Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020.01.19 Prayer Habits

The most important thing I offer about prayer is this: Make it a habit! Some of it will feel useless or tepid, or foolish, or too wise for your own darn good, but do it anyway. It forces you to shift the focus away from your own glorious and ever-needy ego—at least once a day. It humbles you to invest some faith in a mysterious power deeper and greater than yourself, while you are simultaneously investing in your embodied self.

Things about prayer:
    There is no wrong or right way to pray.
    Never pray for something you are not willing also to work for, however you can.
    There are public prayers we all say together when we worship, and there are personal prayers we say inside our hearts, or alone in voice or song. All are equally spiritual. There is absolutely nothing you cannot express to God in prayer.
    You do not have to believe in God to pray.  If you’re worried about that, just pretend you do, or address an image of God you can open up to. God does not care. (It’s humans who do!) Besides, God will pray with and for you—no matter what.
    Prayer may not change things outside you, but it will change you from within. You will get to know yourself better as you pray. What matters most deeply? What are your ideas about God and why? What happens when you pray to Jesus?
    It is as important to ask as it is to receive. BOTH. And for the love of God do remember to say thank you, occasionally.
    It’s important to involve your body when you pray. There are many praying postures.
    Jews daven and murmur prayers. They move their lips and their bodies bow up and down. They pace and pray the psalms when a child is being born—nervous for the labor of childbirth, therefore rote well known prayers are the menu.
    All Psalms are prayer songs to chant.  Shiru l’Adonai shir chadash (Sing to the Lord a new song.)
    Buddhists and yogis and yoginis  make prayer hands as they bow to one another and say Namaste (The divine within me salutes the divine within you.)

    Muslims kneel and bow down five times a day to recite prayers—all the way down to touch the sacred earth and pray. FIVE!
     Pray naked—very revealing. (Don't recommend trying this in church on Sunday, at least until everyone has gone home—or not.)
      Christians pray standing , kneeling, sitting, and making the sign of the cross (head, groin, right side, left side). The Eastern Orthodox cross right to left. I do both. The gesture makes the sign of the cross to remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, Christians’ role model to say the very least, and to remind me—and God—to be in my mind, womb, right side, left side. [I cannot resist an old yiddish joke that explains crossing oneself to remember: spectacles, testicles, vallet and vatch.] 

Most prayers address the Divine. ALL prayer is energy that connects divine and earthly, temporal and eternal. Do animals pray? Of course. Look deeply into the eyes of a dog. Relax into the vibrations of a cat’s purr. Shiver to a lion's roar. Or go on a silent retreat and listen to your own breath.

Prayer is a spiritual practice, a habit as essential to life as cleanliness and courtesy. It keeps the soul alive. When you cannot pray, others do it for you.

I have kept a prayer journal at different times in my life. I write letters to God: Dear God, love, Lyn. P.S. Amen and I love you.