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Prayer And Worship


cymbaljack
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New to PC and, as I said in my intro post, still figuring out what I'm doing. But my path to this point had a lot to do with practices, so I want to ask people about their practices.

 

I'm asking here about, I guess "private practice," what you do on your own or by your own direction, rather than what you do in a formalized group setting, for those who attend a church or whatever.

 

Do you pray? If so, what does that mean to you? Why do you do it? How does it sound?

 

Do you do something you call "worship"? Do you think of yourself as worshiping God? If so, how is that expressed? What does it mean to you?

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Cymbaljack,

 

You will most likely get a lot of diverse answers as there is no single formal PC practice per se.

 

Personally my prayer and worship is my life. Nothing is now formalized as it was in the past. I see prayer as a connection with God that is never broken. I no longer verbalize that connection with words except for the benefit of others who might ask for prayer or worship so that they may be edified. To worship, to me, is to love unconditionally. this to me, is the acceptance of all of God's creation as it is in the moment. Therefore i consider my life as expressed, as my worship of God. I do not judge the quality nor quantity of that worship.

 

Just my own take on your questions,

Joseph

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Hello,

 

I would have to echo what Joseph said - I consider prayer to be a connection to God at all times. However, I do set aside time to become consciously aware of the Divine Presence. Sometimes its wordless communcation, but sometimes, if I'm distracted by life, I turn to some of my favorite Psalms or to words of my favorites prayers to gett my rhoughts headed in the right direction.

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My own thoughts on this are tracking closely to those of both Joesph and Yvonne in many ways.

 

While I don't find much value or use for ritual, I do, as Yvonne suggests, find it helps me to take time specifically set aside to spend in intentional contemplation and meditation, and yes, what could be called prayer, a personal communication, with God. I say personal communication with God rather than to God, because it seems for me that in verbally expressing thoughts to God, even asking questions, in a verbal prayer as "speaking TO God", aloud, though usually privately, I often have a sense of "response" to that either within my time of contemplation, or if I stay tuned in and aware, within the normal events and observations of my life soon after. And, i do find that setting aside such times both helps me to not get so caught up in other things i "forget" to take that time, and, that time serves as a kind of "tuning session" that helps me stay more connected and aware the rest of the time.

 

While I place no inherent value or 'power' in ritual, I do find there are things I can do that help me focus, and go toward where I need/want to be mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Such as some might use the prayer beads, a rosary...touching each bead helping them draw their focus clearly upon a single matter. Or to use a music analogy, as one might pick out the sound of one particular instrument to instrument to focus on and follow in listening to an orchestra, tuning out the sounds of all the others. With practice, this can be further carried to as the director of the orchestra, who becomes able to do that with each and every instument in the entire orchestra, pick out in turn, listen to, evaluate, the performance and contribution of each musician with each instrument in the group.

 

Jenell

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So most people so far have talked about life/journey as prayer, and perhaps a time of centering or intentional focus.

 

Do any of you do what more traditional Christianity would call "praying for" people or situations? Is that part of your practice? If so, how do you do that, and how do you understand it?

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On a very personal level, yes. I do take my concerns, feelings, for others, and the difficult times they may be going through, may be suffering. Often as much for as much just offerring up my compassion for them to God, the universe, the ground of being, my sincere want to help draw peace to the matter....perhaps even send out my own 'energy' in thought to offer toward them my love, my caring, toward a hope for their peace, comfort, and in all, what only God knows is best for them, that I cannot. And at times, share a prayer time with them, in their presence, in the same focus...

Often that is just a few minutes of quiet time, privately, in meditation...but occasionally, in a more intentional and intensely focused way...sometimes setting a setting, perhaps a candle, a photo or other meaningful objects I connect to them, even toward moving into a meditative 'visualization', that may be of some light or energy of peace and healing directed upon them, even a few times, a very intimate visualization, of my being present with them, laying my hands upon, stroking their pain, or passing my hands over their body as in the actual motions of administering a Reiki session were they in my physical presence..seeking to draw off pain and negative energies, transmit more postive ones..a form of 'spiritual or energy distance healing' ritual. But that is something I've had to learn to be careful with, and do not engage as often or as quickly and easily as I once did at another time in my life, for I am a too empathetic person, I too easily take onto/into myself, the pain of others. I was told by a couple of my instructors in psychology, who either were or had been active in clinical and therapy applications, these are gifts that at once can make one a most insightful and effective counselor or therapist, but also at once, that is usualy not a good direction for them, that many such are fast burned out, their own lives troubled, for that very same reason....just as we cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves, neither can we really help others rise up out of the depths if we are instead by it pulled down into those depths with them.

 

and yes, as bobv2, I try to seek what I might be able to do, in any practical sense, that would serve as intermediary in taking to them anything within my own abilities and resouces to give.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Do any of you do what more traditional Christianity would call "praying for" people or situations? Is that part of your practice? If so, how do you do that, and how do you understand it?

