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Prayer For Progressive Christians


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Janet has suggested that perhaps we should discuss the relevance of prayer for Progressive Christians.

I am assuming the question is about when we have given up on the concept of a god who is constantly steering the events of our lives?

Do other progressives still pray in any form? Or is prayer a dead ritual when individual requests are no longer on the agenda?

Do the concepts of thanksgiving and praise still make it a worthwhile concept?

And how do people deal with a request to lead prayer in public, when listeners may be expecting something quite different from what you are comfortable with?

I have many questions about prayer, but this is a starting point.

Talking about people's prayer life seems to be like asking someone what they earn...a very personal topic.

 

 

 

This topic was moved unchanged from debate section to dialog for progressive Christians --- JosephM (Moderator)

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As a PC I have not given up on the concept of a God who is in a sense steering the events of our lives. In fact I see more of God's divine order in my life as I progress. For me, prayer is mostly a wordless event except when in public and asked to lead in prayer or by special request. I know that God knows what I have need of and trust what is needed will come my way. To me it is more of a watching for answers than a wording of a prayer or request. If someone asks me to pray for them as in a special request, I listen for instructions and if I sense an unction I declare it done as I see it in Spirit and with a few exceptions, for which I have no explanation, it is done. That's about all I have to contribute and look forward to the experience of others and how they see the relevance of prayer as a PC.

Joseph

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I'm new here, and I am glad this has come up. Prayer has become a major dilemma for me. I do not personally accept God as a supernatural parent, so prayer in the "ask and you shall receive" sense has lost meaning for me. I also do not see God as an interloper in life, but the source of all life, so i do not accept that a divine hand will alter the path of anything in this plane of existence. That being said, I still feel compelled to pray. I have heard it called anything from "centering prayer" to meditation, but the compulsion is very deep, and the serenity I experience from the act is sincere. My prayer has become anything from a random moment of silence to calm my jagged nerves in a moment of stress, to recitations of "the Jesus Prayer" with a string of beads, to trips around the rosary with the traditional 'Our Father" and "Ave Maria". I find a sense of reverence and sanctity in traditional prayer, even though my religious bend is very unorthodox. Does this make any sense, or I am I just creating a biofeedback reaction of my own instigation?

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Hi Jake,

I agree with you. The issue of prayer is complex.

Without it, there are parts of my life, that I would have struggled to get through.

And I agree that the traditional stuff remains a comfort some times, despite problems that I may have with its theology.

Hearing people sing "Oh Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world" should offend me theologically, but it is calming and I still love it (and many other hymns of a similar time in history and way of thinking.)

Just as religious singing from other traditions, that I know little about, can have an effect.

The Lord's Prayer is unproblematic for me and something that I can pull out of my repertoire, as my only voice, when I am in a situation of absolute despair.

I have chanted it over and over when I have had no strength to formulate anything else.

Today, I pray very rarely in a traditional sense. The centreing prayer that you talk about is what I would do most often.

Like 'Help me to be more tolerant in this situation. Help me to be patient. Help me to focus. Help me to calm down.Help me to think clearly and make the right decision.'

I agree with the writer Anne Lamott on this "Help me.Help me" and "Thank you. Thank you." are powerful prayers.

I still enjoy more traditional forms of prayer as a way of thinking of others, on a personal, but also global scale.

I have no idea when I speak these things, who I address it to, but as long as it is helpful, for me at least, I will persist.

For example, with a sick person, I cannot pray for their recovery, but I will pray that they know that they are cared for and thought of and that they may find peace.

I struggle in a church situation, where people are wanting a structure of praise, thanksgiving, petitions etc and it all ending with "we ask this in Jesus name."

I am really bad at that kind of prayer and I am glad to have learnt new ways to pray as I have gotten older.

I have no answers, but I find they are less important as I go along.

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Hi Jake,

I agree with you. The issue of prayer is complex.

Without it, there are parts of my life, that I would have struggled to get through.

And I agree that the traditional stuff remains a comfort some times, despite problems that I may have with its theology.

Hearing people sing "Oh Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world" should offend me theologically, but it is calming and I still love it (and many other hymns of a similar time in history and way of thinking.)

Just as religious singing from other traditions, that I know little about, can have an effect.

The Lord's Prayer is unproblematic for me and something that I can pull out of my repertoire, as my only voice, when I am in a situation of absolute despair.

