Presentation on theme: "Prayer What is Prayer? Positions for Prayer Jesus' Teaching About Prayer 'A Day in the Life of a Monk'"— Presentation transcript:
Prayer What is Prayer? Positions for Prayer Jesus' Teaching About Prayer 'A Day in the Life of a Monk'
Prayer For all Christians, praying is very important, because it makes their relationship with God stronger, and they believe it changes them and the world in which they live. What is it? Praying is much more than giving God a list of stuff you want him to do, although sometimes it can be like that!! It is more to do with spending time enjoying God's company, a bit like you would do with your best friend. Asking questions, talking about your family and friends, wondering about the future, saying sorry, saying thank-you, listening to what they have to say, not worrying about silence, just glad to be with them.
Prayer Personal Prayer Every Christian needs to pray privately, even one of the most well known Christian leaders living today, spends time alone in prayer to God. Jesus told his followers (Christians) to shut themselves in their room and pray in secret, because God hears and answers in secret! In other words, Christians can pray at any time and anywhere that gives them space on their own. A lot of people find a quiet room in their home. Ellie prays in her bedroom. Others might pray when they walk the dog, or when they are riding to school or work! You don't have to pray out loud, you can pray in your mind, or just be quiet and listen.
Public Prayer When Christians meet together, they often make time to pray. This is because Jesus said that when Christians agree to pray together about something, God hears and answers. Sometimes it is just a group of friends praying for one another, or for something that concerns them. In church, public prayers are often led by one person, who may read a set prayer, or pray out loud on behalf of everyone. Usually this is the Vicar or a church leader, but sometimes others may do this, like the ladies in our picture. Everyone joins in by thinking about what is being prayed, and then saying 'Amen' at the end. Sometimes all will say a prayer together. One of the best known is the prayer Jesus taught his followers, called the Lord's Prayer. A lot of churches have special prayer services, when everyone who attends is invited to take part in prayer.
Meditative Prayer -- There are different ways to pray. In this type of prayer a Christian will meditate (think deeply) about God. This involves organising a time when you will be on your own in silence. You will use something - often some sentences from the Bible, which talk about God - to help you meditate. This means you will think about the meaning of the words, use your imagination to picture God, ask God to help you understand, or help you obey what he has said to you, ask questions, in order to grow closer to God. Christian meditation is very different from some forms of meditation that come from other religions. Many Christians would be worried about sharing in these other forms of meditation.
Prayer Positions for Prayer
The Bible talks about many different positions being used when people are praying. They are all used by Christians today. Eyes and head raised upwards to God. "I lift my eyes to you, O God enthroned in heaven." (The Bible, Psalm 123 verse 1)The Bible, Psalm 123 verse 1 This girl is leading prayers in an Anglican church. Humble kneeling. "Come let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is God." (The Bible, Psalm 95 verse 6)The Bible, Psalm 95 verse 6 This man is praying in an Anglican church. Eyes closed, concentrating on God. "Keeping our eyes on Jesus." (The Bible, Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2)The Bible, Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2 This girl goes to a Brethren church.
Positions for Prayer Hands and head raised to heaven. "Lifting up my hands to you in prayer." (The Bible, Psalm 63 verse 4)The Bible, Psalm 63 verse 4 This girl is leading prayers in an Afro-Caribbean church. Head bowed in respect to God. "Come let us worship and bow down." (The Bible, Psalm 95 verse 6)The Bible, Psalm 95 verse 6 These people are praying in an Orthodox church. Prostrate - lying flat on the ground in humility. "I lay prostrate before the Lord." (The Bible, Deuteronomy chapter 9 verse 18)The Bible, Deuteronomy chapter 9 verse 18 These priests are praying in a Roman Catholic church
Prayer Jesus' Teaching About Prayer
What Did Jesus Teach About Prayer? Where can we pray? The Bible tells us that Jesus prayed in many different places - the Synagogue, the Temple, the countryside - even in a garden. He taught that it was important to find a quiet place to pray to God. " When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly." (The Bible, Matthew chapter 6 verse 6, NLT)The Bible, Matthew chapter 6 verse 6, NLT Today, many church buildings are left open through the day so that people can go there to pray. This chapel for prayer is in St. David's Cathedral
Don't Give Up! Jesus told a story to encourage his followers not to give up praying, even if God doesn't seem to answer quickly, or in the way we expect. The Friend at Midnight (The Bible, Luke chapter 11 verses 5 - 9, NLT)The Bible, Luke chapter 11 verses 5 - 9, NLT 'Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.'
Our Father In his best known prayer ("The Lord's Prayer") Jesus taught Christians to call God "Our Father in heaven". (The Bible, Matthew chapter 6 verses ) Like a loving father, God listens to our prayers and always gives his best. Sometimes,, this may not always be exactly what we want - sometimes a loving parent even has to use the word no!The Bible, Matthew chapter 6 verses
Let's look at The Lord's Prayer Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come Thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses As we forgive those who trespass against us And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil For thine is the kingdom And the power and the glory For ever and ever Amen Our Father in heaven Help us to respect your name Be our king! Have your way on earth Like you do in heaven Give us today the things we need Forgive us for the things we do wrong As we forgive people who have hurt us Help us not to do wrong things And protect us from harm For everything is yours -all the power and glory in the world Now and for always I really mean this prayer.