 

Yes i do, but only when asked or if not asked only if i feel an inward unction or sort of a feeling beyond words to do so. When asked to remember someone in my prayers, or prayer for them is requested by someone else, i will get alone and pray in the spirit (tongues) until i feel an assurance that whatever needed to be done by my intercession has been done. Some times i do not know what that is. other times i do. My understanding is only of secondary importance. Now if i am asked by a person to pray for them personally, i will wait until i feel a leading from within and hopefully receive some word of knowledge on what to say or do first and then follow through. Sometimes i will get nothing and just go and open my mouth expecting the words and positive energy to go forth. If the words are not there, they are not there. No skin off my back so to speak. Either way i do not take responsibility for anything except to be present and willing.

 

Joseph

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Do any of you do what more traditional Christianity would call "praying for" people or situations? Is that part of your practice? If so, how do you do that, and how do you understand it?

 

Many Christians I feel think asking is called prayer, I feel prayer is not just asking for certain actions or objects, soliciting God as if He were withholding, begging Him as if He were not willing. Prayer for me is just the simple organization of our thoughts so we can think about what we really desire, but it should be for what is good and does no harm to others. The real purpose of prayer is simply and solely to arrange our thoughts so that we will be open up for the realization from above. My mother prays for good actions for others ect. I feel this is good for where she is at and it is making her a better person, but when she is finished her actions are not that good towards others when she is frustrated.

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I think prayer is a useful way of expressing our concerns. It also gives us a sense of doing something in situations over which we otherwise have little or no control. One cannot physically control the path of a hurricane, but one can express the desire that it do no harm. Prayer, I think, is more powerful than simply thinking, 'gee, I hope no one is harmed.'

 

George

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Good point, I think, Soma.

 

I've never been much for formalized prayer, or even those that might be set forth as useful for any to make use of. Even when they are quite beautiful, even poetic. I'm not much for flowery language and lengthy expressions of adoration and flattery to God's infinite benevolence and power. Nor much for groveling, as in I know I'm just a worm, unworthy of Your holy notice.....I'm more like, "Ok, God, here it is. Got this on my mind, just need to talk to You about it a bit....Yes, i "assume" much...a "real" presence that I'm talking to, and that I am accepted by and into that presence, and that there will be a reponse, without having to go through a bunch of rig-a-ma-ro and to-do about it. For me, to me, this is what "assurance" is about.

 

For me, prayer has just alwas been more a personal communicatiom, interaction. As such, I've tended to pray in what I'd call 'plain language,' conversational, much as i'd talk to/with another person I feel comfortable with.

 

But I have at times given considerable thought, even study, and mediation upon such matter as what is/is not "right prayer", and what might be to "pray amiss." I mean, to pray in things, about things, for things, that might have less than pure, honest, and loving motives or intent. Those things would include selfishness, espeically at the expense of others or in special advantage over others, depreciatory prayer, praying for harm against another, thought I might pray for restraint upon someone or something doing harm and injury, and even the wisdom, courage, for myself or others toward countering that. I don't believe in prayer, asking for, personal or selfish advantage, aganst/over others....such as maybe in context of competition, for 'help' in stomping, overcoming the other. I'm comforatble in such as that praying that I or another do their best, but not for their competitor to mess up, fail.

 

I am also wary of getting into areas i which I may be tryiing to impose my own will, my own wants, upon and for others, and how they act, what they might do. I may really think I know what is best for someone else, to do, or change in some way, or get, but I try to not let that direct my prayer focus, from recognition my opinion isn't what really matters, there is much involved I don't know. Again, just try to pray the best,as god knows that to be. that can be real hard when its people you care about, love, and really fear for them, their well-being. And I'm human, i can't say I can always keep that focus pure.

 

I take prayer very seriously. and it does bother me when I encounter someone 'using' it in ways intended to influence, manipulate, even hurt or insult someone else. Such as someone telling another, "Ih, I am so concerned about your soul, I'm i prayer to the Lord daily that you might see the error of your wicked ways and get straight and right with God...(often with 'in time', or 'before it's too late, ie before you die and go to hell) Ie, see the truth (agree with me, come around to my way of thinking, do what I say you should or want you too).

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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  • 3 months later...

I pray daily - sometimes multiple times in the day, if need be. Not necessarily long, drawn-out formal prayers, but simply ideas, fears, concerns, etc. I pray for others if I feel the need to, and also if they ask me to. I put things in God's hands that I cannot handle on my own, or feel I need some direction or strength, or guidance.

 

I try to do Bible study every day, though lately it's been difficult to find the time to really sit and focus. Hopefully this craziness will be short-lived.

 

Like gaychristian27, I also listen to praise and worship music. For some reason, the worship music that resonates with me the most is the more fundamentalist type - there's something very energizing and uplifting about it.

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I struggle with traditional prayer and find little meaning in it. Meditation is my prayer time... I find if I can clear my mind of the back ground drivel ... I often find the answers I seek.

 

Spong spoke about prayer in something I read or watched... He related a story of when he was a young pastor visiting a woman who had just received bad medical news ... after visiting her for several hours discussing her impending death with all the fear, sadness, rememberance's and joys of life ,he closed with a standard pastoral prayer. Afterword he questioned whether the 2 hours of wonderful exchange between the two of them had been the real prayer.

 

steve

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