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“Developing a Regular Prayer Practice” October 2 – St. Paul’s Church, White River Junction October 16 – St. James' Church, Essex Junction October 30 –

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Presentation on theme: "“Developing a Regular Prayer Practice” October 2 – St. Paul’s Church, White River Junction October 16 – St. James' Church, Essex Junction October 30 –"— Presentation transcript:

1 “Developing a Regular Prayer Practice” October 2 – St. Paul’s Church, White River Junction October 16 – St. James' Church, Essex Junction October 30 – Zion Church, Manchester Center The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont 2010 Ministry Fairs

2 In this session we will explore the following questions… “How do I get started on a personal prayer life? “What resources are available to me in the Book of Common Prayer and beyond?” “Why even try?” We try because…

3 Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers ? And we respond - I will, with God’s help. Our Baptismal Covenant asks us

4 From our catechism we learn: (BCP, p 856) “Prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words” “Christian prayer is response to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” “Our Lord gave us the example of prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer.” “The principal kinds of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition.”

5 And… As Christians we are called to ‘pray without ceasing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17) What is prayer and how do we get started?

6 “ Prayer is first and foremost a condition of loving attentiveness to God in which we find ourselves open and receptive to who we are in our deepest selves.” ( The Practice of Prayer, p 44.) “ In prayer we say who in fact we are – not who we should be, nor who we wish we were, but who we are. All prayer begins with this confession.” Ann and Barry Ulanov’s, Primary Speech (p 1),

7 Kinds of Prayer Adoration – Prayer when God’s majesty takes our breath away Sunsets, power of storms, water or wind, beauty of snow, flowers, creation, art, music, things beyond ourselves “ Adoration is not a cozy kind of prayer. It is a prayer that humbles us even as it exalts God.” ( The Practice of Prayer, p 47) “ Adoration calls for a heartfelt letting go of all our pretensions and recognizing our own nothingness, though this healthy recognition of our limitation is not the same as wallowing in self deprecation.” ( TPP, p 47) “ If we let down our guard, God can overwhelm us, captivate us, absorb us. It is adoration that puts blood and passion on our faith.” ( TPP, p 48)

8 Thanksgiving Gratitude for God’s presence and action in our lives This is difficult because it recognizes our smallness, shamefulness and our helplessness. “ Prayers of thanksgiving remind us of the immensity of our debt and our utter nothingness without God’s gifts.” (TPP, p 50)

9 Confession “ Confession is the opposite side of the coin from thanksgiving, for we are acknowledging our limitation and sinfulness over against God’s perfection.’ (TPP, p 51) “The passive voice has no place in prayers of confession.” (TPP, p 52) Not ‘ mistakes were made ’ but ‘ I stole a pencil ’.

10 Intercession “Prayers of intercession move us beyond ourselves into community. ” (TPP, p 53) Intercession tends to blend with Petition but in intercession we are not really asking for anything. To intercede is to stand between. “ When we intercede, …, we place ourselves before authority [God] on behalf of another. ” “ Intercession is often the most vital part of our solitary [personal] prayer, perhaps because we turn to it when we feel most helpless and anxious.” “ It is important to remember we cannot pray people well… ” “ if nothing else, intercession holds the sufferers in the embrace of the community. The suffering is not lessened, but it is more bearable when one does not watch alone.”

11 Petition “ entreating on our own behave, is the most common kind of prayer, the form that comes most easily and unbidden. ” (TPP, Pg 57) We may feel guilty about this type of prayer “ The Lord’s Prayer, for example, makes it clear that we are expected to ask for things…There are four petitions in that very short prayer… for food; for forgiveness; to be spared trial and temptation; and to be delivered from evil. Clearly Jesus expected his disciples to ask that their needs, both body and soul, be met.”

12 Prayer takes practice like anything else Try different ways to pray to find what works best for you

13 Ways to Pray Formal Ways Ignatian Prayer “At the heart …is the conviction that God can be found in all things.” ( TPP, p 62) “The gospels become vivid and alive as we put ourselves in the story.” “We use all five senses to let ourselves see, hear, taste and smell the event and places and people in the story. Mere reading is transformed into a lively, imaginative experience.”

14 Centering Prayer Entering into silence “The essence of centering prayer is its simplicity…Centering prayer is effortless – or should be.” (TPP, p 65-66) “The point of it all is simply being there with God, going to God without any expectations.” “Centering causes us to leave time, space and our own separateness behind.”

15 Lectio Divina holy reading “…lectio divina invites us to slow down and go deep [within the text]” ( TPP, p 68-69 ) When we read and meditate on the written word, our prayer emerges from this meditation leading us to contemplation “ …the one who prays is led to surrender self and simply be in the loving presence of God. The final stage is contemplation, resting in that love. … this final stage is not reached easily and is certainly not reached every time.”

16 The Jesus Prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (TPP, p 70) The Way of a Pilgrim - a firsthand account of a pilgrim as he lives out Paul’s instruction to ‘pray without ceasing’. Carrying only a Bible, a rosary and some dried bread, this unknown pilgrim recites the Jesus Prayer and his life is transformed.

17 Informal Ways to Pray The Tevya Prayer/Arrow Prayers/Spontaneous Prayer Panic Prayers God I promise I’ll never sin again if…. Praying in the Cracks Praying in the empty moments of the day, waiting in the doctor’s office, driving to work, etc. Short prayers – all types – free style

18 Praying with our Hands – tactile – repetitive With each bead or knot or stitch a prayer is offered Rosary Anglican Prayer Beads Ropes Knitting Needlework

19 Time away – other ways to focus Retreats Journaling Spiritual Guidance

20 Time away - continued Labyrinths Pilgrimage Hiking Walking/Running

21 “What resources are available to me in the Book of Common Prayer and beyond?”

22 The Daily Office The Book of Common Prayer 1979 Morning Prayer Rite I, p 37 Rite II, p 75 Noonday Prayer, p 103 Evening Prayer Rite I, p 61 Rite II, p 115 Compline, p 127 An Order of Worship for Evening, p 109 Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families, p 136

23 The Lectionary, p 934 The Collects, p 158 The Canticles Morning Prayer, p 144 Evening Prayer, p 145 Aids to help you through the Daily Office …where to find

24 Other Resources for Daily Office – Daily Prayer Enriching our Worship I Morning Prayer Evening Prayer Canticles Other Resources Work of God: Benedictine Prayer Celtic Prayer Books The St. Helena’s Psalter Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim Psalms for Praying Forward Day by Day Many, many more

25 Remember: Find a comfortable space to pray if you fall asleep - you needed to – relax – it’s okay Create a routine – be consistent early morning, during lunch, before bed If it isn’t working try something new - experiment Continue even when your prayer time feels empty especially at first as you find your way and know we all have desert periods Practice – Practice - Practice everything requires practice - even prayer


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