I have chanted it over and over when I have had no strength to formulate anything else.

Today, I pray very rarely in a traditional sense. The centreing prayer that you talk about is what I would do most often.

Like 'Help me to be more tolerant in this situation. Help me to be patient. Help me to focus. Help me to calm down.Help me to think clearly and make the right decision.'

I agree with the writer Anne Lamott on this "Help me.Help me" and "Thank you. Thank you." are powerful prayers.

I still enjoy more traditional forms of prayer as a way of thinking of others, on a personal, but also global scale.

I have no idea when I speak these things, who I address it to, but as long as it is helpful, for me at least, I will persist.

For example, with a sick person, I cannot pray for their recovery, but I will pray that they know that they are cared for and thought of and that they may find peace.

I struggle in a church situation, where people are wanting a structure of praise, thanksgiving, petitions etc and it all ending with "we ask this in Jesus name."

I am really bad at that kind of prayer and I am glad to have learnt new ways to pray as I have gotten older.

I have no answers, but I find they are less important as I go along.

 

 

 

Greetings Time,

 

 

I too value and use Anne Lamott's simple,beautiful little prayer. Sometimes....that's all I can say....those desperate,simple,powerful little words.

I am learning how to direct my pray words away from the sky,and instead pray from the very depths

of my heart,where I have come to believe God really lives.

 

blessings,

 

jerryb

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I have struggled with this issue for some time, and my recent thoughts are that prayer helps me to focus energy into particular directions. If I bring to God what is on my heart, it also becomes present in my mind. A friend of mine attended a talk where the speaker was saying that if you want something, you need to concentrate on that thing in a very focused manner and picture yourself attaining what you desire. The example my friend used was that a girl had focused on winning a shopping spree, and she indirectly got one after months of focusing on how she would feel if she won. I told my friend that to me, that is a lot what prayer is like -- except that my desires would be change in myself or change in the world. Asking for God's power to change or taking time to express gratitude focuses me in the right direction.

 

I also just finished an online Bible study that suggested some of us are too rigid about how we pray. The study had us take a self inventory of our personalities, and the things that help to center us. For example, if a person is athletic, they may make time to connect with God while jogging. In my case, much of my "prayer" life is offering up an appropriate song to God at my piano and then sitting in silence.

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I am very much in agreement with what has been said, about non-traditional forms of prayer, but what about the issue Joseph raised, of God still in some sense steering our lives?

This is the bit that I struggle with most. If God has time to "steer" events in my life, why he is not steering nations and leaders?

If I accept that God is not steering at all, then does this "centre-ing prayer" become just inner talk as Jake suggested? (Bio- feedback.)

And does it matter, if it helps us to work towards the goals of inclusiveness and social justice that Jesus brings into focus?

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I am very much in agreement with what has been said, about non-traditional forms of prayer, but what about the issue Joseph raised, of God still in some sense steering our lives?

This is the bit that I struggle with most. If God has time to "steer" events in my life, why he is not steering nations and leaders?

If I accept that God is not steering at all, then does this "centre-ing prayer" become just inner talk as Jake suggested? (Bio- feedback.)

And does it matter, if it helps us to work towards the goals of inclusiveness and social justice that Jesus brings into focus?

 

HI Timeflows,

 

To understand what I mean when I said that "I have not given up on the concept of a God who is in a sense steering the events of our lives and In fact I see more of God's divine order in my life as I progress", one has to not look at a God who is as man or outside of self or separate from ANY of creation. God who is the source of my very life energy that is seen as my self (the created conditioned creature) is not separate because nothing can happen in the manifested world of self without the empowerment and concurrent energy of God which is always at each moment in the concept of time a sum total of All that is throughout time. From that perspective there are no accidents or causes within the manifested world of self. This manifested world is a world of effects and not causes. It is creation unfolding. That which appears as cause is merely preconditions. We are evolving creatures that exist in a divine balance. Every hair on our head is numbered. In that sense, which is most difficult to put in understandable words each of us are in reality tied together as One. In this world, there can not be a perpetrator without a willing victim nor a victim without a willing perpetrator. a giver without a receiver, good without evil, beautiful without ugly, etc. They are one and the same and seen as creation evolves in time. This is in a sense a self regulating universe of which God is the source. In this sense God is steering the events of our lives according to our present state of consciousness. We make limited conditioned choices and creation evolves but not without the steering of the nature of God which empowers both that which you now see as 'good' or 'evil' which in reality is a concept that exists only in mind. I realize this opens a Pandora's box of questions, and may even sound like double talk, nevertheless, in my experience, this is true.

