Category Archives: prayer

Prayer For The Week – Look here, Lord.

Look here, Lord

Things were bad this week in our community.

Someone was shot and killed.

The gun violence keeps increasing.

People are afraid.

Where are you Lord?

Are you asleep?

I need your help.

You’re the one who brought me into this place, so this is your problem too.

Are you going to enlighten me and show me how to respond to this?

Are you going to intervene?

What do we do?

What are you going to do about this situation?

– Pastor Judly Adams

 

Pastor Adams is a pastor in Kingston, Jamaica.  Kingston is a very poor city with a high rate of violent crimes.


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Prayer For The Week – Tikkun Olam – The Healing and Transformation of our Planet

Meditation or Prayer Before Going to Vote

by Michael Lerner

Thank You, the Power of Healing and Transformation in the Universe, that Your energy has moved through human beings in the past and inspired them to create democratic institutions that would give me and others this wonderful opportunity to participate in shaping our world. I know that the outcome of this election will have consequences for all six billion people on the planet, and that if democratic norms were to be fully established that they too would be able to participate in shaping the decisions about how the world’s resources should best be used.

So I hereby take it upon myself to vote in a way that is sensitive to the needs of all the people of the planet, not just to those who are blessed to live in the richest and most powerful society. I recognize and affirm the unity of all being, and the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all people with each other and with the well-being of the planet itself.

As I approach this holy act, I recommit myself to the message revealed to the prophets and sages of old: that our highest task on earth is to bring more love and kindness, generosity and sanctity into the world, and that to do so we must vigorously pursue a world of justice and peace and avoid violence and hurting others directly or indirectly. May my votes actually contribute to these results.

Please give strength to those for whom I vote. If they are elected, let them actually contribute to achieving a world of greater peace, justice and love. If they are not elected, let my vote be one of the factors that contributes to empowering them to play a positive role in continuing their efforts for peace, justice and love, so that they represent my intentions and so that they do not personally fall back into despair or into personal opportunism and forget that they have the task of vigorously articulating the aspirations of those who were seeking through voting for them to bring more caring and more generosity into the world.

Give me the wisdom to understand those who do not vote in the way that I do. I already know that most people on this planet share with me the desire for a world of peace, justice, loving-kindness and caring. So it is hard for me to understand why they don’t support the candidates who I see representing those values.

Please give me the wisdom to understand the complex psychological, social and political factors that could take fundamentally decent human beings and lead them into paths that may, I believe, lead to a world exactly the opposite of what they really want. And let that understanding empower me to be more compassionate in the way that I think and talk about those with whom I disagree, and more intelligent in finding ways to reach them, speak to their goodness, and bring them through my love and compassion for them to be able to see a better path to achieve the goals that they share with me.

From this point forward, I commit myself to seeing the good in all others, and to finding the decency and generosity in those who disagree with me, and to keep that in front of my consciousness even as I continue to disagree with the paths that they have chosen – and let that understanding give me even greater energy to act for the causes of social justice and peace.

Meanwhile, let me also have compassion for the leaders of movements and candidates for office whom I do support – let me not judge them for their personal failings, for the ways that they are not in their PRIVATE LIVES the fullest possible embodiments of the ideals that they articulate. Yet let me simultaneously have the energy and commitment to hold them accountable in their PUBLIC ACTS to working even harder for social justice and peace and ecological sanity.

I know that my vote is only one little part of the whole, and nevertheless I will not belittle what I am doing today in going to vote. But neither will I use this vote as a way of excusing myself from doing more. I commit myself to putting more of my time and more of my energy and more of my money into activities explicitly aimed at tikkun olam, the healing and transformation of our planet.

Please let me be witness to a dramatic surge of the world’s energies toward love, justice, peace, nonviolence, spiritual awakening, and ecological sanity – quickly and in my lifetime, and let it be so. Amen. Shalom. Salaam.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us!

Rabbi Michael Lerner
Tikkun Community

 

Prayer For The Week – Deep Calls To Deep

Back in the 1980’s Dan Rather, a CBS news anchor, interviewed Mother Teresa.

During the interview Rather asked Mother Teresa, “What do you say to God when you pray?”

Mother Teresa answered, “I don’t say anything, I just listen.”

The news anchor, though caught a little off guard, was determined to pursue the subject and asked, “Well, what does Jesus say to you?”

To which Mother Teresa replied, “Oh, he doesn’t say anything either. He just listens.”

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

Psalm 42:7

Prayer For The Week – The Welcoming Prayer

Last week I posted information on Centering Prayer.  This week I would like to introduce a method that can be used in conjunction with centering prayer during those times when we are being overwhelmed by an emotion during our prayer and can’t get centered. ( this can also be used any time in our daily lives when we are troubled by our feelings)

At times we find that it is difficult to let go of an emotion or state of being.  At these times we can practice The Welcoming Prayer which offers a structured way to embrace your emotions or state, in order to reach the place where you can release, or let go of, the emotion or state and move on.

There are three phases to the Welcoming Prayer. You might go directly from one to the next in a single, relatively formulaic prayer sequence – or you might find yourself staying in one phase as it does its interior work.  The three parts are:

  1. Focus and sink in.
  2. Welcome.
  3. Let go.

Focus and sink in. This is not about indulging bad feelings. It’s not about amplifying them or justifying them. But feel the feeling. Allow yourself to become immersed in it. Let it wash over you. Don’t run away from it or fight it. Just feel what it’s like to be experiencing it.

