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This month we venture into the tricky waters of Prayer within Sacred Community. It has been a fascinating journey and we invite you to walk it with us. 
Prayer within Sacred Community

Prayer...

that mysterious, healing, and often confusing moment when we aim to connect to a deeper awareness, higher Self, or God.  Prayer has been shown to heal, to comfort, and to frustrate. It has been used to ask for forgiveness, to make deals with an authoritarian God, to beg for mercy, to ask for favors, and to seek solace. When Jesus prayed, he found a sense of sacred oneness, when Buddha meditated, he became awake to deeper levels of awareness. No one truly knows the effectiveness of prayer, but one thing is for sure- when we take the time to be still, to slow down, to go inward, we almost always discover something about ourselves and the potential awareness that we are not alone. Yes, prayer needs to continue evolving as we progress on our faith journey and as our understanding of reality becomes deeper and more intelligent, but when we connect to something that is bigger than our small human egos, we touch Spirit and we can know that we are ultimately connected to all things great and small.  

I hope you enjoy this discussion on Prayer within Sacred Community as much as I have.

~Deshna

My Struggle with Prayer

Fred Plumer


I have struggled with the idea of prayer since I was a young boy. A few years after the Second World War, I was very impressionable. During this time the general public began to hear more details about the horrible atrocities in Nazi Concentration camps. My grandparents lived in a Jewish area of West Los Angeles while I was growing up in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. I spent a lot of time at their home. I knew many of their neighbors were Jewish because much of the local storefront signage was written in Hebrew. I also noticed that several of the boys wore caps on Fridays evenings and Saturdays. My grandmother explained they were called yarmulkes. When I asked her why they wore them, she said it was their custom. She did not know specifically why they wore them. However, she noted the men and boys wore them when they went to their house of prayer.

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The Evolving Faith of a Liberal Christian Minister (8): What I Believe about Prayer 

Rev. Jerald Stinson


Those words of Paul – “Pray constantly.” Praying constantly was what I thought was essential in Christianity as I grew up.

But my mind has always been filled with questions and doubts about prayer. Psychiatrist Ann Ulanov wrote: “Many of us feel that if we have been praying for a long time, we ought to have progressed through certain stages. There should have been some grand illumination.” Well, that hasn’t happened to me.

I find consolation in Episcopal Bishop Jack Spong’s admission that he has faced the same struggle. He has gone on prayer retreats, taken classes on prayer, built a prayer corner in his home, read every prayer manual – all without success. He said, “My ambition was to be one who lived in a significant awareness of the divine knowing the peace that comes from communing with God.” But he hasn’t found that peace. 

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On Prayer and Pentecost

Sea Raven


Traditional Christianity affirms that with God all things are possible if we pray in the name of Jesus; but progressive, twenty-first century followers of Jesus’s Way who embrace the reality of twenty-first century cosmology know there is no God out there or up there who will intervene to overthrow the laws of the physical universe no matter to whom we pray (St. Anthony, Pope John 23) or in whose name. But suppose that the heart of the Gospel of John (chapters 14-16) is an illustration of John Dominic Crossan’s definition of a kenotic Godi – whose presence is justice and life, and whose absence is injustice and death. When living in the absence of justice is a living death, as has been and continues to be so, prayer becomes the purposeful alignment of individual mind and spirit with the forces of justice and life.

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Praying to Love 

Kurt Struckmeyer


For many Christians, a supernatural theistic God is a daily reality in their lives, but for many others, this kind of God is simply not there. They long to feel God’s presence and God’s love, but instead they experience emptiness and isolation. They worship God in church, but find that God is not present in the sanctuary. They pray fervently to God in private moments, but realize that their prayers often go unanswered. In the end, there is only silence.2 The biblical character of Job cried out to God in despair, “I cry to you God, but you do not answer. I stand before you, and you don’t even bother to look.”

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More Things are Wrought: A Jungian Excursion

Don Murray


As part of this evolving universe we have our personal psyches, our individual mix of influences that shape and mold our lives and nourish our unique creativity. Amongst the multitude of forces that work within us is a central energy pushing us toward integration and wholeness. This integrating and creative force Jung called the Self.

Each personal self is an expression of the Self of the universe. “It is, in my mind,” says Jung, “a fatal mistake to regard the human psyche as a purely personal affair” (Psychology and Religion CW 11, par. 24). In traditional religious language, we are created in the image of God. Jung affirmed that in our experience we cannot distinguish between the Psyche and God. “Strictly speaking, the God-image does not coincide with the unconscious [psyche] as such, but with a special content of it, namely the archetype of the self. It is this archetype from which we can no longer distinguish the God-image empirically” (757).