 

Yes, indeed God is steering the nations and leaders also as you might suppose. It is part of creation which is one and the same with the creator. It is not two things. There are no parts in God. When you try to conceptualize what I am saying, you run into paradox after paradox. You must experience this for yourself and then no words are necessary, or possible for that matter because it is beyond the concepts of the created creature. It can only be subjectively experienced by the creature.

 

This is just my view for your consideration of the question. Agreement or disagreement is not being solicited.

It is my present verbalized attempt to answer what seems unanswerable. To me, experience comes first and then attempts to conceptualize it follow which to me are always inadequate.

Joseph

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  • 2 weeks later...

I see that this topic has been idle but ...

 

Joseph wrote

I have not given up on the concept of a God who is in a sense steering the events of our lives and In fact I see more of God's divine order in my life as I progress.

 

I wonder if God is not steering from the back of the boat, but is in that space before the next moment. That when we and God meet in the present God is revealed and made complete. Is God steering the nations? No. Can the people of the nations join with God in the present? Yes, I think they can. Without us God cannot steer anything.

 

Just thinking out loud

Dutch

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Perhaps it may be said that in the act of prayer God is intervening in our lives? In the sense that it is not we ourselves who pray but the spirit. This assumes of course that God is not ontologically separate from our own lives or life in general.

Edited by Mike
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I do not declare myself a Progressive Christian - I am merely a human who chooses to follow Christ. I really despise labels - it pigeonholes and boxes one in, and I do not find that is what God desires for our lives.

 

In any case, not to digress from this thread, how I have come to see prayer in my life is like having a conversation with God. Not asking for specific things, just talking with Him about issues I have - or just to talk with Him period. Most times these are silent conversations I have in my head - and I know He hears me. Otherwise I view prayer almost as a spell...a desire to control God to our own whims. I did this for too long in my life - trying to control God to my personal whims - and I refuse to revert back to an old mindset thinking I can control Him. We have no authority to control Him in my perceptions - but we have the authority to have faith in Him.

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I have come to see prayer in my life is like having a conversation with God. Not asking for specific things, just talking with Him about issues I have - or just to talk with Him period.

 

I think this is one of the most important aspects of prayer.

I knew an artist who walked into her studio each day and asked silently. "OK, God what are we going to make today."

 

Dutch

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I have been struggling with prayer for years. To be honest, it's a very painful topic for me.

When I was little I used to love praying before dinner. My sister and I used to argue over who got to pray! Later in life I became afraid of prayer because of some painful situations that came out of nowhere. Not too long after that my mom used to force me to pray with the other people in our pew. My sisters protected me from her as best they could and eventually my mom gave up on getting me to pray. Now I go to a different church and I'm trying to pray but I'm still scared to and it still hurts. Im even afraid to as for others to pray for me, but admiting my fears helps so please bear with me.

And forgive my awful spelling.

Kyler.

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Hi, Kyler

 

I think there are some good answers to your conflict about prayer in earlier posts. I would just add one observation. Asking someone to pray for you or being asked to pray for them seems also to be a social contract in which you say to the individual, "I care about you." or "I'll be thinking about you." But we often say "I'll pray for you." because that's what we are used to. This is just one more layer to many layers of "prayer."

 

Richard Foster wrote "To pray is to change" and whether we need other's care, or we are looking for a Divine answer, or are troubled, when you sit by the window praying, so to speak, change will happen, and it will be for good. When someone knows what the answer is before praying then there will be no change.

 

Years ago when my daughter was very ill, after 3 intense days Diane and I were exhausted. Twelve people from our church came to the hospital, gowned up, and went into Annie's room to pray. In the hallway Diane and I slid down the wall. The first person who spoke prayed for the evil spirits to leave the room. Not ever a reality that I lived in, but she cared and out of her reality she was helping as best she knew. What mattered was that 12 people cared enough to be there with us. It is not what happens; it is who you are with when it happens. In Spirit and in body.

 

So much for just adding one observation . . .

 

Peace,

Dutch

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Hi, Kyler

 

I think there are some good answers to your conflict about prayer in earlier posts.

 

Not to argue or disagree disrespectfully, but I don't really think there is an answer to my conflict in any of the earlier posts.

