Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday at SPUMC - Feb. 28, 2010

A beautiful morning!  Blue skies, sunshine, birds singing - a great day to praise God!

Our Education Hour was bustling:
* The Children continued to work on their "About Me" posters that will be hung in the Fellowship Room soon!  Be on the look out to learn more about these amazing kids!
* The Confirmation class met with their Parents and Pastor Penny to watch the NOOMA video, "Breathe."  Talking about what it means to be standing on "holy ground," and the choices we make everyday that bring us closer to - or distract us from - God.
*  Wired Word talked about the prevalence of anger in our world today - especially in news stories.  What is our Christian response to our own anger - and to the anger in the world?
* Tom and Mari's class talked about the Christian author, Parker Palmer.  An overview of his background and books, with some interesting discussion based on some of his quotes.

In worship, we wrapped up our Month of Prayer.  We gave the children one more easy prayer - using their hands!  (Your thumb reminds you to pray for those closest to you; your pointer finger for those who point you in the right direction; your tallest finger for leaders; your weakest finger for the weak, sick, and sad among us; and the pinky finger for yourself!)  Pastor Penny continued on this theme in her sermon, reminding us to pray for Our World, It's People and Leaders; The Church and It's Leaders; Those in Our Circle of Responsibility; and Ourselves.  We took moments to pray for all of these things during the sermon time.

As we end our focus on Prayer - we ask you to continue to seek new ways to strengthen your own prayer time!  If you'd like help or resources, don't hesitate to ask! 

Next week we begin the Month of Fasting!  Uh-oh.  Sounds crazy!  Come to worship to hear "Why On Earth Do We Fast?!"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Simple Prayer

"Jesus faced his ultimate fear with honest prayer.

"Let's not overcomplicate this topic.  Don't we do so?  We prescribe words for prayer, places for prayer, clothing for prayer, postures for prayer; durations, intonations, and incantations.  Yet Jesus' garden appeal had none of these.  It was brief (twenty-six English words), straightforward ("Please take this cup of suffering away"), and trusting ("Yet I want your will to be done, not mine").  Low on slick and high on authentic.  Less a silver-tongued saint in the sanctuary; more a frightened child in a father's lap.

"That's it.  Jesus' garden prayer is a child's prayer.  Abba, he prayed, using the homespun word a child would use while scampering up on the lap of Papa...

"...Prayer is the practice of sitting calmly in God's lap and placing our hands on his steering wheel.  He handles the speed and hard curves and ensures safe arrival.  And we offer our requests; we ask God to "take this cup away."  This cup of disease, betrayal, financial collapse, joblessness, conflict, or senility.  Prayer is this simple.  And such simple prayer equipped Christ to stare down his deepest fear.

Do likewise.  Fight your dragons in Gethsemane's garden.  Those persistent, ugly villains of the heart - talk to God about them."
--Max Lucado, from the book "Fearless"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When You Pray

In the Narthex (the entryway) is a table of resources about prayer.  On the table is a book, called "When You Pray - Daily Practices for Prayerful Living."  I picked up one of these books a few weeks ago - and I'lm really enjoying it.  The readings are for a week - so not daily, but I find myself reading it everyday for a week...

Each week goes something like this:
A scripture reminding us of God's presence.
A scripture inviting God's intervention into our lives.
Scripture references to be read throughout the week.
An essay on the topic for the week.
Quotes relating to prayer and the topic of the week.
A reminder to take time for reflection.
Reminders to pray.
An offering of ourselves to God.
And a blessing.

This week's topic is "Looking for the Right Way."  Here's one of the quotes offered for this week:
"In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have fogotten this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.  When we ask it about our current path, we must look at the values we have chosen to live by.  Where do we put our time, our strength, our creativity, our love?  We must look at our life without sentimentality, exaggeration, or idealism.  Does what we are choosing reflect what we most deeply value?"  --Kornfield, "A Path with a Heart"

Challenging.  And beautiful - especially in this season of Lent.

