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An Exploration of World Prayer. Prayer Basic human need Expression of who we are All people at some time (i.e. trenches) Small, insignificant beside.

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Presentation on theme: "An Exploration of World Prayer. Prayer Basic human need Expression of who we are All people at some time (i.e. trenches) Small, insignificant beside."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Exploration of World Prayer


3 Prayer Basic human need Expression of who we are All people at some time (i.e. trenches) Small, insignificant beside mountains or stars An emptiness that calls for fulfilment Thomas Merton 2001 Leonardo da Vinci The Vitruvian Man (1487)

4 That Basic Human Need! For something outside ourselves For something beyond our reach For something spiritual or supernatural A place to run to To feel there is someone out there to cry to For someone to take notice of our predicament Leonardo da Vinci The Vitruvian Man (1487)

5 Prayer is universal The act of addressing, or communication with a God(s) or Spirit(s) or with ourselves For all faiths or none For petition or thanks To awaken inner wisdom/enlightenment For forgiveness or strength For assurance that we are not alone From Latin – “precarius” (doubtful, precarious) or “precari” (to beg or implore)

6 Unusual Prayer in the past Aztecs used blood sacrifice to attract attention and appease the Gods of Sun and War 2,000 prisoners once sacrificed over 4 days Aztec Temple

7 Unusual Prayer in the past Population in Stalin’s Russia were told by the State to pray to Lenin’s portrait Atheists?

8 Prayer in the East: Japan Shinto Shinto ‘Tori’ leading to shrine 400+ deities Nature and Spirit worship Rattle ‘Sugi’ bell, hand clapping Throw coins into wooden collection box to purchase prayers Shinto Shrine

9 Prayer in the East: Japan Bow X2, clasp hands X2, bow again X2 Prayer tablets (wood) and power of beautiful words Bought prayers Prayer of Man Prayer tablets (Ema)

10 Prayer in the East: Japan Physical activity important before prayer Contact with nature too Mud a sign of good luck

11 Prayer in the East: China/Korea Tao (essence of life) ism 400,000,000 worshippers Prayer links to a deity or ancestors Ying-Yang Ghost money Printed prayers bought and burned Yoga, meditation and martial arts (Kung Fu, Tai Chi etc) more important than prayer Tao Deity Tao Priests

12 Prayer in the East: India Devotion to one or many Gods Salvation is freedom from repeated birth and death Yoga assists meditation Mantras of praise and prayer rituals Cow is sacred – caretaker and maternal figure Shiva Sacred cow

13 Prayer in the East: Buddhism No real God Enlightened ones (Buddhas) are prayed to Prayer awakes our inner capacities rather than to petition external forces Spiritual enlightenment through meditation – prayer enhances Self-quieting through meditation or stimulation of senses (bells, chanting, incense, flickering candles) Buddha’s temptation Buddhist Temple

14 Prayer in the West: Monotheistic Christian prayer Wide variety from spontaneous to ritual To God the Father, through Lord Jesus the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit Praying in tongues Prayer of the 12 steps – to a higher power Meditation less common – use of rosary Society of Friends (Quakers)

15 Prayer in the West: Monotheistic Judaism Prayer X3 / day Prayer book (Siddur) contains a set order of daily prayers Communal prayer preferred over solitary A quorum of 10 adult males a prerequisite for communal prayer Rabbi Wailing Wall

16 Prayer in the West: Monotheistic Islam Brief ritualistic prayers (salah) Facing Mecca X5 daily Call for prayer ‘Dua’ in own words Mosque Praying

17 Our Lord and other gods You shall have no other God’s before me (Ex 20:3) For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods (Ps 95:3) O give thanks to the God of gods, for His steadfast love endures forever (Ps 136:2) Titan Bible : 1407 Malmesbury Abbey

18 Non-Christian Prayer (pseudo-Christian) Use of prayer to get what I want! To make my life easier and happier God is my genie in the lamp Prayer is a formula; get ingredients right and answers will abound Prayer only when at the end of our human resources?

19 Christian Prayer Prayer only works when you learn to put our Lord at the centre. When He calls, you have to listen. Can we hear Him?

