This week: Ways to Pray (or Meditate) Edited by: Jeff
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"Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief."
-- C.S. Lewis
About The Editor: Greetings! My name is Jeff and I'm one of your regular editors for the Noticing Newbies Official Newsletter! I've been a member of Writing.com since 2003, and have edited more than 350 newsletters across the site during that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email or the handy feedback field at the bottom of this newsletter!
Ways to Pray (or Meditate)
When I first started attending church in earnest, I assumed that prayer only came in a few specific forms. Praying quietly to yourself. Praying for someone else when they ask for intercession. Singing worship songs. These kinds of prayers are ones that I find difficult because I'm an introvert (so praying audibly for someone else or singing worship songs isn't my particular jam), but when I'm by myself sometimes I'm not always sure what to say, so I often just sit there with my mind wandering.
It wasn't until years later that a pastor friend of mine taught me that prayer can come in all kinds of different forms. Prayer isn't necessarily even limited to asking for something or expressing thanks to a higher power; it can be as simple as a conversation. And if you're a believer of a religion like Christianity which encourages a personal relationship with God, or a part of a faith community that emphasizes introspection and deep thought, there are a lot of different ways that you can connect with God.
Some of the methods of prayer I've used over the years that I've found particularly helpful include:
Prayer Journal. For a lot of us who like to write, sometimes the simple act of committing words to paper (or screen) is how we clarify our thoughts and focus our attention. If you find solitary prayer too distracting, or community prayer a little too intimidating, consider writing your prayers down into a journal.
Prayer Walk. Just getting out of the house, office, etc. and moving around can help focus your attention. Going for a low-intensity walk around your area can help.
Internal Dialogue. One of my favorite methods of prayer is to just have an internal conversation with God throughout the day. It's a little strange at first, but it's one of the best ways I've found to get in the regular rhythm of practicing the idea that God is with you.
Read Written Prayers. If you aren't able to come up with the words yourself, use somebody else's! There are plenty of prayer books, liturgies, and other written prayers available for you to use if you struggle to find your own words to express your thoughts and feelings.
Fast. This is something I'm just starting to get into a regular rhythm with, but fasting can be a great way to focus your prayer life. Give up something important to you for a limited time, and whenever you feel the pang of loss from not having it, use that opportunity to focus on prayer.
Prayer Group. Find others who share your interests, values, etc. and start a prayer group. With modern technology, you can even find prayer groups on social media, instant message platforms, and even group text message. If you can connect with others, asking for and receiving prayer is as easy as sending a message to the others in your group.
Artful Expression. If writing isn't your thing, maybe another form of art is? Try painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, etc. The creation of art and beauty is one of the best ways to commune with God
Location-Based Prayer. If you're praying for something corporeal (a location, person, object, etc.), visiting the object of the prayer whenever feasible can be a great way to focus your prayer. Don't be afraid to go out there in the world and pray in a location that's significant to what you're praying for.
The way you pray or meditate is significantly less important than the fact that you take the time to pray or meditate. Setting aside time for this practice is critical for a healthy spiritual life, and it's fortunate that we are able to express prayer/meditation in a variety of ways. The ones listed above are just a handful of options and there are countless resources online with suggestions for prayers, prayer activities, etc. If one particular expression of prayer isn't working for you, explore and experiment; try things out until you find one that gives you the connection you're looking for.
Until next time,
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EXCERPT: What I'm about to say may challenge the way you think about yourself. The rewards of this shift in perspective may bring a new understanding about who you are and why you might want to seek self-improvement. So - at least for the brief moment - open your mind to the following concept - after we're through, feel free to pick up the concept of self that carried you here, as you walk out the door.
As a whole, we think of ourselves - our mind, body, and the animated awareness behind mind and body as Me. The rest of the world is not Me. The dermal layer of our skin is the liminal surface that divides that which is not Me from that which is Me.
EXCERPT: Al Weber didn’t want to come back from the dead. “Hey. I just got here”, he told the angel pushing him from the front of Heaven’s famed golden gate.
One gentle flutter of the angel’s wings and Al fell back toward Earth through the hole appearing in a nearby cloud. He shot down like a heavy stone, reliving every minute of his life into his twenties when he landed with a jarring thump.
“Holy, er, cow. I’m young again.”
Gone was his sciatica, arthritis, fallen arches, poor eyesight, lost hearing, and even all his teeth were back. “Not bad.” He felt a new spring in his step. One look at the one cloud disappearing in the sky brought him back to his senses. “What the, er, heck, am I doing here?”
EXCERPT: Everyone is confused now. What does being woke even mean? Do you know? Is it evil? What have you been told? Do you believe that? All fair questions that I will try to address in this writing.
First of all, being woke to something means that you comprehend the truth of something that you had a blind eye to. It comes in many forms. You can wake to a truth about religion, racism, or even wake to the fact we are all one. You can also wake to caring for and loving fellow humans, a concept taught by the masters of every religion on earth. Yes, all religions have masters teaching the same principles, trying to wake you up to a truth. A truth of love. Hatred doesn't belong here and is a sign that you are asleep in the darkness.
EXCERPT: Wicca is a religion. Wicca is a way of understanding and interacting with Deity and the Universe. It is a life-affirming path of growth and expansion.
Wicca is not primarily about magic, though it does use it. Wicca is about your place in the Universe and your evolution as a spiritual being. Wicca is about moving forward on your personal spiritual journey - about learning, growing, and becoming the most you can be.
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|Feedback from "Spiritual Newsletter (February 22, 2023)" about Lent:|
I've noticed in my own life that; technology will draw you in and hold on. I began dumping games and media off my kindle because it was interfering with other types of entertainment I enjoy, walks, yoga and spiritual reading. Too much online seems to interfere with a kind of peaceful atmosphere as well. I'm sure too much means different things to different people. I enjoyed today's views in the newsletter. — Apondia
I would classify Lent as a Catholosism tradition. Most Christians don't do Lent. However as you have said, it's a good tradition to follow just for a person's spiritual and well-being. One year I joined my coworker and gave up all breads. Boy was that tough. — Quick-Quill
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