Prayer 'A Day in the Life of a Monk'
A Life of Prayer Some Christians want to devote their whole lives to prayer. They may do this by joining a Christian community which devotes much of its life to the discipline of prayer. People in these communities are called monks or nuns. The communities are often named after famous Christians who started them like St. Francis or St. Benedict.
'A Day in the Life of a Monk' For most people, the only monks they come across are in Brother Cadfael or The Name of the Rose, and the only signs that they once existed are the ruined abbeys and priories that dot the English landscape, and the survival of their titles in place names, like Abbey Road. It often comes as a surprise to learn that they are also real people, living and working in the twenty-first century. For there are still monasteries of monks and nuns in England, most of them belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, all of them witnessing to God by their life of prayer and by a rich variety of works including teaching, running parishes, giving retreats, creating beautiful objects like stained glass and ceramics, and inspiring others with uplifting music and worship.
A Day in the Life... of a Monk Unlike missionaries and friars, who travel about quite a lot in the course of their work, monks tend to stay put in one place, so that the monastery which they make their home becomes a focus for the prayer life of the local community and a stable point in a rapidly changing world. My home is at Downside Abbey in Somerset, where I live with about thirty other monks. I have several different jobs, which I carry out in the gaps between the fixed times of prayer when all the monks come together to praise God.
A Day in the Life... of a Monk This is a typical day: 6.00 a.m. The day begins with the service of VIGILS in the Abbey Church: this is the first and longest part of the 'Divine Office' which gives a framework to the monastic day. During Vigils we sing psalms and canticles from the Bible and listen to the Word of God and to the writings of Church Fathers. There follows a half-hour break for private prayer. LAUDS. This if the Office of Praise, when we joyfully greet the dawn and ask God's blessing on the day's work; Lauds is shorter than Vigils, and more 'upbeat' in tone a.m.
Breakfast, taken in silence in the Monks' Refectory a.m a.m. MASS. The whole community is gathered together for the celebration of the eucharist, in which we remember the saving sacrifice of Christ, and renew the offering of ourselves to God. At Mass, since I am Choirmaster, I lead the monks in their singing of Gregorian chant. Together with the choir from our boarding school, we have made two very successful CDs of our singing. The whole school joins us for Mass on Sunday mornings.
9.15 a.m. After Mass, the monks go about their different jobs, whether it be teaching in the school, looking after a local parish, or dealing with visitors. A lot of my time is taken up with computer work, as I edit our quarterly journal, The Downside Review, and most jobs that need IT skills seem to come my way. I also run our Conference Centre, so there will be 'phone calls, s and letters to sort out p.m. MIDDAY PRAYER. In the middle of our working day, we pause to remember that it is God who gives value to our work and sustains us in our labours. This if followed by lunch. We begin by singing grace together; then, as we eat in silence, one of the brethren reads to us an extract which the Abbot has chosen: it might be an academic article from a journal, or a sermon or lecture.
In the afternoons I try to get away from my computer screen, though I don't always succeed. If at all possible I will try to do something more physical, and there are always jobs to be done. I spend quite a lot of time maintaining a hostel for student groups which I look after p.m. VESPERS. Together with Lauds, Vespers is one of the 'hinges' of the day. For most of the community, the working day is done, and it is time to give thanks to God for the graces he has given during the day, in prayer and singing. After Vespers, there is another half-hour of silence so that we can pray privately or meditate on a passage of the Bible.
6.45 p.m. Supper. As with the other meals, this is taken in silence, but the reading is lighter and more entertaining: it may be biography, history or travel writing p.m. Community Recreation. After we have tidied up in the refectory, this is the time to relax together as a monastic family, to swap news, ideas, stories, and just to be together. It is important to have this time for conversation, as monasteries are very busy places, and people might not otherwise get the chance to talk.
8.00 p.m. Compline. The last part of the Divine Office, which we sing by heart in the darkened Church. After Compline there is silence in the monastery until breakfast the next morning. Some will go to bed soon afterwards; for others there is still work to be done: the school will not quieten down until p.m. I tend to get to bed around p.m.
Each of the monks has his own room, which we call 'cells', though they are more comfortable than prison cells! I do most of my work from my own room, so it functions also as an office, with lots of filing trays and hundreds of books. I find I have to be very imaginative about making best use of the space! Life as a monk is not as leisurely as it can seem from the outside, and can be compared to the swan gliding gracefully on the surface of the water, while underneath its feet are working frantically. But for those who are suited to its orderliness and sense of purpose, it is a life that is richly rewarding. Dom Dunstan O'Keeffe Downside Abbey, Somerset