If you'd like a copy of this book, they are $10 - pick one up at church!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Prayer for Kindness

"God, there are times when I just want to throw someone through a wall.
And the week is barely half over!
Help me be kind to those who aren't.
Help me be kind to my family and friends who must live with me.
Help me to be kind to those who try the patience I prayed for on Monday.
I'm feeling overwhelmed, God.
Stand beside me.
Let me feel your presence.

(Take a moment and sit in silence.  Breathe deeply.  Calm yourself.)

Stay with me, God.
Get me through this crazy week.
Help me deal with these crazy people.
Fill my soul.
--Book of Uncommon Prayer

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Prayer for Faithfulness

"I will not question you, God.
I will go where you send me.
I will deal with all that comes my way.
I will open my heart to you and
believe that all things will work out
for my good
because I love you.
I will listen to the Scriptures.
I will learn from them.
I will pray and know I am heard.
You, Lord, are not my destination on this journey.
Because you are beside me while I walk.
You, Lord, are the journey itself.

"I am a servant of the Creator of the universe.
I will not be bogged down by ________________________ (name things that are keeping you from focusing on your work for God).
God will lift my spirit.
I will not be dragged into the muck and the mire.
I am a servant of God.
--Book of Uncommon Prayer

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Prayer for Patience

"Father, God, I begin this new day and this new week seeking your help.
When I lack energy, give me your spirit.
When I lack discipline, give me your love.
When I lack time, give me your patience.
I have much to do, God.
Smile on my tasks.

(Name urgent items on your to-do list.)

Help me to please all those I need to please.
...or at least help them be patient with me.
Let the patience and forgiveness I receive from others
equal the patience I extend to them.
The world around me seems to be spinning out of control.
I am worried about _____________________________ (think of places or people in the news).
Be with us, Lord.
I go through this life as best I can
and sometimes it's just barely enough.
Other times I fall seriously short of the mark.
Walk with me.
Make me aware of your presence this week.
I will give you the glory.
--Book of Uncommon Prayer

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday at SPUMC - Feb. 21, 2010

Wowsers!  A busy day at St. Paul's! 

The 24 Hour Prayer Vigil wrapped up this morning at 9am.  50 people participated in praying over the course of 24 hours!  Some prayed in the sanctuary with dimmed lights, candles, and 11 prayer stations to help prompt their prayers when words seemed hard to find.  They could sit in silence, walk a labyrinth, rub a a prayer rock, make blessing bracelets, draw or paint, write down confessions and rip them up into tiny pieces...  Or any number of other ways they found to talk to God.  We also had people praying from their homes - and one from a beach in Florida!  We had 7 people volunteer to come in and watch over the building - enabling the peace and quiet for our pray-ers.  A huge gift! 

The Education Hour seemed to be bustling:
* The Children practiced for their performance during worship, and made "getting to know you posters."  Be on the look out in future weeks for these fabulous posters in the fellowship hall!
* The Confirmands talked about the story of Zacchaeus, and what it means to take the bad things we've done and turn towards a life with Jesus... and how to make amends for our mistakes.  We had some great discussion about things that happen in our everyday lives!
* Wired Word talked about a community that invited people to move there (with land and financial incentives)... and when one family moved there they were not welcomed or wanted.  The discussion was based on how do we make visitors and new members feel in this faith community - what are our motives for welcoming, and how can we do a better job?
* Tom and Mari started their class today!  They focused on the Christian writer, Kathleen Norris.  I heard it was a great discussion - with background, quotes, and stories.

Worship was lively and meaningful.  Our District Superintendant, Liz Lopez joined us and shared her thoughts about finding "stillness" in our prayer times...  Really quieting ourselves to listen for God in the difficult moments.  The children sang - and did a GREAT job!  The choir sang a lovely version of "What a Friend We Have In Jesus."  And the mood was all around uplifting!

