitting around.
Active prayer involves action. Looking, feeding, cleaning, traveling, knocking, etc.
Marrying the two allows us to better experience what Christ Jesus talked about in his Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5-7
Both prayer types must be treated equal.
If meditative prayer dominates the consciousness, harmony and expression shrivel. If active prayer rules the roost, substantial mindfulness wavers and weakens.
In reviewing Christ Jesus Sermon on the Mount, we find concerted effort given to meditative and active prayers.
Jesus began his sermon with what we know as the “Beatitudes,” mini-proverbs packed with blessing and meaning; each deserving of thorough study.
Then he said, “You are the salt of the earth,” coaxing the mind to move.
We are warned to guard against insincere prayers that make us look pious or busy.
Christ Jesus flops back and forth between meditative prayer and active prayer, showing that one or the other doesn’t take precedence. There is no hierarchy in prayer. It is a mistake to assume we must pray meditatively first before active prayer kicks in. They work simultaneously and are invoked by love and truth. They are equal.
Although we are given the Lord’s Prayer to repeat and contemplate, the Sermon on the Mount continues on to overflow with verbs: serve one master, be faithful, be reconciled, look at the birds, see the lilies, keep your pearls from pigs, knock, give fish, watch out for false prophets, put good words into practice, and even, gouge out your eye if it causes you to sin.
I try not to confuse meditative and active prayers, just like I try not to confuse a meditative prayer with repeating words, or an active prayer with going through motions.
The other day, I took a plastic bag on my walk through the woods. I picked up litter, thanking God for all the beauty. I also responded to the idea to drop in on a neighbor. Her husband recently died and she was delighted to have a visitor.
A meditative prayer is quiet time with God, Truth. An active prayer is our Godlikeness in action. We know they are true when they bear blessings seen and felt, not only by our self, but also by others.