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Experiment In Prayer


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I've been reading and posting on this board off and on for several years now. I feel a sense of community here. I suspect that for some of us, this is the only place we can be fully open up about our faith and ideas. That is special. Thanks TCPC!

 

Having established a virtual community with each other, I want to propose an activity that communities of faith often engage in together. Let's think of this as an experiment that we can try and then decide if it was worth while.

 

Prayer is a difficult subject for many of us. It's complicated for many of us. Who are we praying to? What exactly is prayer? What do I prayer for? I don't always know what's best for me...how am I supposed to know what's best for anyone else?

 

Regardless of how you view or what struggle you may have with it, prayer is something to be considered. I know that many aspects of traditional Christian prayer may not work for us, so let's break it down to something that most of us could swallow.

 

Here's an approach that has worked for me:

 

-Find a quiet spot.

-Get still and relaxed (breathe, meditate, chant, listen...whatever works for you, but give it at least a few minutes.)

-When I feel full of peace and light then the prayer begins.

-I place the thought of a person (or situation) in my mind's eye

-I take time to feel love or compassion for that person (simply opening up the heart center usually gets that going, but if that doesn't make sense just think loving thoughts...usually I'll get a little flutter in my gut like when I'm around someone that I love deeply)

-I imagine them surrounded in light

-Then I express my desire for their highest need to be met. NO SPECIFICS. Just something like "May your highest need be met, <name>"

-Then I might move on to someone else, but I always end with a prayer for myself.

 

 

The only belief that this kind of prayer requires is a belief in the power (or importance) of love.

 

My proposal is that we take a little time during the week (once a day would be best) to pray for each other. If you want to be involved (either to pray or be prayed for) post a smiley face on this thread. Let's begin today and go to next Thursday.

 

I'm very aware that this could put some of you out of your comfort zone, but I challenge you to consider doing it for just one week.

 

:)

Edited by fatherman
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I've been reading and posting on this board off and on for several years now.  I feel a sense of community here.  I suspect that for some of us, this is the only place we can be fully open up about our faith and ideas.  That is special.  Thanks TCPC!

 

Having established a virtual community with each other, I want to propose an activity that communities of faith often engage in together.  Let's think of this as an experiment that we can try and then decide if it was worth while.

 

Prayer is a difficult subject for many of us.  It's complicated for many of us.  Who are we praying to?  What exactly is prayer?  What do I prayer for? I don't always know what's best for me...how am I supposed to know what's best for anyone else?

 

Regardless of how you view or what struggle you may have with it, prayer is something to be considered.  I know that many aspects of traditional Christian prayer may not work for us, so let's break it down to something that most of us could swallow.

 

Here's an approach that has worked for me:

 

-Find a quiet spot.

-Get still and relaxed (breathe, meditate, chant, listen...whatever works for you, but give it at least a few minutes.)

-When I feel full of peace and light then the prayer begins.

-I place the thought of a person (or situation) in my mind's eye

-I take time to feel love or compassion for that person (simply opening up the heart center usually gets that going, but if that doesn't make sense just think loving thoughts...usually I'll get a little flutter in my gut like when I'm around someone that I love deeply)

-I imagine them surrounded in light

-Then I express my desire for their highest need to be met. NO SPECIFICS.  Just something like  "May your highest need be met, <name>"

-Then I might move on to someone else, but I always end with a prayer for myself.

 

 

The only belief that this kind of prayer requires is a belief in the power (or importance) of love. 

 

My proposal is that we take a little time during the week (once a day would be best) to pray for each other.  If you want to be involved (either to pray or be prayed for) post a smiley face on this thread.  Let's begin today and go to next Thursday. 

 

I'm very aware that this could put some of you out of your comfort zone, but I challenge you to consider doing it for just one week.

 

:)

 

A good program. Yes, focussing the mind is the key.

 

BTW, the Russian Staretz (holy men) would wander the countryside continually praying "the Jesus prayer,"--Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner." Salinger deals with this in FRANNY AND ZOOEY.

 

I think it was Paul who said "Pray withough ceasing." But I don't think it has to be a repetitious prayer. It could be "the interior prayer of the heart," knowing that we move in what Teilhard de Chardin calls "the divine milieu."

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A good program. Yes, focussing the mind is the key.

 

Yes, I believe this is why the results of the recent prayer experiments with cancer (?) patient showed no difference between prayer and no prayer. Prayer, in my experience, requires effort on the part of the supplicant. As supplicants we are partners with God.

 

Because I believe in the power of prayer and because I don't have the full wisdom of God, I choose not to pray for specifics. The best I can offer is my love and peace. Remarkable things can happen when we focus our loving energy on someone or something.