The word “feel” can mean either to have a physical experience of touching something, or to have a mental experience of encountering an emotion. Connect those two. Feel the feeling or emotion physically. Notice your body, how you are tense or anxious or hot or fidgety or lethargic. As with meditation, you are just observing the feeling, not trying to alter it.

Welcome. Welcome the feeling by giving it a name and saying for example, “Welcome anger,” “Welcome frustration,” “Welcome anxiety.” Accept that it is there and that you can just be the way you are without trying to change.

We’re talking about feelings and emotions, not problems and physical hardships. We are not welcoming illness or injustice. If you think you should be applying the Welcoming Prayer to a problem or illness, think again about what negative emotion or feeling is being kicked up. (You probably will be dealing with a variety of fear or anger.) There’s nothing passive about acceptance. Acceptance merely establishes you in reality, so that you can respond to a situation effectively. If you are terrified about a health issue, that fear may be immobilizing you; accepting and then releasing the fear may free you to be able to deal with the issue.

Let go. And then, after you have acknowledged it, befriended it, and watched its energy begin to ebb, you can say, “I let go of this anger (or fear, or pain, or whatever it is).” Or you can recite this litany, coined by Mary Mrozowski, the founder of the welcoming prayer:

I let go my desire for security and survival.
I let go my desire for esteem and affection.
I let go my desire for power and control.
I let go my desire to change the situation.

Welcoming Prayer is the practice that actively lets go of thoughts and feelings that support the false-self system. It embraces painful emotions experienced in the body rather than avoiding them or trying to suppress them. It does not embrace the suffering as such but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the particular pain, whether physical, emotional, or mental. Thus, it is the full acceptance of the content of the present moment. In giving the experience over to the Holy Spirit, the false-self system is gradually undermined and the true self liberated.   — Thomas Keating


Prayer For The Week – Centering Prayer

“For God alone my soul waits in silence Ps 62:1

The practice of centering prayer seeks to still the activity of the mind in order to experience a loving awareness of God’s presence.

1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within you. Silently repeat the chosen sacred word or phrase in your mind. It may be helpful to link this repetition to the rhythm of your breath, for example repeating shalom with each in- and out-breath. The word or phrase can also be split, repeating “sha-” while breathing in and “–lom” when breathing out, or breathing in.  The breathing technique should consist of breathing in slowly for a count of 4-7 seconds, then breathing out slowly for an equal length of time while silently saying your sacred word in rhythm with your breathing.  I prefer to use the word Maranatha (Aramaic for Come Lord). Here is an audio example of using Maranatha as your sacred word.  Other suggestions: Jesus, Abba, Freedom, Stillness, Shalom.

2. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed.  You can sit cross-legged; full or half lotus; kneeling with a cushion or bench under your rear; or sitting in a chair, as long as the chair fits you so you can plant your feet with your back supported. All of these are fine. The point is simply to balance the body in an upright posture, so there is no need for adjustments while sitting, and to encourage alertness. Settle briefly and silently, to yourself, introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.  The goal is that silently repeating (or remembering) the sacred word to yourself will lead you to an inner silence.

3. When you become aware of thoughts, sensations, feelings–any perception whatsoever–return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.  Remember the three Rs: Resist no thought, React to no thought, Retain no thought.  You will drift into not needing the word, into the inner silence where you are “resting in God.”  When you realize you’re thinking about something, say the sacred word to yourself and let the thought go. The silence may last a while, or you may stay in the attachment-surrender loop the whole time. The goal is not constant emptiness. As Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault says, “striving for emptiness is a surefire way to guarantee that your meditation will be a constant stream of thoughts.”

4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Before coming out of your meditation, start breathing deeper and more actively and become aware of your surroundings. You might also want to stretch your arms, yawn, sigh or rub your eyes before opening your eyes. You may choose to end your practice by saying a short prayer.

For best results do this 20 – 30 minutes in the morning and in the evening.  If you can’t do 20 minutes at first, do less rather than not doing it, but something happens to the stillness around 10 to 15 minutes into the practice that you will miss. That’s why 20+ is nearly universal. (you can set a gentle sounding timer to let you know when the allotted time is up)

Prayer For The Week – Prayer Beads

I found this at Jonny Baker ‘s blog here

Using a cord with beads or knots as an aid to prayer is practiced in many spiritual traditions including Christian. Having something tactile helps give a rhythm and focus to one’s prayer.

To use prayer beads, take the cord in one hand and hold a bead between the thumb and index finger.  Pray a prayer, pause, then push the bead on and take the next one.  Repeat for one cycle or as many as you like.

The prayer cord in the picture can be made very easily with a piece of cord and five beads of different colors.  If you make a prayer cord as pictured these colors could represent the following:

yellow – thanks

red – mercy

blue – peace

green – healing

purple – justice

You could pray with your own words and thoughts or try these simple prayers:

yellow – thanks for life

red – have mercy on me

blue – peace on earth as it is in heaven

green – you are the healer, come and heal … in Jesus’ name

purple – may your justice roll down like a river     Amen