Following worship, we had a tasty fellowship time.  Many people gathered around the table with Liz to ask questions and hear how the Methodist church is doing.  And lastly, following that time, was the first Israel meeting!  We found out some more details and saw a power point of some of the places we will be visiting.  If you're thinking about going on this trip, be sure to let Pastor Penny know!

God is doing great things here - I'm so glad to be a part of it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Prayer of Joy

"God, there is something about Saturday I love.
With childlike innocence I love this day.
Even if I'm working.
Even if I'm stuck doing something I'd rather not do.
I love this day.
My body and mind may have ideas for my time
but my heart wants to watch cartoons and eat sugarcoated cereal with ice-cold milk.
Thank you for all the wonderful things I never think to thank you for.
Thank you for children.
Thank you for cartoons.
Thank you for sugar, cereal, and ice-cold milk.
Thank you for ___________________________________.

God, waking up on a Saturday morning is like
waking up to a warm hug.
If I sweat this day in my backyard, I will thank you for the rain.
If I strain through this day shoveling snow, I will thank you for the sunshine.
My days on this earth are few compared to the eternity I want to spend with you, God.
May heaven be one long Saturday.
--The Book of Uncommon Prayer

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Prayer for Self-Control

"God, I don't always live the way I should.
I tell the world about being honest and true and pure.
Then sometimes they look at me and run.
When I said I'd be your servant, I thought it would be easier.
I thought you'd take away all my problems and temptations.
I thought I could be the kind of person I tell others they should be.
It doesn't always work that way, God.
I see others having a wonderful time, and I miss being part of that.
I see something shiny off to the side of the path
and I go wandering after it without a thought.

(Think of some temptations in your life, things that distract your mind from God's will for you.)

Keep my head right, God.
Keep my eyes focused on Jesus.
Keep my feet on the path.
Keep my heart desiring what is good.
Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.
Help me know the difference.
And when I already know the difference
help me to make the right choice anyway.
--The Book of Uncommon Prayer

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Prayer for Peace

"I am your servant, God.
When there is chaos around me, help me stay centered.
When those around me argue and fight,
let me be your peacemaker.
Show me what's important.
Help me to keep an open mind.
Help me soothe the anger of others.
Help me remember what is truly important.
Help me resolve the conflicts in my life.

(Name the chaotic situations and people with whom you're struggling; include yourself and the tough decisions you must face.)

Stay with me, God.
Enter into the hearts of all those
with whom I cannot find common ground.
Fill their hearts and fill mine.
Let us stop fussing and find peace.
I am your servant, God.
--Case, "A Book of Uncommon Prayer"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Be sure to stop by the church sometime today for your ashes and blessing!  The service is tonight at 6:30pm - children are welcome!  We try very hard to make this a family-friendly experience!  If you can't make it to the service, Pastor Penny will be in her office all day - feel free to make an appointment to stop by!

Here's an Ash Wednesday prayer to start your day:

God of promises and new beginnings,
we hear you calling us to turn away from our yesterday
and towards your tomorrow,
to let go of the things that way us down,
and to embrace the mercy you offer us
with a generosity we can scarcely comprehend.

As we set out into this Season of Lent,
receive us as we are,
and transform us: change us,
make us new, set a right heart within us.
We pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.
--Seasons of the Spirit

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


What is your favorite setting to pray in?

In a sanctuary?
In a pew?
At a kneeling rail?
In the forest?
On a lake?
In bed?
In the shower?
In the car?
In your office?
At the dining room table?
In a coffee house?

John Ortberg talks about his prayer setting like this, "Somehow I grew up with the idea that you ought to have a 'prayer closet,' and a closet is not often a setting of great beauty.  So I have learned over the years the importance of finding a place that supports my attempts at prayer.  At home, I have a window that I will sit in front of becase of the view it offers.  I will sometimes draw up another chair to remind me that prayer is not simply me thinking thoughts on my own, that Jesus really is present.  During times of longer prayer I will often try to go outside to a lake or (if I'm lucky) to the ocean.  Sometimes, I'll simply light a candle, which reminds me of the frequent teaching of Scripture that the light of God's presence and wisdom is available to guide me."