 

So, Jeannott, are you joining our experiment? :) or :(

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:) Thanks for this opportunity :)

Okay, I'm a flaming panentheist who sees God as the ground of being moving in and through all of existence and all creation--right down to those funky little subatomic particles. Luther put it (in his typically graphic manner): "God can even be found in the contents of the belly of a louse!" :blink: To me, God ain't all that different from the Tao of Lao Tzu, or the Ultimate Reality of Process theology. Praying to God in a typically theistic manner, then, is a challenge at times.

 

One source of prayers I have found to be moving and meaningful, and have used in worship is the book, Guerrilas of Grace , by Ted Loder. Another book contains prayers written specifically from a panentheistic perspective. I'll be hanged if I can remember the title just now. It's sitting at home on my shelf of books of prayer and contemplation. I'll have to come up with that title and author later.

 

As a chaplain, I often like to recall Psalm 139 in which God is understood as inescapeable and to be found everywhere. I like to pray something like, "Gracious Lord, source of all compassion and hope, help us to be aware of your Presence, which is as close as our own heartbeats and as much a part of us as our own breath. May we be open to that Presence that we may draw strength, comfort, courage, and hope, that it bring the power of healing and peace, and that it ground us in love and compassion and support for one another in this difficult, stressful, time." Or something along those lines, anyway.

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I'm a flaming panentheist who sees God as the ground of being moving in and through all of existence and all creation--right down to those funky little subatomic particles.

 

Then you're in good company, luthitarian. Both Aletheia and I have identified as panentheist. That's one of the reasons I suggested the love and light method of prayer.

As fleshy, human parts of the All, we share creative power with it. Focusing God's energy (as it flows through us) in loving thought of one another is therefore not fruitless. It is only a suggestion, though. We each have our own approach or non-approach to prayer. Would you consider offering your awesome Psalm 139-inspired awareness prayer considering this group when you say "we"?

 

Just a thought :)

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bobve2,

 

I'm so glad that you're here :) . The concern you expressed in your profile about the intimidating level of academia on this forum should be considered a red flag by this group that we are sometimes getting carried away. Please consider joining in. I predict that your contributions will become a vital part of our discussions here if you do.

 

fatherman

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Okay, I'm a flaming panentheist who sees God as the ground of being moving in and through all of existence and all creation--right down to those funky little subatomic particles. ... To me, God ain't all that different from the Tao of Lao Tzu ...

 

 

Way too cool! B)

 

 

Just call me the yin/yang gyre kid. ;)

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The following poem, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, seems relevant:

 

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 5

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

 

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 10

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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The following poem, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, seems relevant:

 

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.

  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;        5

  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

 

And for all this, nature is never spent;

  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;        10

And though the last lights off the black West went

  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

 

This is as a truly eloquent expression of the Gyre.

Edited by fatherman
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:) Thanks for this opportunity :)

Okay, I'm a flaming panentheist who sees God as the ground of being moving in and through all of existence and all creation--right down to those funky little subatomic particles. Luther put it (in his typically graphic manner): "God can even be found in the contents of the belly of a louse!" :blink: To me, God ain't all that different from the Tao of Lao Tzu, or the Ultimate Reality of Process theology. Praying to God in a typically theistic manner, then, is a challenge at times.

 

One source of prayers I have found to be moving and meaningful, and have used in worship is the book, Guerrilas of Grace , by Ted Loder. Another book contains prayers written specifically from a panentheistic perspective. I'll be hanged if I can remember the title just now. It's sitting at home on my shelf of books of prayer and contemplation. I'll have to come up with that title and author later.

 

As a chaplain, I often like to recall Psalm 139 in which God is understood as inescapeable and to be found everywhere. I like to pray something like, "Gracious Lord, source of all compassion and hope, help us to be aware of your Presence, which is as close as our own heartbeats and as much a part of us as our own breath. May we be open to that Presence that we may draw strength, comfort, courage, and hope, that it bring the power of healing and peace, and that it ground us in love and compassion and support for one another in this difficult, stressful, time." Or something along those lines, anyway.

Okay, as promised, the book I spoke of but couldn't recall is A Prayer Book for the 21st Century by John McQuiston II (foreword by Marcus Borg). From the back of the book: "This unique prayer book uses language that is at once ancient and orthodox, as well as contemporary and innovative. Rediscover thepoewr of morning and evening prayer, along with some services for small or large groups, in this reparkable new prayer book."

