Monday, July 4, 2011

Prayer Is More Than Words

I have committed this week to writing about prayer. Let me be the first to admit that I am no expert on the subject for I don't even know why I really do it. I don't know it's function or what real purpose it's serves in my life.

I am also finding out that the mystery that exist in this act of prayer resinates with a lot of Christians, it may even be safe to say most Christians.

Therefore, I hope to merely explore some different ways of viewing prayer and examine how prayer is presented in scripture.

I want to make clear that when I use the word "prayer" I use it loosely and as a broad term. I think we often think of prayer as merely verbal communication from us to God, but I have found that I pray in so many other ways than a merely a one sided audible exchange with God.

So maybe that's where I should start, in Just recognizing the fact that for me, prayer can be working in my garden, playing with my kids, time with my wife, and enjoying the things the Creator has made.

There are all kinds of ways that Christians have practiced prayer over the centuries. There is the daily office, prayer labyrinths, the stations of the cross, and these are just a few.

Doug Pagitt wrote a great, and very helpful book called, "Body Prayer, The Posture of Intimacy With God", which includes diagrams of different body positions one can participate in. The book is full of specific body postures complete with descriptions and prayers to be recited to go along with the positions.

I have found this to be very helpful especially to do within a group. I used these prayers a lot when I was in youth ministry and I got, and still get, a lot out of them.

I truly believe that prayer is much more than mere words we say at any given time throughout the day, but that it has to do with how we present ourselves, our posture, our daily activities, and that methods such as body postures, meditation, as well as engaging with creation are very helpful ways of engaging with God.

I am committing to praying more often in the upcoming weeks using different methods such as the ones listed above as well as others while I am thinking through and writing about prayer and how it is present in the scriptures.

What are some ways you pray?

* Another good book dealing with a myriad of different Christian practices is "The Sacred Way" by Tony Jones.


JustinGaynor said...

Thanks for this Jacob, looking forward to this weeks posts...pray is something that is mysterious and somewhat mystic, it is so much... our relationship with God, our ability to be vessels of healing and deliverance for our Christian brethren, as Bonhoeffer said...our ability to go and stand firmly by those who are not in Christ and so can't do so for themselves,and it is most certainly our weapon of warfare in the spiritual realms.

'My house shall be a house of prayer' said the Lord. May we put flesh and blood on His responses, just as our King calls us to.

E. Scott Little said...

Just like any relationship, I think you must talk
and communicate in order for the relationship to grow. That is what prayer is to me. How can we know more about God if we don't talk to him? How can we grow closer if we don't communicate? I think marriage is the same way. Communication and honesty is the key. As far as asking God for our selfish desires, I go back to the relationship function. We have expectations of our spouses just like we do God. We "expect" therefore we ask. Does it seem selfish and one sided with God?unfortunately yes, we ask a lot and do not give a whole lot back in return when our prayers are answered. We are selfish creatures. I'm just glad that God is not.