I'm afraid to pray because I prayed once for something bad to stop happening, but instead of stopping it just got worse. Every time I prayed it seemed to either get worse or just continue. I've lost confidence in prayer, in myself and in my ability to pray. Praying freaks me out! I just don't want to make something worse by praying for it to get better. I don't think seeing prayer another way will help me get back to it.

Strange; my faith in God has been refounded, but I'm still afraid to pray to him. I'm not afraid to talk to him, just pray. When things get bad, I flee to God, but I'm afraid to tell him whats making me run. I just sit there in his presense catching my breath so I can go back out into the world again. Am I alone in this? Am I the only one afraid to pray? It seems to me it'd be one of the rarest phobias in the world.

 

Kyler.

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Hi Kyler,

 

A prayer is in essence defined as an act of communion with God. It seems to me that your sitting there in his presence is sufficient as there is nothing that is unknown to God or that is actually required to be spoken. If it works for you then in my view, it is most wonderful.

 

As sentient creatures, it seems we all have past painful experiences in our lives. It is part of our unique conditioning/experiences that may be in principle similar to others yet it is discreetly different. When the time is right and you are ready, it is my view, that you will shake that fear as a captive that has had his chains loose. And when it is gone you may still choose to just sit in God's presence. Until then, keep following what works for you and know that we as a community are in support of your search and you are accepted just as you are.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Kyler,

 

We seem to be talking past your pain. There are many things I would want to say if I thought they were relevant to your pain surrounding your experiences with prayer. I will share one story that may or may not speak to you.

 

An acquaintance of mine, who I will call Robert, was struggling, along with his family, with an issue that was of concern to all of them. They prayed for months. Sometimes he fasted or took retreats to pray. His family prayed. Over time Robert began to feel a Divine wholeness settling in his heart. However his family was increasingly upset and finally rejected the answer that Robert was experiencing. Robert experienced change and wholeness brought by prayer. His family did not.

 

Peace

Dutch

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Hi Kyler,

 

My personal take on this is that, like many things associated with supreme love, to give into that can make you feel incredibly vulnerable. And if you have been hurt badly by a relationship in the past, why wouldn't you be scared to engage in another one? And that is what prayer is, a relationship, for me anyway.

 

So I don't blame you for being afraid mate, I don't think you are alone and I don't think you are weird for feeling like that. But if, as you say, your faith has been refounded, maybe there is a gradual process you can go through to refind prayer? I personally find praying to God, which I usually call the limtless divine, WAY too daunting, and see Jesus, who I tend to call Yeshua, as a bridge if you like, an ordinary Joe, just like us, but pretty darned special, who can pass on my messages for me. So I pray to Yeshua, and that is less daunting. I also think you could start doing things like centering prayers, which I know Tony Camplolo advocates. DOn't ask for anything, nothing at all, maybe just breathe deeply, acknowledge your own existence, the existence of the Limitless Divine, and thank it for the blessings in your life. As you feel more confident, maybe you begin asking for guidance or whatever. I also know of a movement called Christian Meditation, exactly designed for those who feel they need a different way to communicate with God. You simply breathe and recite the word Maranatha as four syllables, MA-RA-NA-THA, while breathing out, which means something like 'Come Lord' in Aramaic.

 

Anyway, you are not alone, you are not strange, and I reckon it's just a matter of time before you are back on that horse! Thank you for being so courageous to share this with us! Hope my ramblings make some sort of sense.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought of this thread as I was reading Faith and Will, by Julia Cameron (2009). Her approach was refreshing, helped me rethink my own “unanswered prayers” -- for one of my kids who’s having a tough time, for a brother who’s ill, for art inspiration, etc. Maybe it relates to others who have talked about feeling blocked or afraid about prayer.

 

Cameron’s suggestion is that we start by telling God what we are grateful for (something Adi Gibb mentioned) – “it is by seeing our blessings that we begin to fathom the possibility that God could actually intend for there to be more of them.”

 

She also advises us to pray, “please give me knowledge of your will for me and the power to carry it out” instead of focusing only on what we hope for. The concept is that we are collaborating, involved with God in a partnership, and that no good comes to us before we are ready to receive it. “What we seldom realize is that there is such a thing as the grace of God, and it can be actively invoked in our behalf.”

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  • 1 month later...

