Sunday, October 19, 2008

On a Wing and a Prayer

Heidi and I will be co-leading the Growing In the Light today with the topic of prayer. We came upon the idea of making prayer beads so I went to Hobby Lobby last night and bought a buncha beads and bracelet elastic (I was out). The good news is that most of the beading supplies were half off. The bad new is that I went crazy and bought a bunch of beads to make gifts for Christmas, too and spent almost $60 total. Gulp.

We've never done a craft project for one of our GItL meetings so I'm not sure how this will go over but I think it will be received pretty well. Of course, I've waited until the very last minute to do the actual work (we leave for Meeting in 2 minutes and I just finished printing) but I feel OK about it. My main focus will be on intercessory prayer and praying without ceasing. I am using several books and have printed out quotes from each. I though we'd do a worship/sharing on the Queries at the end. Here's what I've copied:

From “Living In the Presence” by Tilden Edwards:

“The mind is a child of the Spirit, but it likes to run away from home.” -Gerald May

“The Latin root of our word prayer is precaria, “precarious.’”

From Catherine Whitmire’s book “Plain Living”:

To pray is to be vulnerably open to God’s unpredictable grace.-Patricia Loring

In prayer it is a matter of being present where we are.-Douglas Steere

My own belief is that outward circumstances are not often (I will not say never) directly altered as a result of prayer. That is to say, God is not always interfering with the working of the natural order….Prayer is not given to us to make life easy for us, or to coddle us, but to make us strong….We pray, not to change God’s will, but to bring our wills into correspondence with God’s.-William Littleboy

In prayer, the seeds of concern have a way of appearing. Often enough, a concern begins in a feeling of being personally liable, personally responsible, for someone or some event. With it there may come an intimation that one should do some little thing: speak to some person, make an inquiry into a certain situation, write a letter, send some money, send a book….But this seed is given us to follow, and if we do not follow it, we cannot expect to see what may grow from it. Seeds, not fruit, are given in prayer, but they are given for planting.-Douglas Steere

In…intercessory prayer there is a consciousness that your act of prayer enters into a great sweep of intercession that is already going on….William Temple, the late Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking of his own practice of intercessory prayer, would say on this point, “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I do not, they don’t.”…

How, then, shall we lay hold of that Life and Power, and live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning of all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward the One, who calls in the deeps of our souls….Begin now, as you read these words, as you sit in your chair, to offer your whole selves, utterly and in joyful abandon, in quiet glad surrender to the One who is within….Walk and talk and work and laugh with your friends. But behind the scenes keep up the life of simple prayer and inward worship. Keep it up throughout the day. Let inward prayer be your last act before you fall asleep and the first act when you awake.
-Thomas R. Kelly

From “Listening Spirituality” by Patricia Loring:

Pray as you can, not as you can’t.-Dom John Chapman

Certainly intercessory prayer is not to be undertaken lightly. We may say blithely, “I’ll pray for you.” If we do in fact pray with integrity, with our hearts rather than just our lips, we will probably not be able to remain in a light-hearted mode, separate from that for which we pray. Like any other prayer, to enter it in Spirit and in Truth, is to open ourselves to the incalculable ways of the divine, to invite the unexpected, to risk being changed or confronted with the necessity of change. Willingness for that to happen is a prerequisite.

One of the first of the costs of intercessory prayer is that we come face to face with the limitations of our understanding of the ways in which situations and events arise, come into being, interact and change. We must give over a measure of the security we derive from thinking we know something of how the world works. To truly hold someone or something in the Light requires acknowledging the limited understanding, perhaps even our desire to see clearly, in order to be open to the unknown future, bringing the needs of others with us.

From “Plain Living:
-What process do I use to listen and “pay attention to the deepest thing I know”?
-Do I pay attention to the “seeds of concern” for others that may come to me in prayer? Do I act on them?
-Do I look for the “coincidences” that happen when I pray?

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