In Catholic, Evangelical and ‘Mainline’ literature, there is frequent mention these days of contemplation.
I recently saw an article in Christian Century which talked of the contemplative roots of our social action.
I like to distinguish meditation from contemplation–meditation being an active reflection on a Scripture passage or a spiritual text, seeking insight and knowledge, but with a view toward living the Christian life.
I view contemplation more as listening, as involving more silence–as we wait for God to speak to us. I am much more comfortable with meditation–since I tend more to learning and action. But I realize that when I am too active I am out of balance–needing more time to listen to God. It can be hard to keep the balance!.
My observation is that contemplation leads me to greater peace of heart and ultimately to more effective action. I think it is the nourishment for a long-term commitment to ministry.