Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reimagining Prayer

prayer, noun
  1. A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
  2. The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship.
  3. An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving.
  4. A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
  5. A religious observance in which praying predominates. ... definition found here.
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Do you have an image of prayer? Is it someone sitting with eyes closed, hands folded, in silence? Is it with a cup of coffee, a journal, the scriptures open as the sun rises? Is it something the minister or priest leads at the beginning or end of a weekend service?
 
In my mind, all these things are prayer. Sometimes they are my kinds of prayer. But lately, I've been participating in a different kind of prayer, a kind drawn from definition #3--an act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving.
 
In the past year I've read three books that have opened up my understanding of what prayer can be. As an avid practitioner of Holy Yoga, I already know that prayer doesn't have to live in a box. But these books have helped me to see that prayer is virtually any act of paying attention to what God is doing, expressing my gratitude to Him and being with the truth of who He is in such a way that I allow it to shape me.
An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor, Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton,
and Return to Our Senses: Re-imagining the way we pray by Christine Sine
 
Over the last few months, my prayers have looked like this:
 
 
Breath prayer, which I practiced as I watched my children frolic in the ocean surf.
 
 
Being with God in nature, noticing beauty.
 
 
Reconnecting with liturgical prayer.
 
 
Engaging scripture with creative lettering.
 
These ideas are bringing freedom to my prayer and meditation practice. I find myself looking forward to the time rather than it feeling like a "should." I'm grateful for a God who is accessible in a variety of ways, eager to receive my prayers.
 
What about you? What are your favorite ways to pray?
 

1 comment:

  1. Want to talk about this next week. I get caught in the ritual and routine prayers and forget that sometimes breathing deeply could be praying.

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