I am going in a different direction for this post. I listened again to a podcast from the God Journey that got me thinking again about the whole subject of prayer. I wanted to share the podcast and some of the thoughts that came along with it. I did a post on ritualistic prayer where I started to unleash some thought I had on the experience I have had with prayer in my forty some years of life. For this post I wanted to share some others thoughts on some of the same struggles that I have had.
The Prayer Dance is a podcast conversation between Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings from the God Journey podcast: 2007. Click on the link below to listen to the conversation. Following are some of my favourite comments from other God Journey listeners. I have also included a link to an article by Wayne Jacobsen about Prayer Requests at the end of the comment section.
"I look back on my most effective times of prayer, and it's rarely been on my knees alone in the closet (I think the closet-thing happened one time in my life). I've been driving or cooking dinner or doing whatever. It's fit in with my life rather than set aside from it. "
"I also wonder about the tradition so many of us have of sharing prayer requests with people. Is there Biblical reference for this? Are complete strangers ever asked to pray for other people they don't know? Is there any support for Mary asking me to pray for her aunt in another community who is ill? I absolutely love communal prayer times in which no "prayer lists" are given, but the group converses together with God. If one person wants to talk to God about something, they just talk...no need to explain the situation to others in the group (otherwise known as christian gossip). As the conversation goes on, one thing may lead to another and another with God in the lead.... Even on this forum, when someone shares something about their life, I might be urged to pray for you, to ask God to meet your need; but you all are not "strangers", we have had conversations, I've begun to get to know you in some ways. Those prayers come more from love than "duty" ".
"Many times, I wonder if what God was trying to accomplish was more in our own hearts than in the people we were praying for, rather than in the healings and miracles we were believing for. In other words, maybe the praying was a means to stir up our compassion and action toward one another."
"I have been moving from "trusting God to do such-and-so," (which never really worked much) to trusting Father Himself."
"I love in the podcast when they said trust without relationship is absurd - it either ends up in presumption (I can get God to give me whatever I want) or fatalism (whatever happens has to be God). I think my growing relationship with God allows God to open my eyes to see how He is working and moving."
"It seems that both "prayer" and "worship" are woefully too narrowly defined these days. I really want to understand each of these concepts, entirely outside the rote practices we associate with those terms.
"Once again, I find myself shouting, "THERE'S GOT TO BE MORE!!!"
Beyond Prayer Requests: Wayne Jacobsen
I am sure I am not done venting on this subject. I am thankful that I am not the only one who has issues with the way prayer has been promoted.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this blog post.