Monday, January 08, 2007

Ancient Prayers

Our church has a tradition of writing Letters to Jesus on the first Sunday of January every year. I don't know how long we've been doing this, but it has been a long time. They are actually written prayers. We take time out during our gathering to be still and know and to set our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter...We do this to quiet our minds and out bodies and listen to the Lord. For first timers it can seem a bit forced, but eventually the idea sinks in. Writing out prayers is an ancient tradition. It is a spiritual discipline that forces us to slow down, shut out the noises, and be still before the Lord. Written prayers take personal discipline and practice. Many of us were taught that prayer was simply a conversation with Jesus, and while that is true, it is not the whole story. Doug Pagitt's book Body Prayer talks about using our whole body as the prayer, not just words. He was interviewed on the radio recently about this. When I was in seminary I took notes on my laptop. I almost never remembered what I wrote until I reviewed the notes. Then my laptop crashed and I was forced back into the analog world. I found that I was able to remember a greater amount of the notes that I took by hand without having to review them! There must be some sort of mechanism between our hands and out brains that makes this possible. I shared with with our congregation and many seemed to connect with it. As we start out this new year, perhaps this is a spiritual disciple worth living out!

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