 

Another one worth mentioning, is a small book of prayers by (and inspired by) Rebbe (Rabbi) Nachman of Breslov who died in 1810 at the age of 38: The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everday and Not-So-Everday Moments. God is addressed in these prayers in almost mystical, impersonal ways, such as: "Eternal Companion", "Source of all the energy of life", "O LIfe of the World", "Source of all Sustenance", "God of Wholeness; God of Healing" and other such titles--sometime even simply "O God" or "Dear God"or "Master of the Universe" (To think there was a dorky kids' cartoon series that borrowed--unwittingly, I'm sure--for its title a classic Jewish title for God!).

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Another one worth mentioning, is a small book of prayers by (and inspired by) Rebbe (Rabbi) Nachman of Breslov who died in 1810 at the age of 38: The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everday and Not-So-Everday Moments. God is addressed in these prayers in almost mystical, impersonal ways, such as: "Eternal Companion", "Source of all the energy of life", "O LIfe of the World", "Source of all Sustenance", "God of Wholeness; God of Healing" and other such titles--sometime even simply "O God" or "Dear God"or "Master of the Universe" (To think there was a dorky kids' cartoon series that borrowed--unwittingly, I'm sure--for its title a classic Jewish title for God!).

 

LOL! The first time I read that I thought it said "The Gentile Weapon."

 

Oy!

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Another one worth mentioning, is a small book of prayers by (and inspired by) Rebbe (Rabbi) Nachman of Breslov who died in 1810 at the age of 38: The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everday and Not-So-Everday Moments. God is addressed in these prayers in almost mystical, impersonal ways, such as: "Eternal Companion", "Source of all the energy of life", "O LIfe of the World", "Source of all Sustenance", "God of Wholeness; God of Healing" and other such titles--sometime even simply "O God" or "Dear God"or "Master of the Universe" (To think there was a dorky kids' cartoon series that borrowed--unwittingly, I'm sure--for its title a classic Jewish title for God!).

 

LOL! The first time I read that I thought it said "The Gentile Weapon."

 

Oy!

The 'Gentile' Weapon? Yeah!! Powerful stuff! It'll get 'em every time. (sort of the Hasidic equivalent of 'shock and awe'). :lol:

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In all seriousness:

 

Hail Sophia:

 

Hail Sophia, full of light, the Christ is with you, blessed are you among all the aeons, and blessed is the liberator of your light, Jesus.

 

Hail Sophia, Mother of all gods, pray to the Light for us your children, now and in the hour of our death.

 

Amen.

 

 

A Closing Prayer:

 

O Gentle, O Kind, O Blessed Sophia,

Your children on earth call unto You.

We pray You, Beloved Mother, to cast forth

your net of woven starlight.

Fling it wide across the ocean of the universe

to gather us home to the realms of Light.

 

Amen.

 

:)

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As we have our final prayers today, please be mindful of our the past week in prayer. What has it meant to you? What effect has it had on your life? Any struggles? Do you want to continue?

 

It's difficult to quantify the effects of prayer. It's also difficult to know what effect it actually has. My experience tells me that it unlocks doors and unclogs pipes. We are often taught that we should be vessels holding love/light/God/etc, but my belief and experience tells me that we are at our most effective when we are like pipes. Blessings should be flowing through us. If all we do is the receiving, then we will fill up and the blessings can no longer flow (like a stopped pipe).

 

This week:

 

(DISCLAIMER: Results may vary :D )

 

-I experienced a deeper rhythm of peace

-As I've loved you, I've also experienced more love

-I've experienced unexpected forgiveness with a friend

-I've taken more daring opportunities to love (one of which ended up being a powerful public witness for love in my church community)

-My heart center has stayed open longer and wider than usual (emotional detachment has been a problem for me in the past)

-Lost 2 pounds (hey, not much, but I'm not overweight and it's more than I've lost in all year of trying...and I didn't do anything different than pray)

-I've experienced more abundance in general (this includes material abundance, I've freely received the following: a yoga mat, exercise equipment, clothing, a $320 backyard swimming pool, and two financial windfalls...no kidding <<UH OH! That's not very Christian! You shouldn't be getting stuff! Fatherman must be playing the back nine with Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Wayne Dyer! >>)

 

Folks, I know my experiences this week may challenges your notions of prayer (or simply establish me as a first-class kook!), but I can't control blessings. The only thing I can control is whether I'm open to them or not, and whether I choose to allow them to flow through or not. Prayer is a tool that opens the door and unclogs the pipes, and (with practice) a way of life that facilitates God's infinite blessings in the world.

 

Praise be to God for it.

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This has been a great week. I tried to use suggestions from this strand. All I can say is that the community that I felt this week and last was great. Thanks to Fatherman, Flowperson, AR, Luthitarian(Bob), Gnosteric and Jeanot. I'm going to continue. :D

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