"Over time, a space that is used again and again for prayer becomes sacred.  Just as couples often have favorite restaurants or friends have one particular booth at a restaurant where they always gather, having one place where you have met God in prayer over the years becomes a gift to your soul."

Where is your spot?  Where will you create a prayer setting?  What will make it special?

I have it easy.  I work at the church.  I can go in the sanctuary any day...  when no one is here...  It's a huge gift to have that easy access.  But, when I'm home, my spot is on the couch in my living room.  A blanket over my legs, a fire in the fireplace (it's gas - just flip a switch!), some hot tea, my dog cuddled next to me, my Bible handy and maybe a prayer book like "When You Pray."  This is time for me to read, pray, and relax.  It is truly a moment of peace...

So where is your spot?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Prayer Journal

Ever feel like you don't know what to pray for?  Try starting a prayer journal!

Take any old notebook - or a beautiful fancy journal - whatever works for you.
Write down prayers that you love - that speak to you, that mean something to you, that carry memories and comfort.
Write down prayer requests - for yourself, your friends, your family, your community, your nation, the world...
And write down what happens in those situations you pray for.  Do you see how God worked in that situation?  Did you see how God answered that prayer?  Sometimes this takes a lot of thought...  God doesn't usually answer prayers the way we think they should be answered, or the way we want them answered...

This can be a very strong tool to help you in prayer - with words, with focus, with excitement and expectation, and with thanks.

Give it a try - let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday at SPUMC - Feb. 14, 2010

We CAN Pray!  Today we found a few more ways of praying... and of throwing off the excuses NOT to pray!  While it was small attendance... it was a fun and energetic service (with a lot of people wearng red)!  We missed those of you who were ill and on vacation!

The Education Hour kicked things off with:
*  The Children talked about asking God for help when they want to help their friends in need.
*  There was no confirmation due to a 5-day weekend!
*  Wired Word discussed the Baptist Missionaries that were thrown into a Haitian prison for trying to help children out of the country after the earthquake.  The main question discussed when are we helping with God's intentions - and when are we operating on our own intentions?  How do we seek God's will in the ways we help others?

Worship continued to be focused on prayer - today was the "XYZs" of Prayer.  Pastor Penny talked about using things we do everyday as part of our prayer life.  If you're on the computer much of the day, why not have prayer prompts and devotionals sent to your email?  It only takes a few moments to read through them, and pray...  She also talked about our upcoming 24 Hour Prayer Vigil and the importance of being a praying community - this is how we are called to live as Christians and this is how we seek God's heart.  What a wonderful way to start the season of Lent - with 20 minutes (or more) of quiet time to reflect on the things we should "put down" and what it is that we could "pick up" to help us grow closer to God....

Here's a couple of web sites that send devotions to your email everyday:
Luther Seminary's "God Pause"
The Upper Room's Daily Devotionals

Also, we still have spots available for the 24 Hour Prayer Vigil!  If you're interested in signing-up to take part (either at the church, or from home) - please contact me ASAP!

Hope you had a lovely Valentines Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010


"One thing we can think about in the discipline of prayer is our body language when praying.  It can be helpful to experiment with different postures since our outer body language often reflects our inner attitude, even in prayer.

"For example, try praying with your hands held palms up.  This simple gesture can help us open our spirits to what God may want to give us.  Or when you are praying about a troubling situation, turn your hands over, palms down, symbolizing giving the concern over to God.  When struggling with difficulties, throw yourself down on the floor as a symbol of your willingness to let God's will be done in your life.  Try standing when you are praising God or when you are confessing your faith in him.

"These are just some of the postures you could experiment with to infuse new life into your prayers."
--Valerie Hess, "Spiritual Disciplines Devotional"

Do you pray with your eyes open?  or closed?
Hands folded?  together?  in the air?  in your lap?
Do you kneel?  stand?  sit?  lay down?