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A Few Thoughts on Prayer

Carl Krieg


The indication here is that the answer to prayerful request is not the new bike, not health, peace, or justice, not any of the results that we usually pray for. It is, rather, the gift of the Holy Spirit. What is this gift? It is a heightened awareness of who God is, who you are, and who your neighbor is. The answer to prayer, quite simply, is a level of consciousness that is more in tune with God’s ever-abiding love. Inasmuch as prayer leads to this result, prayer is its own answer! As that awareness grows, we will become ever more conscious of God’s presence. God is always for us, in every way we can imagine and those we can’t. Our task is to become ever more aware of this love, and talking to God can assist that process.

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Gladly we Address our Burdens

David Stevenson 


1. Gladly we address our burdens
Through the mystery of prayer,
Lovingly support each other
In the privilege of care.

2. Prayer expands to fill our being
As we touch infinity,
Serve as channels to our neighbour,
Bearers of divinity.

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Divisionary- Do the Right Thing- Music Video

Ages and Ages 


"Do the right thing, do the right thing, do it all the time, do it all the time. Make yourself right, never mind them. Don't you know you're not the only one suffering. I hear a higher calling, better here than there I guess so long."

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Emerging Spirituality and Awareness

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June 30 – July 4, 2014

Join Ian Lawton, founder of Soulseeds.com, for transformative conversations with renowned spiritual leaders from many traditions as we explore awareness. Beyond all the things that divide us, both from ourselves and each other, awareness brings up back to our essential oneness. Through this conference, you will come to a deeper understanding of your own wholeness and your connection to all else. Together, we can increase the peace, both within and in the world.

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Jesus’ Prayer Promise in John 14:13-14: In What Sense Is It True?

Chuck Queen 


In John’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). I’m sure most reading this recognize that this is not some universal blanket promise. So we have to ask, “On what level is this true?” Or, “Is it true on any level?”

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Weekly Liturgy- Prayer Revisited

Polly Moore


“If you want to have a life of prayer, then pray,” said Thomas Merton.  Or in more modern adspeak, Just do it.  The specific words matter less than setting aside the time… time to quiet the busy mind, to listen and speak from the heart, to breathe slowly and deeply, to be aware of the moment.  Time to pray.

Prayer
by Claralice Wolf
O God, our God:
Our hearts long to be at home with You.
Our minds hunger for more knowledge of You.  READ ON...

Prayer
by Jim Burklo
In prayer, we give up our arrogance and return to our place as human beings, recognizing your place as supreme — you are so far beyond us, yet at the same time you are the very essence of our souls, closer to us than our own bodies. READ ON...

Prayer for Discipleship
by Kurt Struckmeyer
God of love,
source of mercy and compassion,
weave your dream for the world
into the fabric of our lives.
READ ON...

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Should We Pray

Eric Alexander 


Prayer can be an appealing concept to us humans. It's an idea that there's a Higher Power out there who we can talk with and make requests to. An entity more powerful than the President, who loves us more than our own parents, and who doesn't charge us an hourly rate to sit on a couch and unload our problems. Who wouldn't want to believe in that? But it's not always that simple, as most of us have already figured out.

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Prayer in Sacred Community

Rev. Susan Flanders 


As I have described in a couple of previous articles, my husband and I have been hosting a series of Progressive Christianity Forums at our home on a monthly basis. We have gathered a group of twelve from three different Episcopal churches to discuss what it means to be a progressive Christian. During the first three sessions our conversations focused on what we think about God, Jesus and Holy Spirit and how we experience them. It has become clear that our experiences are in most cases more important to us than any theoretical or definitional ideas, although the latter are definitely a priority for some. Most of us are not theists, and although we’re very good at articulating what kinds of God we don’t believe in, we have difficulty with describing the Holy One or the Ground of Being or the Source of Love or any other such way of naming God.

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The Holy Wholly Other

Jim Burklo


Be still and know what’s going on inside yourself, and after a while your relationship to yourself will change. There will be the One who observes with kindness and patience, and the one that is observed – and after a while you’ll identify more with the kind and patient Observer than with the one who is observed. The compassionate Observer is God. Then you’ll know that God is not some supernatural superhero working miracles in the cosmos. You’ll know instead that God is love even for your worst enemy, who, all to often, is your own selfish self.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Prayer

 Ed Taylor 


I think we need some method of communicating with God and prayer is the logical answer. But prayer in which we stop everything we are doing, get down on our knees, fold our hands and pray is not my idea of prayer. I think we should try to communicate with God any time we have a second to think about God or ask God to be with a loved one or friend, or share anything in our life with God. While driving, when watching TV, while on the lake alone, working in the garden, any of those times and many more, we should take a moment to commune (talk, whatever word you want to use) with God.

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May you find time in the rush of life to slow down, go within and connect with Spirit. May those moments open your mind and heart to new awareness. And may you always know that you are not alone.
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