Even as a child, I thought discursive prayer was stupid. I thought "if God is omnipotent, and you have true faith, why not just talk to God directly?" so I did.

But after long searching, I fully believe in the power of prayer for the first time in my life.

 

This source is not Christian, but it's from this guy who draws from Sufi sources, he has a similar personality as mine, so this was a great inspiration for me to begin praying, but for deeper, more mature reasons. To create contact with emotions that are blocked. It is true connection with the heart.

 

http://www.ahalmaas.com/Extracts/prayer.htm

 

I found that prayer is also about surrender to how things are and how the soul unfolds.

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"This source is not Christian, but it's from this guy who draws from Sufi sources"

 

I think the deep prayer mentioned came from a Sufi, but it leads to the same source,Christian and Sufi. The dispatching of truth intellectually on that site builds a solid foundation for people to move through the lower layers of the mind in order to build the consciousness of God. In a sense, sanctity should be given for prayer and divine worship for those whose consciousness is developed because the goal is not to merely amass information, but to bring about spiritual transformation in the mind. The Sufis and Christians anchored in deep prayer help us with our personal transformations.

 

Shekinah, We can all benefit from the deep understanding that deep prayer brings and the explanation on that site. Thank you I enjoyed it very much.

 

Deep prayer presents my spirit also with an intuitive understanding that the mysteries of faith can be brought into existence and appreciated. These mysteries are given to us to be mastered, and they seek understanding, not only in reflection, but also in prayer and meditation. Thanks for sharing.

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  • 3 months later...

I am assuming the question is about when we have given up on the concept of a god who is constantly steering the events of our lives?

Do other progressives still pray in any form? Or is prayer a dead ritual when individual requests are no longer on the agenda?

 

 

 

 

I do not believe God intervenes directly in our lives on a regular basis. I believe in complete free will, science and logic, as well as coincidence. I do not believe in fatalism or even destiny. ... but I still consider prayer important. I do pray, and often... just perhaps not in the same way other people pray.

 

Prayer is a marvelous thing. Our relationships with God are two-way streets, and prayer is our directly line of communication back to God when returning that communication. Prayer may not literally move a mountain, but it can bring much peace, serenity, and comfort into the lives of ourselves and the lives of others. It can also bring us knowledge, guidance, strength and support, or answers to questions.

 

Prayer is also useful to us as social beings. We often show care and love for each other by saying "I'll pray for you," and we show God as well that we are loving of each other in a deeper way by doing so. Even if it doesn't necessarily change the course of history... it's still an important social / human connection.

 

I've written a lot on the subject in the past, it would take up an awful lot of space for a post on a forum and I doubt it would get read, so I'll skip that... But one thing that sums it up the best, is the following case study:

 

 

Case Study:

 

Somewhere in mid-2009, I observed a conversation on one of my many internet forums. A middle-aged strongly-convicted Christian woman is talking about a situation at her workplace. She explains that her physical position in the office (where she sits) is about to be relocated to a different area, in order to accommodate someone in the new location who requires her assistance. She also mentions that the woman in question is somewhat hard to deal with, perhaps "hateful" isn't too strong a word to use in this situation.

 

 

As the story continues, she states her clear intentions of the afternoon conversation: She would like us to pray that the move does not happen. She does not want to be relocated to be this person's personal assistant.

 

 

--

Humanity has an innate nature to be self-centered, also called "selfish". These two terms are considered negative and unwanted, but in reality they are simply factual pieces of the puzzle that is life. We do tend to think of ourselves first, and that's not necessarily a horrible conundrum. If we don't care for ourselves, we would indeed be useless to the rest of the world anyway. So in that sense, I don't consider it unusual or even wrong that someone would want prayers for the outcome of a particular situation to shift in his or her favor.

 

There is a problem with the above prayer request. There is something wrong here. What if that other individual, the hateful woman who needs / wants assistance, should be praying a prayer of her own? What if she's praying that it does happen? What does this mean for the infra-structure of prayer? Does a battle-to-the-death ensue between prayer requests? Shall we go with "Who does God like best"? How about who has prayed the most over his or her life-time? Who sinned more? Who wins? Who gets it? Who's prayer comes out on top?

