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James A. Van Slyke.  Prayer mainly associated with the Christian tradition (also Hindu and Buddhism)  Petitioning God ▪ Meet basic needs (food or clothing)

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Presentation on theme: "James A. Van Slyke.  Prayer mainly associated with the Christian tradition (also Hindu and Buddhism)  Petitioning God ▪ Meet basic needs (food or clothing)"— Presentation transcript:

1 James A. Van Slyke

2  Prayer mainly associated with the Christian tradition (also Hindu and Buddhism)  Petitioning God ▪ Meet basic needs (food or clothing) ▪ Meet Spiritual needs (forgiveness, purity)  Ascent of the mind or soul towards God ▪ Plotinus ▪ Inward turn towards God  Conversation with God

3  Expressive prayer  Sharing our emotions or desires with God  Usually involves speech (spoken or inner)  Praise (Kataphatic tradition)  Contemplative prayer  Letting Go  Creating space for God to speak  Silence (Apophatic tradition)

4  Christian mystic and nun  The Interior Castle (1577)  Prayer should be a transformative experience Changes our perspective on the world Moves us away from illusion Liminal state – stuck between two states Guilt and forgiveness Provides space for transition

5  Moves us to a state of trust and dependence on God  More attuned to the needs of others  Connects us more deeply to others  Continual activity (“pray without ceasing”)  Provides a connection to God throughout the day  Sensing the relational presence of God

6  Prayer was an essential element of spiritual practices in the early church  Early Christians were a minority  Developed unique practices based on several sources ▪ Jewish Religious Tradition ▪ Circulation of early New Testament writings  Helped form the basic spiritual practices that define the Christian experience

7  When Christianity became a state religion practitioners moved outside of society  Felt that state religion weakened the spiritual practices of the church  Desert Fathers (3 rd century)  Monastic movements ▪ Evagrius of Pontus ▪ Maximus the Confessor

8  Three Stages to developing a mature prayer life  First Stage – Praktike – lifestyle changes, letting go of sinful attachments; gain virtues  Second Stage – Natural Contemplation – Seeing the work of God in the world rather than exploiting it; rejecting selfish desires (sin)  Third Stage – Theoria – Spiritual contemplation – Seeing God; ineffable experiences; participation in the divine reality

9  Training and Exercises that cultivate spirituality  Connection between physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life  Embodied Spirituality  Increased concern on the role of the body and emotion in spiritual practices  Religion not a “disembodied” experience

10  Practices  Simplicity of Diet  Fasting  Prayer retreats  Manual labor  Simplify life in order to allow more room for God  Controlling and moderating desire (Not eliminating it)  Increases Freedom  Purifying Desire

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12  Prayer was the most important spiritual practice  “the lifting of the heart or mind to God” (Luther 1519)  Helped in the discernment of the scriptures  Reason alone was insufficient for knowledge of God  Required spiritual experience through prayer

13  Meditatio – prayerful reading of the scriptures  Oratio – Encountering the Holy Spirit  Promises of the Bible strengthen our faith  Recognize our need for God  Through prayer our hearts seek after God

14  Tenatio or Anfechtung (Distress or testing)  A feeling of need (poverty of the spirit)  Increases our hope and faith in God  Genuine prayer should lead to right attitudes and actions  The primary subject of prayer should be God or others

15  Friedrich Heiler (1932)  Focused mainly on expressive forms of prayer  Prayer is mainly a conversation with God that involves an awareness of dependence and trust ▪ Emotional; an outpouring of the heart ▪ Formulaic or impersonal prayer dissolves this awareness  Two primary categories  Mystical (Subjective; individual)  Prophetic (Active; calling upon God)

16  Ann Ulanov  Jungian psychologist  Primary Speech (1982)  Prayer is a response to God of our inner emotions and desires  Begins in infancy  It is the primary expression of our true selves

17  Ann Ulanov  Dishonesty with ourselves detracts from honesty in prayer  Fear or doubt of God’s acceptance can limit our ability for spiritual growth in prayer  Must be willing to express our true selves ▪ Anger, aggression, sexuality  Willing to confront distorted images of God or the self

18  Among US population (Poloma & Pendleton 1989, 1991)  Meditative – individual listening; attunement  Ritualistic – reciting prayers; liturgy  Petitionary – Asking for things from God  Colloquial – Conversations with God


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