emergent church prayerNotwithstanding all the reasons not to, I pray for people. Often.
When I do, I don’t usually frame words in my mind. That feels a bit presumptuous to me. I can’t even figure out what is really important in my own life. I have a lot of self-doubt that I can figure out what is important in theirs.
Pain, which I’d rather avoid, has often been an agent of profound change in my life. Should I pray for pain to abate in other’s lives? I don’t know. Sometimes, perhaps. Sometimes not.
So some time ago, I gave up praying for others with words or ideas. Instead, I pray with desire.
I pray my desire for them to experience the Divine more fully.
prayer hands emergingIn practice, it looks something like this; I imagine either that the one for whom I pray is really small, or that my hands are really big. In my mind’s eye, I hold them in my cupped hands, imagining that I am holding them before the Divine that is present in and around everything. I imagine holding them into the Light and Life that is the Divine.
When the Spirit of God is in play, our ancient texts tell us, love is in play. As is joy, and peace, and patience, kindness… and so forth. When we experience Divine Life, we experience wisdom, and discernment, and courage, prudence, and so forth. All of God we ever need is in us, for the Spirit of God is in us. However, we don’t always access the Divine Life that is in us.
So when I hold people before God in my mind’s eye, I imagine myself holding them before That which is irrevocably in them; That which contains everything they need. I hold them before whatever dimension of Life, Love, Goodness, Virtue, Wisdom, etc. that they need in that moment.
And I have come to believe that my small exercise does more than make me feel better.
prayer and imagingIt is pretty well understood that our thoughts and attitudes impact our own bodies, our own attitudes, hopes, dreams, and the way we live out our days. We are quite comfortable with the connection between mind, body, and the lives we live. But if everything is connected, it is not much of a leap to imagine that that connectedness extends further than that. What if the thoughts and attitudes I hold in my mind impact the lives of others as well?
There is a lively, and not unreasonable discussion going on these last several years, about whether the practice of corporate meditation affects the crime in surrounding areas. When we begin to interpret our Reality through the lens of everything being connected, ideas like that aren’t the incredulous stretch they are when we have reduced our worlds down to a materialist soup of elements and electrons.
That prayer for someone else would have some positive effect, isn’t as unimaginable when we sense how connected everything is.
Next post:  on imagining prayer as acupuncture.

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