There are so many ways to pray...  Don't let the "proper posture" get in the way!  Do what feels right to you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rule of Prayer

A "rule" of prayer?!  Sounds icky!

But wait a moment...  Maybe it's not so bad...

All it means, is setting aside a regular time each day to pray and finding a prayer structure that works for you.  Seems simple. 

When we practice a "rule of prayer," prayer gradually becomes a holy habit, something we do that is not dependent on feelings or moods or our ability to articulate well.  It becomes central to our lives and strengthens our connections to God.

Everybody's rule of prayer will be different - for some, praying at 5am everyday works amazingly well.  For others, before bed is perfect.  For some, it's finding that moment of peace in the middle of the day.  It can be reciting a prewritten or ancient prayer (like the Lord's Prayer), or it can be talking in conversation each day.  It can be written in a journal, said out loud, or simply thought in silence...  Whatever works for you to spend a few moments each day with God.

We all have times when we don't particularly feel like praying or don't know how to pray...  Sometimes having a written prayer handy can keep our thoughts from wandering and racing - and shift our focus back to God. 

"By sticking to our schedule and structure, we remind our spirits of God's grace and love, even when that grace and love seem far away."

So will you give it a try?  Experiment with what time of day works best for you?  I'd be curious to know what you came up with!

"When prayer fades, power fades out.  We are as spiritual as we are prayerful; no more, no less."
--E. Stanley Jones

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Breath Prayer

"Breathing is an unconscious thing.  And breath prayer reminds us that just as we can't live on one breath of air, we can't live on one breath of God.  God is the oxygen of our soul, and we need to breathe him in all day long.  After all, it is in him that 'we live and move and have our being' (Acts 17:28).  Breath prayer reminds us that each breath we are given is God's gift and that God's Spirit is nearer to us than our own breath...

*  To practice breath prayer, ponder the nearness of God. 
*  Settle deeply into the truth that Christ is in you. 
*  Deeply breathe in, repeating any name of God that is dear to you [Abba, Blessed, Creator, Counselor, Companion, Defender, Delight, Divine, Eternal, Exalted, Father, Friend, Forgiver, Giver, Gracious, Holy, Healer, Holy Spirit, Infinite, Inspirer, Joy, Jesus, Kind, Lord, Light, Love, Listener, Messiah, Master, Merciful, Physician, Peace, Protector, Precious, Perfect, Refiner, Refuge, Renewer, Restorer, Spirit, Source, Strength, Steadfast, Teacher, Truth, Understanding, Un failing, Uniter, Wisdom, Wonderful, Wise, Yahweh...].
*  As you exhale, voice a deep desire of your heart, offer up the desire of your heart.
*  Repeat this prayer over and over throughout the day.

This short repetitive prayer frees you from linear thought and allows you to begin to pray in your body, not just your mind.  It is meant to be a lived, breathing rhythm of surrender.  And it is a constant reminder of the One in whose presence you stand."
--Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, from "Spiritual Disciplines Handbok"

**Some examples: 
"God, have mercy on me."
"Gracious God, guide me in your ways." 
"Father God, give me strength today."
"Holy One, keep me true."
"Breath of life, Breathe in me.

This is a way of praying that I often use as I'm driving or drifting off to sleep (but not both at the same time!)...  How does it feel to you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Moment

"When we pray for others, we not only seek something for them but we also acknowledge our dependency on them.  We only achieve being through relationships with others, with other real persons.  A glimpse of this mystery and its fundemental reality appears in the image of the Trinity.  The internal being of God exists as a relationship, a love so vital and vividly expressed that only the image of persons in unceasing connection to each other can capture it.  Jesus indicates that this sort of interconnectedness both preceded his birth and survives after his death as a principle way to link us to God through him.  'He always lives to make intercession for [us],' as the words of Hebrews put it (Hebrews 7:25)."
--Ulanov, from "Primary Speech" quoted in "When You Pray" by Rueben Job

Today, take one moment.