 

While the concept of prayers for the positive outcomes of self-centered events is normal, it still does not help to make any practical sense of the situation. God doesn't play favorites. Perfection demands fairness. Works do not equal faith (forget about how many kittens your rescued from trees, or your 5 different university degrees). Praying for your own good fortune becomes a lost point, especially when you consider the horribly unselfish nature of the following: What if this person really, truly needs you to be there for her? Should you not self-sacrifice for that? Or, worse... what if God wants you to be there, even if you don't.

 

But still, based on the above scenario, we may choose to pray for this person's situation based on a love, respect, or other human emotion we feel for the individual and/or her situation. This isn't wrong and showing love for our fellow man truly is of God; however, I do believe we must be realistic of the situation at hand. Unrealistic expectations can lead to demoralizing spirits and a loss of faith when expectations are not met.

 

 

------------------

 

 

 

Anyway, that's just a little bit on how I view the situation / problems with prayer, and it all boils down to four aspects for me:

 

The focus of prayer should be God-centered, rather than human-centered. (What do You want / what can You teach me, not here's what I want).

 

The focus of prayer should also be centered on knowledge or wisdom or guidance, rather than direct action.

 

The focus of prayer toward others should be based (in addition to the above) on love and social connection for each other, rather than demands of God.

 

And finally.. the focus of prayer on a regular daily basis should be talking with God, on a regular basis, rather than constantly asking Him for things.

 

 

 

I just don't believe God plays favorites, and I believe direct physical interaction on a regular basis based on prayer would be just that.

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I am assuming the question is about when we have given up on the concept of a god who is constantly steering the events of our lives?

 

I think the problem with many modern approaches to prayer is that they are not prayer at all, but attempted magic.

 

In magic, man attempts to manipulate that which is outside his immediate control: the future; the weather; even the deity. He does this by using incantation or spells; ritualistic forms of language which are accredited with power over and above the normal power of normal words.

 

In much modern Christian prayer, the emphasis is on 'claiming the promises' through the use of particular word forms. The parallel is very clear.

 

In my view, 'claiming the promises', even when invoking the name of Christ himself, is attempted magic. And because it is attempted magic, it doesn't work. God does not respond to magic, because it is coercive, and our God cannot be coerced. The pagan gods could, but ours cannot. When I hear prayer of this kind, I wonder about the implied 'or else' that it contains; holding God answerable to the promises of a book written for us, not for him. This is man standing in God's place, and determining his own future. This is man acting as God. This is blasphemy.

 

If we look at how Christ himself prayed, he did not use incantations. He sought to find the will of God in his life, and to follow it, however hard it was. This is the secret to Christian prayer. We don't need to give God our own personal wish list; he already knows what we want, and what we need. What he wants is to find out whether we can trust him enough to decide what happens in our lives, and to keep on believing in him, in spite of everything.

 

In the end, I have found most prayers to be meaningless to me. I use the Lord's prayer, and if I am asked for intercessory prayer I use the Kyrie, but other than that, I don't use words at all.

 

Anyone who finds prayer a difficult thing to do, might like to try the following. Take a candle, light it, and offer it to God as your prayer, because you don't know what words to use. Then relax and enjoy the candlelight, knowing that as you enjoy its beauty, God enjoys the beauty of your prayer to him, joining your spirit with his. It doesn't have to be hard work.

Edited by Anglocatholic
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Anyway, that's just a little bit on how I view the situation / problems with prayer, and it all boils down to four aspects for me:

 

The focus of prayer should be God-centered, rather than human-centered. (What do You want / what can You teach me, not here's what I want).

 

The focus of prayer should also be centered on knowledge or wisdom or guidance, rather than direct action.

 

The focus of prayer toward others should be based (in addition to the above) on love and social connection for each other, rather than demands of God.

 

And finally.. the focus of prayer on a regular daily basis should be talking with God, on a regular basis, rather than constantly asking Him for things.

 

I just don't believe God plays favorites, and I believe direct physical interaction on a regular basis based on prayer would be just that.

 

I like your list.

 

However, certainly God plays favourites, I think that is evident. However, I think we ought not to think that our idea of favourite would be the same as his.

 

I remember hearing once, 'if you want to know what God thinks of great riches, look at the kind of people he gives them to.' Conversely, those most 'blessed' by God are not going to be those that we would recognise as privileged in worldly terms. They might have disabilities, or poverty, or great losses to cope with.

 

The Bible says that God refines those he loves as in a fire, in order to burn away our impurities and leave us as pure gold. That kind of favouritism I think we can all do without, but some of us don't really get much choice. :)

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