Author Topic: Prayer vs. Shutting Up  (Read 2110 times)

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Offline Bogoliubtsy

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Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« on: January 18, 2010, 04:38:22 PM »
In my own prayer life, I find that praying from a prayer book, or praying more informally through having a kind of "conversation" with God often feels like a simple mental or emotional exercise. Sure, I can say the "right" things (e.g. articulate my desire to know God's will), or have what sometimes feels like a devotional link with God (which could probably be interpreted as emotionalism) through these methods of verbal and mental prayer, but how does this differ from actually experiencing God or being touched by God?  This type of prayer often feels like a babbling, one sided litany sometimes infused with emotion. In the end, these verbal/mental attempts to pray, as well as the emotional element, often feel more like manifestations of what's in me, rather than having anything to do with who God is.

On the other hand, if I just sit quietly for 20-30 minutes just "existing", while not letting thoughts, mental constructs, or emotions cloud my mind, I often feel great peace. Sometimes this type of "meditating" includes a little prayer. Either way, just sitting down, and letting all my self-imagined ideas of who I am, what's good for me, etc. disappear, while letting God act, feels much more like connection with God than the approach mentioned above.

Thought?
"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist". - Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 05:19:08 PM »
I combine the two, and the Prayerbook of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia actually prescribes this. We are encouraged to "stand in silence before the icons for a time" before beginning our morning and evening prayers.
For me, reading prescribed prayers is important because God is an Awesome Being and in entering His Presence I think I should take the same (if not more) care in following "correct protocol" as I would when addressing the Her Majesty, the Queen or the Ecumenical Patriarch (I've written to both of them by the way!) In November 1996, I was working at the Sacred Heart Hospice in Sydney and Diana Princess of Wales came to visit. The day before she arrived, we had a two hour briefing session on correct protocol. If we take such care with human dignitaries, how much more so should we be doing it with the King of the Universe?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 05:20:48 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 04:34:09 PM »
Have you ever tried more mantra like prayers, like the Jesus prayer?

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 01:22:37 AM »
May I ask what your faith background is, Bogo?

Offline Bogoliubtsy

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2010, 01:25:29 AM »
Thanks all for your replies. Things to think about.

"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist". - Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2010, 02:06:44 AM »
I see you prefer to remain anonymous? Very well then.  :laugh:

Offline samkim

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 12:09:04 AM »
Welcome to Christian Zen.
주 예수 그리스도 하느님의 아들이시여 저 이 죄인을 불쌍히 여기소서.

Offline Schultz

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2010, 12:11:26 AM »
I see you prefer to remain anonymous? Very well then.  :laugh:

Bogo is cradle Orthodox.
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Bogoliubtsy

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 01:00:57 AM »
I see you prefer to remain anonymous? Very well then.  :laugh:

Bogo is cradle Orthodox.

Actually, I'm not.  :)

1/3 or so of my family was/is Orthodox, but I was baptized in the Episcopal Church as a child.
"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist". - Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 02:32:48 AM »

Welcome to Christian Zen.

I'm having a hard time figuring out if this comment was sarcastic or not.  ???

Offline Schultz

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2010, 06:10:11 PM »
I see you prefer to remain anonymous? Very well then.  :laugh:

Bogo is cradle Orthodox.

Actually, I'm not.  :)

1/3 or so of my family was/is Orthodox, but I was baptized in the Episcopal Church as a child.

Hm, ya learn something new every day. :) I suppose I should stop answering questions for other people, too.

Anyways, I came across this article by Met. ANTHONY (Bloom) today and thought of this thread.

Quote
I am asked very often how to outgrow the struggle which is ours so often when we try to read the prayers which the saints have coined, which were born in their experience of life.
read the rest here

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Prayer vs. Shutting Up
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2010, 09:03:15 PM »
Sometimes it's all I can muster to say a "Lord have mercy" and cross myself in front of an icon.

I think that the wrote prayers are to teach us how to pray, and as we mature as Christians we are to combine them with our own prayers, and periods of silence, and other times periods of wailing, weeping, and sobbing.

There have been times in my life where reading the Psalms as prayers (not just the ones usually listed in the prayer books) have been beneficial to me.

While I will include prayer in my own words, I don't like to cast aside my prayer books completely, as many times the saints have already put into words what I have been trying to say, but could not articulate.

Music has always been a huge part of who I am. I truly believe God has spoken to me many times in my life through song. Lately I've been listening to the Boston Byzantine Choir's "First Fruits" album as I drive to school every morning and "praying" the hymns as I sing along. I feel refreshed, rather than beaten down by my commute, and feel like I've started the day on the right note doing this. Mornings are difficult for me, so to stand before my icon corner and pray; I'll be too tired and distracted to focus. This helps me commune with God in a way that speaks to my heart, but is truly "Orthodox."

I hope I don't come off as prideful in this post. I'm just sharing what has helped me through the years.  :)
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11