Offer prayers for:
Your world, its people, its leaders
The church and its leaders
For those in your circle of responsibility
For yourself

"Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love."
--1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Monday, February 8, 2010

So Close

"Sometimes it's easy to forget what prayer really is.  For a Christian, prayer is nothing more and nothing less than conversation with the God of the universe!  Stop and think about that.  We are invited to talk to the creator of all things, at any time and in any place that we want.  There isn't a governmental advisor on earth who has more intimate contact with an earthly ruler than we the children of God have with our Father in Heaven."
--Valerie Hess, from "Spiritual Disciplines Devotional"

Wow.  Kind of cool when you think about it like that, huh?

This week, try talking to your Heavenly Father at bedtime - and then take time to listen.  Even if you fall asleep, know that you did so while trying to hear God speak to you.  When you wake up, simply try saying "thank you."  We all have time to take these 3 steps.  Give it a try!  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday at SPUMC - Feb. 7, 2010

Our first Sunday spent focusing on "Prayer."  Something we do every Sunday... but mayeb this month with a little more intention and heart felt moments with God.

Our Education hour began the morning:
*  The children
*  The Confirmation class talked about the story of Mary and Martha - what is the one thing that is important?  Where are our priorities in life?  How do we make God a priority in our busy lives?
*  The Wired Word class had a conversation about a man being recruited into Major League Baseball (a chance at lots of money and success) who decided, instead, to become a priest after feeling a call to the ministry.  How do you know when you're being called?  What kinds of things are called to?  It could be a vocation, the ministry, or it could be small changes in your daily life...
*  Bettie continued teachign her class about caring ministries.  Only one class left, next week, if you'd like to check it out!

During worship we focused on Prayer.  We continue to use hymns that you have told us are your favorites!  Pastor Penny focused on the ABCs of prayer in her sermon.  She reminded us of the story of Abraham arguing with God over saving Sodom and Gomorrah if there were any righteous people left in the town.  It's a story of praying with boldness and confidence that God does hear us, and God does include us in the unfolding story of our lives.  She offered us a tool to pray, using the ABCs - moments to pray for anything that begins with "A," "B," or "C."  Reminding us that there all kinds of simple ways to think of where we need God in our lives.

We then took communion and celebrated God's involvement in our lives!

What will you "pray with boldness and confidence" about this week?

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here's another blog that has a nice post on prayer this week - "Why We Pray."  This is a topic that is discussed ALL over the internet on some great sites!  (Thanks, Beth, for passing it my way!)

Here are a few other places to browse:
A Sacred Space - this site has some beautiful daily devotions and guided prayers. - great resource!
The Upper Room - did you know they had a "prayer center"? 
MethodX - another prayer ministry by the Upper Room.

Do you know of some good sites?  Pass them my way!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mealtime Prayers

Looking for some mealtime prayers to share with your family?  Here's just a few - but google "mealtime prayers" and you'll get ALL kinds!  Lots of musical ones out there too...  (Johnny Appleseed, the Flintstones, Superman, the Addams Family, the JAWS theme music...  Like I said, all kinds!)

"Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything. Amen."
"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends."

"Come Lord, Jesus
Be our guest,
Let this food to us be blessed.

"Thank you God for happy hearts
in rain and sunny weather.
Thank you God for this our food
and that we are together. Amen."

"Thank you God, for the food we eat,
Thank you for the friends we meet.
Thank you for another day,
To pass Your hug along the way."

Thank you Lord for this food
feeding our bellies its so good
we thank you for this time together
to share a meal and love each other.  Amen."

And it's always a good idea to teach kids young how to pray from the heart as well.  Memorized prayers are good to learn...  But ask the kids to simply say "thank you" for something from their day, or for something they like about God...  You never know what you might learn from them!