20 Christian Prayer Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies. Thomas Vincent 1674 Shorter Catechism

21 Pray-ers of Yesteryear and Today Martin Luther – prayed for 2 hours each day on his knees Susannah Wesley – apron over head 24-7 prayer movement

22 So What is Christian Prayer Anyway ? Many things – depends upon personality, faith and experience. requests for guidance confessing sins expressing thoughts gratitude and praise Begging or pleading whining bargaining focus meditation silence or anger praying in tongues

23 And yet? “Of all the activities in which the Christian engages and which are part of Christian life, there is surely none which causes so much perplexity and raises so many problems as the activity we call prayer.” Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones Dr M Lloyd Jones

24 Why the Problems and Perplexity with Prayer? Some of our prayers are answered –aren’t they? House sold! Headache relieved! Operation successful! Fracture healed! Daily strength! Church growth

25 Why the Problems and Perplexity with Prayer? But does He really listen? Why tsunami, earthquake or holocaust? How do we reconcile these despite our prayers and – “If you ask anything of the Father in my name, He will give it to you” (Jn 16:23) Tsunami hits

26 An Experienced Christian’s Conclusion on Prayer Prayer is simply talking to God! He speaks: we listen. We speak to Him: he listens. A two way process: Speaking and listening. (Mother Teresa of C) Teresa of Calcutta

27 Can we Listen for our Lord in Prayer? Each of us has an inner monologue – self-chatter Dominates our lives Worry, Planning, Remembering Hinders spiritual insight about our Lord 1) Hearing God’s voice 2) Being touched by the Holy Spirit 3) Accepting Jesus as our Saviour The Inner Self

28 Listening to our Lord in Prayer Prayer and our egocentric self- chatter: problem known for centuries We “must lose the radical self centred awareness of our being, for it is our own self that stands in the way of God” Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591) St John of the Cross

29 Listening to our Lord in Prayer 1)Hearing God’s Voice? Self-chatter prevents us hearing God’s call (i.e drowns out the ‘still small voice’ of the Lord’). (1 Kings 19:11-14) Listen! I am standing at the door knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. (Rev 3:20) W Holman Hunt The Light of the World 1854

30 Why May Self-Chatter be Louder in West? Can we hear God’s Voice? Taught to be self-reliant? Brought up to be autonomous? Busy ++. Time pressure? Pressure to ‘succeed’ But We are called to live ‘in the world but not to be of it’ “Do not love the world or the things of the world……” (1 Jn 2:15-17)

31 What else can our ‘self’s’ prevent 2)Being touched by the Holy Spirit? Our response to a spiritual reality – ‘He is risen’! Transformation! Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of heaven. (Jn 3:3) Official tomb of Jesus

32 Pride and the Existing Self 2)The transformation We need a rebirth, a transformation or a regeneration. Repentance is confession and a turning away from the old self. Pride (ego) (image of oneself) Can override ongoing guidance from our Lord and stifles personal transformation “Spirit willing but the flesh weak” (Mt 26:41) Adult Baptism

33 Effort and the Existing Self 3)Accepting Jesus as our Saviour Spiritual seeking requires hard work and effort. Worship, prayer or meditation, rituals, bible study, pilgrimage Existing self can talk oneself out of doing what is required for listening to our Lord (spiritual roadblock) We are ranged against evil powers and spiritual forces. (Eph 6:12) Good soil?

34 Prayer and Prosperity Poor countries – pray constantly with signs and wonders – acceptance of our Lord’s will Well-off countries – prayer considered less essential – fraught with frustration and confusion when unanswered

35 What is Christian Prayer ? Where we stop life’s routine and focus all our attention on Him! Where we can reduce self-chatter – with experience Where we can meet with the Lord and listen ‘Be still and know that I am God’(Ps 46:10)

36 What Prayer does for us! Prayer permits us to re-align what we see until we see reality (truth) through God’s eyes Via Dolorosa

37 A Prayer Knowing Forgiveness The focus then moves from me to our Lord! God does not treat us as our sins deserve Or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is his love for those who fear him; As far as the East is from the West, So far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; For he knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust (Ps 103:10-14) King David

38 What are we doing in Christian Prayer? Seeking God’s face ‘Come my heart says, “seek His face!”. Your face Lord do I seek’. (Ps 27:8) Seeking the Lord ‘..but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing’. (Ps 34 :10) Calling on God’s name ‘..I will call on the name of the Lord’. (1Kings 18:24) Looking to God ‘…the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him’. (Ezra 8:22) Approaching the throne of grace. ‘Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’. (Heb 4:16)

39 What is Christian Prayer? Conclusion! Prayer is a spiritual place/activity (soul) where our Lord and we humans meet at His request! It is a priceless point of convergence It is ‘relationship’ It is the Christian’s secret weapon Michelangelo Sistine Chapel (1508-1512)

40 Further Topics for Exploration of Prayer? What is prayer? Why pray? Prayer according to personality? Our elements in unanswered prayer? God’s elements in unanswered prayer? Techniques for prayer? Types of prayer oPrayer of salvation oPrayer of Jabez oPrayer without ceasing oPrayer and fasting oPrayer in tongues oPrayer walk oSoaking prayer oIntercessory prayer oSilent prayer oLaying out fleeces oPower of prayer oCorporate prayer

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