Archive for spirituality

.::Prayer

Posted in disciplines, Ministry, spiritual disciplines, Teaching, Theology with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by Walter

If I am honest, one of the disciplines that I overlook and take for granted the most is prayer.  Probably because so much of my prayer experiences have been dull, boring, hard work, tedious, etc.  I cognitively know that prayer is powerful and effective.  I have been the recipient of many prayers that I know have sustained me through some really difficult times of my faith.

This morning I was reminded how fantastic prayer can be.  My disciplines class embarked upon a Concert of Prayer where I lead them through several different modes of praying, from silent meditation to group prayer, to confessional journaling, to group artistic efforts on a white board and so on.  It is always a risky effort taking people to places where they may never have been before.  I never know how a group is going to respond to an exercise like this.  This morning I dragged myself to work through 15 degree weather, sleepy, tired with a looooooong day ahead of me.  So my own soul and disposition was left wanting.  However, after an hour of recalibrating my soul, being reminded of hos God is truly at work in this world, and seeing 40 college student give themselves so freely in prayer was indescribably encouraging.  Hearing a room filed with prayers from all corners is overwhelming and uplifting.  The things you wrote on the board were rich with depth.  Just watching you as you prayed and prayed and prayed was so amazing!  Thank you Discipline Class for such an encouraging experience and uplift to my soul.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:3-6

.::A Matter of Perspective

Posted in Life, Ministry, Theology with tags , , , , on February 3, 2009 by Walter

According to ancient rabbinic legend, two people, Reuven and  Shimon, hurried along among the crowd crossing through the sea.  But they never once looked up. They noticed only that the ground beneath their feet was still a little muddy–like a beach at low tide.
“This is terrible!” said Reuven. “There’s mud all over the place!”
“Disgusting!” said Shimon. “I’m in muck up to my ankles!”
“You know what?” replied Reuven. “When we were slaves in Egypt, we had to make our bricks out of mud, just like this!”
“Yeah,” said Shimon. “There’s no difference between being a slave in Egypt and being free here.”
And so it went, Reuven and Shimon whining and complaining all the way across the bottom of the sea. For them there was no miracle, only mud. Their eyes were closed. Even though they walked right through it, they might as well have been asleep (Midrash Exodus Rabba 24.1).

FROM Jewish Spirituality , A Brief Introduction for Christians, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (Woodstock VT, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001)

I think I whine too much about the “mud” that I have to trod through in my life.  Whether it be traffic, stressing over finances, a dirty home, and the like.  I far too easily forget the countless blessings that I overlook on a daily basis.  Rabbi Kushner continues by saying, “People see only what they’re looking for and what they understand, not necessarily what lies in front of them. . . How sad when something is right before your eyes, but you are asleep to it. It’s like that with our world, too.”  May I open my eyes to the wonder God blesses me with through my family, my wife and my daughters and not freak out that the house is not picked up.  May I bask in the wonderful glow of health that my family all gets to enjoy and not fret over the commute that is waiting for me after work.  May I be thankful for the wonderful job I have in a world where many are losing theirs and not complain about the stack of papers I have to grade.  May I see that which is right before my eyes and see it . . . really see it.