Do you have one you already use?  Please share!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One-Minute Prayers

Throughout the month of February, we'll be giving all kinds of ideas and ways to experiment with prayer.  Ways to discover what works for you, what doesn't, and how to connect with God on a deeper level.

Today we're experimenting with the One-Minute Prayer.

"There is a beautiful simplicity about learning to seize moments here and there to connect with the presence of the Lord.  Even pausing to say the word Jesus [or God] on occasion, mulling over what he means to you for a few seconds, can have a great impact.  This may not come completely natural for you, though, so here are a few suggestions that can help you pursue the practice until it is woven into the fabric of your life...

"Be intentional."  Decide how many times you'd like to take a moment with God today and then think about how you can make that happen.  If this is new for you - start small.  Maybe 3 times?

"Be God-centered."  One of the most important things is to come to God, knowing who God is.  Maybe choose one of the attributes of God that you connect with, or a scripture verse that means a lot to you - write it down, keep it close by.  When you take a moment for your one-minute prayer time with God, this can be a great way for you to concentrate on God for a moment (and not your own situation or feelings).

"Establish 'triggers.'"  Think of moments in your day-to-day life that you do all the time, everyday.  Decide that one of those triggers can be time to spend with God.  For me, when I'm driving by myself I talk to God (maybe not aloud, people might think I was crazy...).  When I'm in the shower, I sometimes pray.  Maybe mealtime.  Maybe when you brush your teeth.  Maybe before you wake your kids up and after you put them to bed.  The key is to think of specific times and places that you will take one minute to center on God.

"Take a deep breath, welcome [God's] presence with a few seconds of silent acknowledgement, thank him or praise him for some aspect of who he is and ponder what it means in your life.  Present any situation or issue you need his wisdom on.  Ask him if he has something to reveal to you.  Thank him for his presence.  You can do all of this in one minute's time, and before long it will become a habit you won't want to do without."
--reading in italics from "Sacred Chaos" by Tricia Rhodes

If you decide to give this a try, please feel free to leave a comment!  This is one of the ways we learn from each other, is by sharing our experiences (especially when we're all experimenting together!).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Praying Tears

"Prayer is the way to both the heart of God and the heart of the world - precisely because they have joined through the suffering of Jesus Christ...Praying is letting one's own heart become the place where the tears of God's children merge and become tears of hope."
--Henri Nouwen, from "Love in a Fearful Land"

One of the first things we learn about prayer when we are children is to pray for others...  Pray for the hurts of the world, pray for the lost, pray for the lonely... 

Who has prayed for you?  Who will you pray for this week?

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Month of Prayer

A month of Prayer begins today.  But not only that...  A month of "We CAN Pray!"

"Prayer, according to Brother David, is waking up to the presence of God no matter where I am or what I am doing.  When I am fully alert to whatever or whoever is right in front of me; when I am electrically aware of the tremendous gift of being alive; when I am able to give myself wholly to the moment I am in, then I am in prayer.  Prayer is happening, and it is not necessarily something that I am doing.  God is happening, and I am lucky enough to know that I am in the Midst."
--Barbara Brown Taylor, "An Altar in the World"

As we’re journeying forward to a life of Passionate Spirituality, we’re making a new stop every month, taking the time to explore a new Spiritual Habit. We started with Generosity and Thankfulness—how thanking God for blessings in our life helps us to realize how much we have to GIVE and serve those around us, thus doing God’s work in our world. In December, we took time out of our busy schedules to recognize the habit of Simplicity. We took notice of how we use our time, money, and energy—not just to satisfy the consumerism of the holidays, but to notice God, Jesus, family, tradition, and all the ways we connect to our faith without the peer pressure of our society.  And in January, we remembered why it is we Worship - and how, and with whom.

And so, this month we move into the habit of Prayer.
"Real prayer is life creating and life changing." 
"We are to change the world by prayer." 
And "prayer unites the soul to God."

What will you pray for today?